Translation quickie - Korean
March 28, 2012 3:37 AM   Subscribe

Translation quickie (Korean): I have a cute card; I'd like to know what it says before I do anything embarassing with it. Please & thanks.
posted by whatzit to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Hm...well...OK, let me try and unwrap this one for you because it's a little bit of a doozy and not so straight forward at first glance if you just read the translation:

Text on top:

"(in red) Warning! (Rest of text) Maintain safe following distance!!"

Text below:

"Please protect it! Let's continue to guard our love's 'safe following distance' a long, long time. Our very precious love..."

"안전 거리," if you translate it directly, means safe distance. "확보" means to define or set up.

HOWEVER, when you put those two together the actual phrase"안전거리 확보" usually is a traffic law thing, roughly translating to the English phrase of "maintain safe following distance."

The little girl in the drawing is dressed like a police woman. The camera might have to do with her being a traffic cop, lending more credit to this being a word play on the idea of maintaining safe following distance/maintaining a safe zone.

Yes, this sounds weird at first glance, like a card you'd send a stalker or a friend who keeps pushing boundaries, but hold up:

You could fudge it a bit to say that while 거리 means literally distance, it also can kinda sorta mean area or zone if you wanted to get fast and loose and get more artistic with your translating.

So teeeeechnically you could say the bottom text is saying more like "Please protect it! Let's continue to guard our love (the safe zone can almost be assumed to be redundant at this point) for a long, long time," than the kind of weird and stand offish sounding "safe distance."

Basically the card is an in joke for you and the recipient. The cop on the card and the warning up top isn't warning for the person you're giving the card to, but other people. It's more like a card affirming "We're in love and in this together!"

You're warning OTHERS to maintain a safe following distance from your love. This is backed up by the actual message asking the card recipient to help you maintain this safe distance together.

So you could say the card is saying something more akin to "Hey, we're in a good place in this relationship, let's keep a good thing going."

If you have any other info on the card that might help though.

I mean Korean stationery has always ranged from really cute/pretty to just fucking bizarre, so I'm not surprised at this oddly forced joke to use a cute picture. It's usually style over substance with these kinds of things...but I'm just saying for all I know this could be some weird "I like you buuuuuuuuuuuttt....let's not take things further" type of message. Or you picked this up at a church bookstore or from some abstinence group or something.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:09 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add, but tl;dr: The card is basically saying "We're in love so everyone else back the fuck off" with the request that you and the card recipient will work together to make sure everyone is backing the fuck off. It's kinda stalkerish, but they love that cutesy possessive shit in Korea. This is more like a card a girl would send to a boy than the other way around.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:14 AM on March 28, 2012

Response by poster: That is a beautiful answer and well worth the wait! Actually it was picked up in China by a Chinese girl who does not speak Korean, though the card claims to have been printed in Korea (yeocki girl, printed by baiksan). Without the accompanying culturally-aware nuances you gave , I would have taken a bare-bones translation as "abstinence only" or "friendzone" as well.

posted by whatzit at 11:50 AM on March 28, 2012

« Older Fuss-free bouquet to Tokyo?   |   I want to smell better Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.