내 가 제일 잘 나가. If you're a Kpop fan you might recognize that as the opening line to 2NE1's latest hit song. But what does it mean? If you're a Kpop fan who doesn't speak Korean then there's a great new website and iOS app for you called pop!gasa. It provides up-to-date English translations of the latest Kpop songs.
Pop!gasa is actually the brainchild of two of my friends from Syracuse University: Sung-eun Grace Lee and Jenny Kim. They are passionate about their work with pop!gasa, which is done on the side to their full-time jobs (in unrelated industries). As a friend, I was excited to support their project. As a huge Kpop fan, I was excited to write about their project on this blog.
First launched in June 2011, the website is updated with translations of lyrics as soon as a new song is released and it has over 1,800 songs in its archives.
The app, which was launched in early December, is available for the iPhone and includes features like sharing via email, Facebook and Twitter, and a "favorites" section. Lyrics can be sorted by artist, title and show.
Pop!gasa is also on Facebook and Twitter, with many of its Tweets having been re-tweeted by the likes of JYP, Drunken Tiger and Baek Ji Young.
See below for my email interview with Grace, one of the co-founders of pop!gasa:
Q. What inspired you to create pop!gasa?
A. My best friend, Jenny Kim, suggested this brilliant idea of translating Kpop lyrics into English to meet the needs of many non-Korean kpop fans. Between the two of us, we also had a ton of Korean friends who liked Kpop but couldn't understand the lyrics because they weren't fluent in Korean. Raising awareness for Korean culture was also a huge motivation.
Q. How did you come up with the name?
A. We wanted to incorporate both the English and Korean aspects of the website into the name. "Pop" for the type of music and "gasa" means lyrics in Korean. Jenny added the exclamation point in the middle for extra oomph.
Q. What are your individual roles in managing the website and app?
A. Basically, I'm in charge of the app and Jenny manages the website. I manage our PR reps, who promote our platforms in different areas of the world, and the business aspects of pop!gasa. Jenny handles all of the translations and is the content cultivator and creative driver of the site. I think we really complement each other with our strengths and weaknesses.
Q. How many visits do you get on average?
A. Though it depends on which artists are popular at the time (for example, idol groups bring more traffic to the website), about 3,000 to 4,000 people visit the site on average.
Q. What are some overall goals or visions you have for pop!gasa?
A. We would like to expand to include more language services. For the app, we'd like to also include a Kpop forum/discussion section.
Q. What was the most memorable part of creating pop!gasa?
A. There were many exciting moments, such as getting press interviews and requests for business opportunities. I think the most fun part was getting mentioned and re-tweeted by celebrities. I clearly remember how excited and "fan-girl status" Jenny and I became when JYP thanked us and retweeted our Tweet.
Q. What has been the most challenging? The most rewarding?
A. The most challenging part is being the quickest to update songs and stay on top of all the latest music. It's also difficult dealing with bloggers who use our translations without giving us credit.
However, people really appreciate us. They send us emails, leave comments on our website and apps saying how helpful our website is. We feel like we're playing an important role in hallyu (the Korean wave).
About the author by Donna Choi
Born and raised in the States, I came to Seoul in 2009 and have loved living and working in such a high-tech and connected city ever since. I enjoy collecting unique, cute gadgets/items (I have a bread-scented smartphone case!) and traveling around Korea. My personal mission while living in Korea: Try every type of Korean food known to exist.
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