Many people have translated ‘아름다운 이별’ into ‘Beautiful Goodbye,’  as I found after searching for Kim Gunmo’s hit track, but I choose to translate it into ‘Beautiful Farewell’ as ‘이별’ means ‘farewell’ or ‘parting,’ not quite the same as ‘goodbye.’

For me, at least, this is one of the timeless ballads of Korean music (note – I didn’t use the word ‘K-Pop,’ because that would imply that it is the genre of music that many youths are growing a liking/obsession towards internationally, which it is not – hopefully I will be able to write a post on the difference between K-Pop and Korean music later on); I’m not sure how well received it is among Koreans, as it was first released in 1995 (a long time ago),  but I am guessing that it has a place somewhere in the ranks of Kim Bumsoo’s ‘I Miss You.’ Anyhow, it’s a classic and you’re likely to find that your favorite idol group’s lead singer covered it.

Korean:

눈물이 흘러 이별인걸 알았어
힘없이 돌아서던 너의 뒷모습을 바라보며
나만큼 너도 슬프다는 걸 알아
하지만 견뎌야해 추억이 아름답도록
그 짧았던 만남도 슬픈 우리의 사랑도
이젠 눈물로 지워야할 상처뿐인데

*내 맘 깊은곳엔 언제나 너를 남겨둘꺼야
슬픈 사랑은 너 하나로 내겐 충분하니까
하지만 시간은 추억속에 너를 잊으라며 모두 지워가지만
한동안 난 가끔 울것만 같아

두눈을 감고 지난날을 돌아봐
그속엔 너와 나의 숨겨둔 사랑이 있어
언제나 나는 너의 마음속에서
느낄 수 있을 꺼야 추억에 가려진채로
긴 이별은 나에게 널 잊으라 하지만
슬픈 사랑은 눈물속의 널 보고 있어

English Translation:

Tears flow, I knew it was the end
When I saw the back of your figure, dejectedly turned away
I know that you are as sad as I am
But you must endure until our memories are beautiful
That short meeting, along with our sad love
Now, there are only wounds to be erased through tears

*I will always keep you in a deep place in my heart
Because the sad love that I’ve experienced through you is enough
But over time, I may be able to forget you and everything may be erased but
For a while, I may want to cry every now and then

Close both of your eyes and look back at the days of the past
In them lies our hidden love
I will always be able to feel it
in your heart, disguised as memories
In this long farewell, I may forget you
But I see you through my tears in this sad love

Note: I was a bit unsure of the translation in the third, fourth, and sixth lines of the second stanza.

Confidence Rating*: 8/10

*Perhaps I will add a ‘confidence rating’ to all of my translations from now on, so that those using them as a reference may know how certain they may be that my translations are accurate and usable; I likely will not post translations of songs with a confidence rating of less than 7/10.

My favorite celebrity covers of Beautiful Farewell:

Shin Hyesung (Shinhwa) and Kim Gunmo:

Im Taekyung:

(This was the performance that attracted me to the song, the version that I initially listened to on repeat for days and weeks.)