Q: How would you say “Saturdays are for the boys” in Korean?
A: A common mistake made by translators is either trying too hard to stick to the overall structure and choice of words. They look up obscure words in the dictionary, stitch it together, and call it a day.
I disagree with this approach. Translation is not a school grammar test. Translations are made to help people understand. If it doesn’t make sense to the target audience, then that translation is garbage.
The first fallacy in approaching an expression like this is to try to stick with the “for the boys” component. That part is not too important. The important part is that people are being irresponsible and having fun (usually involving copious amounts of alcohol) because there is nothing important to do on the next day. This is also referenced in the original meme, which highlighted how Fridays are for men – here “men” being the signifier for people being responsible – and boys being used as its diametrical opposite.
The second mistake is to be unaware or unwilling to look at what context this will be used. I’ve never heard this expression before myself, so I googled it, and it was a meme that was hashtagged a few years ago. So not necessarily part of the spoken speech – more leaning towards the written internet culture, but it rolls off easy enough of the tongue that it could be, if one were cheesy enough, uttered in a moment of drunkeness on a Saturday night.
Well, this vibe definitely exists in Korean language. Let’s recreate the dialogue involving this:
– 야! 3차다 3차! 내가 치맥 쏜다 가자!
– 미쳤냐 새벽 4신데? 힘들어죽겠다..
– 불금이잖아! 달려!
– Round 3, let’s go! Fried chicken and beer, I’m buying!
– Yo are you crazy man? It’s fucking 4am..
– Saturdays are for the bois, man! Who’s coming with me?
There’s quite a few expressions that involve the idea of the weekend and being irresponsible drinking, and here I picked two – 불금 and 달려. Other combinations should be possible – I just picked up whatever I could think of in the moment.
I hope the idea is clear.