Posted by : AndiSweets August 06, 2013


On August 4th, SM Entertainment released a video with f(x) and Key and Jonghyun from SHINee that just so happened to be the first video they have ever added English subtitles to. For quite some time now entertainment companies have been adding English subtitles to their videos to cater to their international fans - Loen, JYP, and Starship Entertainment being a few of them. However, in regards to SM, international fans have been constantly annoyed and/or amused by not only the lack of subtitles in their videos but the ever present Engrish in their songs, music videos, and don’t forget those unclosable ads for Genie and Everysing (which they've stopped doing recently, luckily enough).
The bane of all SM videos.
Fans have been complaining for ages now about how SM hasn't been subbing any of their videos despite being the company with the largest international fan base. Their shouts began to grow even louder when many other companies began subbing their videos while SM continued to remain stubborn in their ways. Seeing that SM was so very late to the party, this has brought up a number of theories that have been swimming around in my head since I've watched the video.

The English in music videos will start to improve

What I mean by this isn't the English in their songs, I mean the actual videos themselves. I've already put up a picture of the advertisements SM plastered all over their videos with the glorious Engrish sentence "Genie is the music service for Smartphone!" There was also the notorious newspaper in SHINee's Sherlock with the title "Great Detective SHINee" and if you look closely enough, you can read the first sentence of the article that states "Shinee jewelry found 3:00am yesterday, Louis had found them in the museum [as] is a jewel." There are people out there that actually pay attention to those kinds of small details, so you would think SM would have at least tried to put in a little effort to make something a tad more coherent. Perhaps, now that they have a decent translator on their team, stuff like this will be put to an end. 

SM will do away with nonsensical English lyrics/hooks

We've all heard some really crazy Engrish in a lot SM songs especially when it comes to Super Junior in particular with Engrish hooks like" "Because I naughty naughty.", "Sexy, free, and single, I'm ready to bingo.", and "Go kick it in the butt!". If SM is truly aiming to expand their international market, then hooks like this have got to go. Your normal everyday person wouldn't be able to take any of these songs seriously because the part that's supposed to draw them in makes little to no sense. The first time I heard Sexy, Free, and Single I actually laughed throughout the whole song and I wasn't able to take it seriously at all. To me, if you were really "ready to bingo" it wouldn't make sense to say that you were "sexy, free, and single" because you're most likely an old biddy playing bingo with good old Aunt Jemma. However, though SuJu seems to perpetually receive the short end of the stick when it comes to English lyrics, Girls Generation too has had their share of odd English hooks. For example, in Paparazzi, we have the phrase "hide and seek no every night". Granted, "no" is supposed to be Japanese but it's just terrible placement that causes confusion whether you speak both languages or not. 

We will finally see music videos with English subtitles

This looks innocent enough but she just said that she "pushed away" all his other suitors so that she can take her place as the only one for him. Devilish girl.
Hopefully, this is a given. Now that SM seems to be putting in a little more effort into connecting with their international fans, we'll start to see more subbed videos in the future. Some people may be wondering why this is such a big deal. Well for a lot of fans, knowing what the songs lyrics are depicting gives you a better feel for the song and can help fans understand the songs on a deeper level. You may not be able to understand the Korean phrases word for word but it helps to know what kind of meaning is behind the song. Take f(x) song Rum Pum Pum Pum for example. The song sounds kind of cutesy but the lyrics are actually talking about how they will become someone's first love and equates it to the pain and torture of growing in a new wisdom tooth. Plus, there's a clear difference between simply reading the lyrics translated on somebody's web blog and being able to see them line by line while the music video is being played. Many parts of a music video's dance and visuals can be connected directly to the lyrics. If we were able to see the story being told while viewing the illustration, it makes it easier to parse and is much more enticing than simply watching without understanding what they are saying. Besides, if SM is going to continue with their snooze-fest box sets, they should at least try to make things more interesting one way or another. 

Of course, this could all just be me jumping to conclusions and being hopelessly optimistic. There's a chance that SM wouldn't be doing any of this, and no improvements will ever be made. I've commented before that SM was starting to lose their luster. However, this could be the first step towards making things better for the future.

What do you think? Are you excited about the possibility of seeing SM's music videos with English subtitles?



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{ 7 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Many videos from LOEN's YT channel already have subtitles, but the differentiating thing from LOEN to SM is that SM is a trend-setter, hopefully, this meaning a new trend would be "THINK OF THE INTERNATIONAL FANS WHO CAN'T SPEAK A WORD KOREAN".


    But on a different note, SM Entertainment has got to get with it with their English. They have English speakers in almost all their groups and even if there isn't an English speaker in the group, there's an English speaker in another group or somewhere else in the company. They can't keep with these 'Ready to Bingo", "Kick it in the Butt" and we all know that tragic "I know life is a mystery/I'm gonna make history/I'm taking it from the start/Call all emergency/I'm watching the phone ring/I'm feeling this in my heart" nonsensical garbage.

    I don't think any company comes close to SM when in English... many smaller companies like even SISTAR in Give It to Me (I don't usually do this but I really want you tonight), After School in Diva (I got a big plans for you, love. For you, i don't give a damn what people say), anything from YG tbh except that fuck up from Seungri in Monster (You don’t say that tomorrow - Still has more sense than SM, though).


    I should mail a letter to the SM headquarters saying Google Translate isn't that great.

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  2. I have always wondered while listening to this shit if any of the English speakers were like "hold up a sec.... this English SUCKS." Or maybe SM is crackin that whip so hard that they don't give a fuck whether or not their English speakers have problems with it.

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  3. That's basically the reason.

    I remember G.NA said in some interview how she used to try constructive criticism when she first got to Korea but was harshly scolded for it.

    You don't question your boss in Korea. He/she is always right.

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  4. Well, yes, but it's more the songwriters that's being discussed... not the actual idols.

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  5. Sometimes it's funny hearing these English phrases in the songs.. I mean, I tried to introduce them (the songs) to one of my friends but all she said was "oh, what does that mean?"... I hope they improve though...

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