Excellent Horse-Like Lady (Korean translation needed)

It’s been revealed that Kim Jong-un’s beautiful mystery companion is Hyon Song-wol, who used to front the Bochonbo Electronic Music Band. Their songs included “Excellent Horse-Like Lady,” “Footsteps of Soldiers,” and “I Love Pyongyang.”

First, everyone knows that “Excellent Horse-Like Lady” is a band name, not a song title. More seriously, I assume that this is a literal translation of the Korean. Some image, or metaphor, or idiom is being obscured. What could it possibly be?

Flipped a coin about putting it in GQ or CS, but it’s really a translation question not a song question. Move it only if the North Korean band nerds get involved.

The article you linked to embeds the video of the song in question.

I don’t know Korean, but I copied down the title information preceding the song and apparently the title in Korean is 준마처녀 Jun ma ch’ŏ nyŏ. Google Translate renders this as “virgin horse.” Of course, machine translations ain’t worth the electrons they’re printed on, but at least this confirms that it’s the title. When I transliterated it, I surmised that ma is a loanword from Chinese 马 ma ‘horse’ and nyŏ is a loanword from Chinese nü ‘woman’. Those Chinese characters show up in the Chinese translation of the title (the “woman” semantic radical is included in the word 姑 gu).

The video shows a worker in a textile factory bustling about and working very hard. A comrade even takes a hankie and dabs sweat from her neck. Her productivity figures are off the charts, and she is applauded, given flowers, and garlanded. So I guess the Lady is Excellent because she works as hard as a Horse.

NPR’s article includes a translation.

Hopefully, somebody has roused Randy Newman for a lighthearted cover of this song.

Speaking of the original article, maybe a Disney copyright suit will be the undoing of the North Korean regime.

Another good band name :smiley:

On Youtube another upload of the video has two comments in Japanese—also concerned with translation; Google tells me that the comments mean:

“Speak to a real translation Idiots”

“Translation is certainly strange, I mean you know.”

On a side note, someone should tell KJ-u that if the sidewall haircut is an attempt to make his head look less spherical, it isn’t working.

“It’s definitely a strange translation, but I can understand it.”

In the beginning of the video in that link, the uploader explains that all of the Japanese subtitles in the video came from the Japanese equivalent of Google Translate.

Electric Bonobo Band? Those guys are awesome!

That would be my best guess about the meaning of the “horse” thing, too. Going from the Chinese title of the song, 骏马 (jùnmǎ) means something like “fast horse” or “fine horse”, and 姑娘 (gūniáng) means an unmarried young woman.

Perhaps a better translation for the title would be something like “Thoroughbred Girl”…?

This sounds plausible as a English metaphor.

Thanks to all.

In North Korea it is a metaphor for “lady who does good work,” roughly, or “hard working lady.”

That seems to put what I assume is the refrain and possibly the title as “they say i am a virgin on a stallion” which gives an equally confusing but more poetic and sleazy image.