While I’m not normally a fan of songs that have  a choir-like echo of background singers, the first time I heard “The Way We Live in the World” and understood the gist of it, I really enjoyed its meaningful lyrics. That said, I knew I wanted to translate it; but actually putting the insightful lyrics into easily comprehensible English clauses that sound as elegantly composed/stated as the actual Korean clauses is a quite a bit different from appreciating the Korean lyrics for what they are. The song is part of Kim Dongryul’s album “kimdongrYULE” released in 2011, featuring Yoo Heeyeol, Lee Sangsoon, Yoon Sang, Jung Jaehyung, Na Yoonkwon, Sweet Sorrow, Lena Park, Jung Soonyong, Ha Donggyun, John Park, Harim, Lee Jeok, Lee Younghyun, and Kim Jaesuk (for a total of 18 singers).

Although my translation is inadequate, enjoy the song and hopefully my translation will help you make sense of the beauty of the lyrics:

Korean:

난 아직도 잘 모르죠
인생이 어떤 건지 어딜 향해 가는지
혹 가고 싶은 곳을 알고는 있는 건지

난 그래도 알고 있죠
아픈 게 어떤 건지 어떨 때 편안한지
날 안아 준 그 품이 얼마나 따뜻한지

애써 말하지 않아도 되는 것
배우지 않아도 이미 다 알고 있는 것들
그걸론 모자란 거라면
이제 누가 내게 가르쳐 주나요

그 누구도 알 수 없는
그런 게 인생일지 몰라도
어쩌면 우는 것도
웃는 것도 왠지 별 다를 것 같지 않아요

너무 많은 걸 생각하지 않기
때로는 슬퍼도 좀 안 그런 척 웃어 보기
대단치도 않은 일들이
가끔은 나에게 더 큰 힘을 주죠

난 아직도 아이처럼
세상을 모르는지 몰라도
어쩌면 우는 것도
웃는 것도 왠지 별 다를 것 같지 않아요

더 먼 곳을 바라보기
스스롤 조금 더 믿어주기
나도 모르는 동안
이만큼 와 있는 날 기꺼이 칭찬해주기

그 누구도 알 수 없는
그런 게 인생일지 몰라도
어쩌면 우는 것도
웃는 것도 왠지 별 다를 것 같지 않아요

난 아직도 아이처럼
세상을 모르는지 몰라도
어쩌면 언제까지
이렇게만 살아 갈 수 있다면은 좋겠죠

English Translation:

I still don’t really know –
how life is like, where it is directed towards,
whether I know of a place that I want to go to.

Still, I know –
how [it feels to] hurt, when [it is that] I feel comfortable,
how warm is that embrace that holds me.

That which that comes to pass even when [I] try not to speak of [it],
The [things] that [I] know all about even without having had to learn them –
If I’m inadequate in those [areas],
now, who will teach me?

That which nobody knows about,
even if I don’t know that life is that way,
perhaps crying
and laughing don’t seem to be too different.

Not thinking about so many things,
Not faking a smile at the times when I’m sad,
Things/tasks that aren’t even so grand
sometimes give me even more strength.

Like a child, even if I still
don’t know that I don’t know the world,
perhaps crying
and laughing don’t seem to be too different.

Looking to a farther place,
Believing a bit more in myself,
For having unknowingly come this far in this time,
[I] joyfully commend myself .

That which nobody knows about,
even if I don’t know that life is that way,
perhaps crying
and laughing don’t seem to be too different.

Like a child, even if I still
don’t know that I don’t know the world,
Perhaps indefinitely,
living just like this is fine/good.