1. The WordReference Forums are under attack from some Korean spammers.

    We have created a filter that requires moderation intervention for all messages with Korean characters from new users. The impact should be minimal, but posts from new users will only appear after a few minutes delay.
    Dismiss Notice

Cheering up a friend

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by numbplayer, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. numbplayer New Member

    How do you say these in Korean? A friend of mine has just made some mistake and she thinks this is gonna be the end of the world. I wish to cheer her up and tell her she can change everything.

    "Do not let people down. Because the people you can disappoint are those who trust you."
    "Conquer your yesterday's self."

    Many thanks!! :)
  2. Hello, numbplayer

    Can you explain your first sentence by giving specific examples? I can literally translate your sentence, but it doesn't make sense in Korean.

    I would say : 사람들이 너한테 실망한 이유는 그만큼 널 믿고 기대한 것이 많았기 때문이겠지. 지난 일은 훌훌 털어버리고 앞으로 잘하면 될거야.
  3. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    As an English native speaker, I have to second Superhero's tactful indication that the original is a bit hard to understand.

    To maybe help the original poster to help us a bit further, here's my translation back into English of how Superhero has recast the phrases in order to get something that sounds plausible in Korean.

    The reason people are so disappointed in you is that they had such high hopes and faith where you were concerned. Can't you see that?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  4. Thank you very much 조금만 선생님:)

    Your explanations and translations are always helpful.
  5. numbplayer New Member

    Thanks for the replies :), sorry about making thing hard to understand.

    The situation was that my friend had made the same mistake a number of times, and this made people very disappointed ("let people down/disappointed") and she might even have lost the trust from others. So I'm trying to tell her "Do not let people down." I also wish to emphasize that people who trust you are precious, so she should cherish them. Perhaps I should make it clearer: "The people, whom you can disappoint, are only those who really trust you." (If someone does not care about you at all, why would he/she even feel disappointed because of what you have done?). Finally, because she really doubts if she can get rid of her bad habits and avoid making the same mistake again, I want to assure her that she can do it, so I try to say "Conquer your yesterday's self."

    This sounds a little bit too strong to me. At the moment I do not intend to blame, instead I'd like my words to be like a reminder as a friend and to give courage.

    I hope this makes the context clearer. :)
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  6. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    I take it that your friend is Korean. And that you are trying to communicate with her as a Korean would in the given situation? If so, this raises yet again the point that when we have anything other than strictly practical, hard-fact-orientated dealings with people from another culture, we have to draw on factors that just aren't in any dictionary, and probably couldn't be.

    As a basic rule of thumb, avoid speaking to a Korean using an unadorned direct negative imperative like "Don't do X", unless (a) they're a small child and you're a grandparent, parent, uncle or aunt, or an older sibling, or (b) you're deliberately trying to be rude or aggressive, or (c) they're about to do something like jump off a high building, where the need to preserve human life outweighs all considerations of custom and etiquette. In all other circumstances, however grave or pressing, you should always find a more indirect way: You aren't really thinking of doing X, are you? / I don't think doing X would be a good idea / Doing X might cause a problem... etc etc.

    So if we translated "Don't let people down" for you into Korean as it stands, we'd be doing you a disservice. True, we'd be translating an English phrase into terms found in a Korean dictionary and linking those words together with Korean syntax, but the result wouldn't be a true translation into Korean of the intent and purport of what you actually wanted to convey. If your friend is upset and anxious already, she'd feel a whole lot worse if you told her in so many words not to let people down, because she'd think you were being nasty to her.

    The key in such matters might be summed up as "lightly accentuate the positive". Lightly, because any strong assertion, even of optimistic sentiments or encouraging remarks, can easily backfire and be taken by a Korean as overbearing bossiness or arrogance. I'd suggest starting with an encouraging, but uncontentious statement couched in general terms. "People who trust us [NB "us", not "you"] are a great treasure". Then draw an inference from that "So it's sad to risk that treasure by disappointing them" [still no "you" in there, and not merely because the avoidance of saying "you" if at all possible is another basic principle of non-offensive Korean speaking]. And so on.

    I leave our native speakers to actually flesh that, or something like it, out in real Korean, not just because my actual attempts at inventing Korean examples can be pretty wobbly, but because I want to emphasize the point that when person-to-person communication is concerned, finding the dictionary words and the grammar-book matrix to fit them into should come only after you have gained a sense of what sort of thing the cultural context requires. 0nly when that sense is firmly in place should you go looking for the actual words to express it.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  7. numbplayer New Member

    조금만, I really appreciate your explanation :) This helps me to really understand what is needed by the cultural context.

    Yes, and I wish to put it in Korean because both of us are not so good at English (as you may have noticed for my case :p). So I wish to really convey the meaning without any misunderstanding, such as my words being too aggressive if it is literally translated into Korean, as you have pointed out.

    Then let's wait for a native speaker to help us out ;).
  8. It is very difficult for me to make a sentence because I don't know your friend's character or personality. I think telling your story is a good way to give advice.

    If I were you, I would say "돌이켜보면 나를 믿어주는 사람이 가장 소중하더라. 그런 소중함은 한번 잃어버리면 다시 찾을 수 없고." (Looking back on my days, people who trust me were the most precious treasure and I couldn't get back again when lost.)

    You can add more story : "돌이켜보면...찾을 수 없고. 내가 예전에 친구들의 믿음을 저버린 적이 있는데, 시간이 해결해줄 거라고 믿었지만 모두 내 곁을 떠나버리더라. 누가 그러는데, 세상에서 가장 슬픈 사람은 사람들 기억에서 잊혀진 사람이래." (A long time ago, I really disappointed my friends. I thought time would cover my mistakes but eventually, they were all gone. Someone says, the saddest person in the world is the one who is forgotten in other's memories, and so was I.)
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  9. numbplayer New Member

    Superhero1: thanks for the effort making a sentence. I think I will go with your suggestions :).

    I really wish to know more about the Korean speaking culture. For example, in your suggestion, it is actually the past experience of the speaker ("Looking back on my days") that is mentioned. Is it true that people express their ideas like this, to give advice in a polite/indirect way, even if the "past experience" didn't happen?
  10. I can't say most people express like that, but I normally give advice with my past experience.

    And I think most people prefer taking a detour to a direct way because if you say directly[straightly], your friends may be hurt.

    (numbplayer, that's my real story. :D)
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  11. numbplayer New Member

    I see, so I have now learned a way of giving advice (speaking from past experience) while not sounding too aggressive.:) Thanks a lot!
  12. littlemonyou

    littlemonyou Senior Member

    If you are to cheer up your friend with your past experience, of course it should not be a lie... :D
  13. numbplayer New Member

    Of course ㅋㅋ.

    Perhaps every one of us has, somehow in our lives, once disappointed those who really trusted us ;).

Share This Page