Welcome to Tony’s Web.
I am Tony (family name Kim), the creator of this site.
Born and raised in South Korea, I have lived in the United States for three decades, working in the IT and software industry most of the time.
I have never formally studies or belonged to a literary or linguistic profession per se, yet languages always have been at the top of my list of interests. I have also always loved music, especially the popular kind that come with the lyrics, like folk, rock, blues, ballad, and what have you. So I decided to combine my two lines of interest and put up a blog site about the beautiful songs and poems I liked, in both my native Korean and English, to introduce many of the old and new works of Korean artists and poets to the English speakers at large in my own small way. Hence this site.
Although I am still thinking and deciding many details of the pages, the site will mainly be about Korean works since the 70s. I will present the original text with an English translation of my own, together with some background information and a commentary, in more or less random order. I will endeavor to present high quality translations, since there is no point in doing it if the translation loses too much of the original’s beauty. The blog is intended for fun and hobbyist interests for the most part. So a comment section will be provided so that anyone interested can talk about whatever they felt and have discussions. I reserve the right, though, to remove without prior notification any comment that is considered a spam, abusive, or otherwise out of place on this site. I may also place advertisement on the pages to compensate myself for the time I spend creating them. That is the rough plan for now.
I hope you find the pages interesting and informative.
There is a famous saying about the proverbial alpinist: when he is asked why he climbs the mountain, he answers because the mountain is there.
Perhaps the same can be said of translation. In the big picture of things we are all born to do the things we are predestined to do, and in my case, it happens to be translation and other language related things, among others.
More specifically, there are a great many Korean songs with top notch music and lyrics. I do not say this just because Korean is my native language. I would even say that I have a good perspective on this because I have digged non-Korean music too. At one point in my youth I loved the English based songs even more than the Korean ones. It might have been a case of the grass looking greener on the other side, or the foreign language aspect of it attracting me, but whatever it was it pulled me strongly to the rock, blues, and folk music from the US and the UK that were popular all over the world in those days.
So I have seen the two worlds so to speak. And looking back with the benefit of a bit higher and wiser perspective now, I realize the Korean songs that I have underestimated or even dissed one time are every bit as good if not better than their English counterparts. In particular they seem to be more diverse and deep reaching lyrically, perhaps in part thanks to the expressiveness of the Korean language.
If you have a great treasure trove of good things in this massively and cheaply interconnected world, why not share them with others. It might open the eyes of some music lovers who have been in the dark about Korean music and poems.
Being just an aficionado and not a cataloger, naturally I will present those I personally like, more relevant to me in some way, and those more important historically.
The postings likely will not include the so-called kpop songs that seems all the rage in the recent years, especially among youngsters in Korea and some Asian countries, because they are often more about the slick stage and video presentations than intrinsic musical and lyrical beauty. The genres of rap, hip-hop, and dance music likewise are not as conducive to good lyrics as the other traditional ones like folk, rock, ballad, or blues.
In short, I go for lyrical beauty rather than sheer popularity.
The translations you see without attribution are my own, created purely as a hobby without any affiliation with anyone of any kind.
All original work will be clearly attributed to the rightful authors and singers, and I will do the same if I quote someone else’s translation work.
Also, I have in the past posted many of the same translations you see here on the original songs’ YouTube pages using the userstk account. So please don’t get the wrong idea that I copied somebody else’s translation work if you see them.
As far as the style of translation, I aim more for well rounded, smooth reading verses than accuracy down to the words and phrases. The subject matter being songs and poems, to the extent possible I try to keep the measure and rhythm of the original lines, so that both the original and the translation can be read in about the same breath. Therefore the result will be more of a liberal idea translation (의역) than a strict one maintaining close one-to-one mapping of phrases at the expense of readability. I believe this is the right approach as there is nothing worse than osme weird, jarring phrases that mars the overall mood no matter how faithful the translation may be.
I obviously do not own the right or have received explicit permissions to use the original music, texts, or images used on this site. I try not to infringe on their copyright by reusing only what appear to be already on the public domain and stating the original source whenever appropriate. However, if you see a lapse anywhere please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Conversely, I would also not like to see my translation work indiscriminately copied and used elsewhere. Although sensible use will be tolerated if this site is clearly stated as the source (“from tonysweb.biz”), reuse of them in breech of generally accepted practices is not allowed.
This site is still undergoing infrastructure work, so you will see changes in its structure and design.
The site has been built using the open source static site generator nanoc (nanoc.ws), which uses the Ruby programming language and many HTML/CSS related open source toolkits built around it, on the Linux Mint environment on my notebook. It is hosted on the HostPapa web hosting service (hostpapa.com). For commenting and discussion, it is using Disqus (disqus.com).
I have gotten ideas and reused some setup from the following sites.
* www.nanoc.ws/docs/tutorial * www.clarkdave.net/2012/02/building-a-static-blog-with-nanoc * www.rubyredbricks.com/blog/2013/09/30/from-octopress-to-nanoc