THE Drama OST Corner

Welcome to THE Drama OST Corner…

It may be a personal thing, but writing a first anything is always a struggle. And yet, we must always start somewhere…

For many avid drama viewers, a drama’s OST (Original Soundtrack) is a crucial element in the viewing process. I know that at least personally, drama OSTs hold a special place in my heart. Many of the songs in my iPod (please tell me at least someone else in this universe still uses these ancient technologies) consist of memory-laden songs from unforgettable dramas. They bring color and musical memory to a main character’s story line, memories of iconic scenes, and the entire emotional spectrum and flavor of a particular drama.

As a subtitler, however, the importance OSTs become magnified. By default, our main goal is to break down the language barrier entirely, translating every detail of significance within a drama. This, naturally, includes lyrics to the soundtrack. In drama-culture, the songs can be played as mere background music to set the mood, or become so highlighted as to act as one of the main players in the scene.

And so the question of how exactly to translate lyrics arises. While we have not given up our golden rule of maintaining utmost accuracy in translation, we must now also consider its artistic and lyrical qualities. Much like a poem, there are syllable counts to consider, parallel phrase constructs, and matching repetitive utterances. Moreover, selection of particular synonyms can either evoke or extinguish desired emotions. This unique gray area happens to be my playground of freedom, my happy sandbox. In day to day subtitling, we labor over finding the closest synonym to a perfectly equivalent translation. Despite personal opinions, we defer to the artistic decisions of the drama’s original production team. In lyric translation, these restrictions remain in place, but are relatively much looser, giving us an edge towards personal artistic license.

Thus, while I consider every word I write to be a child of my own, lyric translations hold a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do~ Explore to your heart’s content. If you find an artist that speaks to your heart (I know I’ve discovered many an artist this way), please comment! If you come across a particular drama’s OST you’d like translated, please comment! Even if you would just like to share your thoughts on drama OSTs, please comment!

A/N: As many avid drama viewers may also know, one of many reasons we watch them includes hopes for eventually learning the language. Thus, I have included the Chinese lyrics in my translations. If anyone would like to see the pinyin form, feel free to comment directly on this page or any other post and/or contact us. If you’d like to share these with friends and fellow drama fans, please also feel free to do so; just kindly leave the credits intact. Many thanks~


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