Translators: Psy Didn't Really Say 'Kill Those Yankees'
Bad translation fuels controversy
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 11, 2012 3:48 PM CST
Psy gestures to the crowd following his performance on the second night of KIIS FM's Jingle Ball at Nokia Theatre LA Live on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – If you've had trouble enjoying "Gangnam Style" ever since hearing that Psy once urged people to kill Americans, well, we've got some good news. It looks like the lyrics to "Dear American"—which was a cover from a band called NEXT—may have been grossly mistranslated. Initial reports indicated that Psy had sung:

Kill those—Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those—Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully

But the Washington Post asked a number of translators to take a crack at the song, and got very different results. One example:

All the—Yankees torturing Iraqis
All those—Yankees who ordered the torturing
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them very slowly and painfully

The others were much the same—none included the word "kill" in the first two lines. "There is a bit of ambiguity," one translator said, over whether the other two lines refer to Americans or Iraqis. Of course, the song is still clearly anti-American, even if it's not murderous. Indeed, translators say that the word translated as "Yankee" is a pretty ugly slur; one called it a racist "epithet" most closely meaning "foreign barbarian."

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
Dec 12, 2012 11:53 AM CST
This song was in response to heinous human rights violations committed by Americans. While I don't appreciate its tone, I wouldn't expect sonnets and roses either. Is it really so stunning that America was internationally reviled after the Abu Ghraib torture was revealed?
Dec 12, 2012 10:36 AM CST
easy one kill psy!
Dec 12, 2012 8:25 AM CST
Yeah.... that makes me feel a whole lot better now. All right everybody back up on your imaginary hobby horses.... and I thought the "Bus Stop Hustle" was bad.