Malaysian K-pop Fan Becomes Translator For BLACKPINK & iKONjessie tan
Sure, doing well in studies is important but it’s not the only path to succeed in life. Just ask Shah Azham.
Even though he failed his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysian (SPM) exams after performing poorly in school, the 24-year-old has managed to set up a design company. He even taught himself Korean and the hard work has paid off.
“When I was in school, I played around a lot and I didn’t focus on my studies. I preferred to spend my time learning Photoshop, music, languages, and sports. After SPM, I decided to do things I like instead of the things that I have to, so I started my own design company,” Shah Azham wrote on Twitter.
“At the same time I noticed that Korean music, dramas, and shows were booming in Malaysia,” he continued. But enrolling into Korean classes was tough since he was earning (at most) only RM24 a month from T-shirt designs.
takde apa nak promote, cuma saya ada buat service tolong aturkan itinerary ke Seoul, carikan tempat tinggal paling sesuai dan bantuan translation document pelajar Malaysia di Korea. Kpop concert interpreter, filming in Korea dan tour helper/guide di Seoul semua saya buat wehehe pic.twitter.com/5u0MvmOIxp
— shah (@asoshiation) September 26, 2019
In that time, the young adult relied on materials online to help master the language. After collaborating with a Korean non-governmental organisation, he begin to realise the advantage of knowing a foreign language and in establishing connections overseas.
6 months after learning the language, Shah took a risk and moved to Seoul by himself with only RM700 from his savings. “I stayed in the cheapest 16-person dormitory and ate bread for every meal. I made many Korean friends and we would help each other out by learning each other’s languages and culture. My Korean language skills improved tremendously because over there, they don’t use English at all,” the Malaysian shared.
In Korea, I was approached by a Malaysian broadcasting company and I helped them film a variety show as they needed someone who can speak Bahasa, English and Korean. I helped guide many Malaysians who came to Korea for holiday and helped with music video productions in Seoul. pic.twitter.com/I8JTXAmS25
— shah (@asoshiation) November 3, 2019
His effort paid off when a Malaysian broadcasting company got in contact with him to help them out as they needed a translator (who could communicate in Malay, English, and Korean) for a variety show in Korea.
Shah’s big break happened when a Korean friend in Malaysia told him that “an event organiser was looking for translators/interpreters for K-pop concerts”. His first gigs were for iKON and WINNER where his job scope include being the middle an between the Korean team and the local team.
From there, he had to learn a lot of production terms such as patch cable, timecode, stage lift, SFX, control lighting, VCR, sound check, special effects and more. Often times, he would translate for the sound director and the artists.
It was “one of the scariest, challenging yet (most) memorable jobs” as “working with a Korean team is very demanding in the sense of timing, accuracy, and efficiency. If you translate one word wrong, you’re done for”. “I don’t have to mention the stress. Every hour I felt like my head was going to explode, but it was definitely worth it,” Shah added.
I also did some small concerts / fanmeets. Dreamcatcher fanmeet was memorable too. The members were so nice and their staffs were super cool. So camni la life Shah sekarang. Ulang-alik Korea and help out in concerts etc.. all because I wanted to have more than RM24 ?? pic.twitter.com/9d4PDGcKgu
— shah (@asoshiation) November 3, 2019
He’s also done small concerts and fan-meetings, but his favourite experience is BLACKPINK’s concert in Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam.
This is great example where hard work and determination pays off. Are any of you Hallyu fans inspired to be a Korean translator?