Translating for Korean stars: She sometimes blanks out

Translating for Korean stars: She sometimes blanks out
Translator Jessica Min (right) who worked with Korean boy band B.A.P when they were in Singapore last week (May 30).

SINGAPORE - She loves her job, thanks to the down-to-earth K-pop stars she has met.

The first one she worked with was singer and Running Man star Kim Jong Kook.

Last week, soft-spoken Korean student Jessica Min made headlines after she was called the "Korean star whisperer" in an interview she did with a local newspaper.

The 23-year-old, who studies economics and finance at the Singapore Management University (SMU), has been the go-to translator - a job she does part time - for Korean stars here for the past year.

She was offered her first stage translation job, for Kim, last February when the agency who had hired her previously to be K-pop boy band SHINee's coordinator for one of their giveaway booths called her up for it.

After a pleasant working experience with Kim, she began embracing what many K-pop fans would call a dream job.

Since then, Miss Min has worked with the likes of Kim Soo Hyun, Hyun Bin, CN Blue, FT Island, Super Junior, Girls' Generation and the cast of popular Korean variety show Running Man, such as Lee Kwang Soo and Gary.

Miss Min, who most recently translated for K-pop boy band B.A.P at their press conference and fan meet here last Friday, told The New Paper: "I'm very grateful that Kim Jong Kook was the first celebrity I worked with because he showed me a different side to celebrities, which is that they are just ordinary people doing their jobs.

"He was very down to earth. I remember the last day that he was here was for sight-seeing and he thought he could just walk around, but the fans recognised him.

"He couldn't move freely, but when his fans asked to take photos with him, he was very willing.

"I could tell that he's very grateful for the successful career he's had. Fame has not gone to his head at all.

"My perspective about celebrities changed then, so I'll always be thankful that this started out with him."

Miss Min's job has its difficulties as well, especially when there is pressure to think on one's feet at all times.

At Kim's fan meeting at the Kallang Theatre, she recalled how the fans were screaming so loudly that she could not hear he had said on-stage. Miss Min, who had to translate for him backstage, had no choice but to improvise.

She said: "I just said what I thought he was saying because I couldn't ask him, 'What did you say?'

"I had to make a decision at that point and I remember I translated his words as 'Thank you for coming tonight, I had a wonderful time, thank you so much for the warm welcome and I'll definitely come back with my Running Man co-hosts.'

"I still don't know what he actually said, but he told me after that that he was cool with it and everything was fine. He was really nice and understanding."

TOUGH

The toughest thing about translations for Miss Min is that she would sometimes blank out in the middle of one, especially when the statement from the artist is very long.

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