Home > Interview > Translation request: MBC special, The rediscovery of Kim Tae-hee

Translation request: MBC special, The rediscovery of Kim Tae-hee

We received another translation request for Bah+Doo! This is a two-part request. This first part is to find out what is going on in Kim Tae-hee’s MBC documentary. We kind of combined a word-for-word translation with a summation style translation. So sometimes we say what is kind of going on and other times we say exactly what is going on. The second request was for some old Me2Day posts from Kim Tae-hee. We will post that later on this week as well. The MBC translation is below, check it out if you have time.

Translation of MBC special: The rediscovery of Kim Tae-hee
Translated by Bah+Doo

Song Sung-hun: We didn’t eat,
Kim Tae-hee: You just ate Kim-bap
Song: We are shooting this drama while eating only carrots and potatoes. We didn’t sleep for 5 days.
Kim: We don’t know what is going to happen next.
Song: Tae-hee is so healthy…
Camera: You are also healthy as well…
Song: She is more than a regular person.

Lee Byung-hyun: She is a girl in her appearance, but I felt like she is a man.
Friend(?): She never behaved sensitively.

Caption: Tae-hee’s personal life

Sul Kyung-goo: She often looks dumb, when she doesn’t think or when she is dozing off at a shoot.

Kim: “I can’t immerse in [the role]”, “Terrible acting”, “She is like at school play”

Teacher: It didn’t matter if she is number one at school because she was an all A student, no one could challenge her.
Classmate 1: Other middle school kids came to our school and lined up to see her.
Classmate 2: It is almost like seeing a goddess rather than a human

2:00 But what is her inside behind her beautiful face? Let’s meet the Kim Tae-hee we didn’t know before.
Conversation: No traffic today
Narrator: When she doesn’t have a schedule, she drives around by herself.
She talks about her nieces. She has two, the older one is so big now, she can’t hold her anymore. Then she visited her older sister’s house.

3:00 Narrator: She just finished “My Princess” so she has some time now. When she is not busy, she visits her sister the most. She really enjoys seeing her nieces.
She talks about how cute they are and her niece will be taller than her soon. And the house looks awkward because it is so clean.

3:30 Narrator: As soon as Tae-hee visits, her sister’s house turns into a daycare. She took care of her nieces since they were babies, so she knows what they need by just looking.

4:20 Her sister wished her kids become just like Tae-hee when she was pregnant.
Talks about the picture: Tae-hee was a college freshman and her sister was a flight attendant and took Tae-hee to Italy.

4:50: Tae-hee’s baby picture, and with her sister.

5:19: Tae-hee and her baby brother Yi-wan.
Playing happily with kids.

6:12 Narrator: Kids doesn’t know their aunt is a superstar outside of their house.

6:26 Narrator: When she has time, she also spends her time learning something. Various sports, English, and recently, belly dancing. She learns Japanese now. She started it last fall, but didn’t have time to practice it because of “My Princess”.

7:00 Speaking Japanese with the tutor. They talk about the nuclear meltdown in Japan. The tutor is from there.

8:15 The tutor is crying while talking about her friends. Tae-hee donated money for the incident as well. She is not a stranger to the incident. Japan was peaceful when Tae-hee came back from Japan only a week before.

9:20 Japan was always interested in her. She became famous with “Stairway to Heaven” and received frequent offers from Japan.

9:40 She is always a slow decision maker.
People talk about work offers, how pretty and smart she is. Her kind is rare in Japan, so she could explode.
Tae-hee talks about she thinks she will be in Japanese drama soon.

10:58 She has multiple offers, but she is reviewing them carefully. Since “IRIS” last year, she is one of the highest prospects in the Japanese market.

11:40: She was popular in Japanese variety shows as a pretty and élite actress. She just confirmed her management company in Japan.

11:50: Even though her visit is only 4 days, she likes to go out and look around because when she visits foreign countries, she is anonymous. She doesn’t shop too much, but hats are her favorite items.
She likes hats because people recognize her less. Also, she like Japanese hats because they have smaller sizes.

12:47: She meets one of her friends, a Japanese actress named Rina Uchiyama. They talk about each other’s current work and Rina said Tae-hee speaks good Japanese.

13:16: Tae-hee said she spends a lot of time learning foreign languages like Japanese and English, but progress is slow.

13:36: Tae-hee asks Rina “Do you like pears?” but she wanted to ask her “Are you hungry?” in Japanese by mistake.

14:00 Rina really liked Tae-hee in IRIS. Tae-hee talks about how feminine Rina is and even though they saw each other few times, they built a good friendship.

14:25: They met each other last time Tae-hee visited Japan. They are the same age and became good friends.

14:40: Taking about Tae-hee’s dog. Still talking in Japanese.

14:54 Narrator: The dog’s name is Hae-mee, they lived together for 12 years.

15:20 Narrator: The most important purpose of this trip is taking a pictorial for a magazine. She is busy changing her clothing and putting on make-up, but she is continuously eating.
Tae-hee is talking about how much she likes eating.

15:55 When there is food available, she loses her mind digging into it. A lot of people are surprised because she behaves very differently than what they expected of her.
Tae-hee talks about how she can’t resist food.

16:20 Other actors talk about how manly she is and how much she eats.

16:53 Narrator: After eating a lot, she dozes off. It was just like what her friends said that she doesn’t care much about how people see her. However, when the shoot starts, she transforms into a goddess.
A Japanese magazine editor talks about how much she looks like a goddess or angel from Greek-Roman mythology.

17:35 Tae-hee was picked as the front page model for a year for a magazine. She already started last March and will be a front page model for a year, it is the first time as a Korean actress.

18:00 Tae-hee said she had several relationships. She kind of has a high standard, and she doesn’t fall in love too easily. She didn’t have a lot of relationships in the past. Less than five relationships even before her début. She doesn’t have a boyfriend even though a lot of men approach to her.

19:05 Narrator: Tae-hee was born in Ul-san. She grew up in a middle-class family and her dad had his own business. She was the second one among 3 siblings, and when she was young she played with her younger brother like a tomboy.
Her older sister says she used to play rough when she was young. Tae-hee says she used to pick up live mice and walk around from garbage dumps.

19:55 Narrator: This naughty Tae-hee became a legendary goddess of Ul-san when she went to school.
Her Primary, middle school classmate said there was always a boy claiming Tae-hee as their girlfriend in every classroom. However, no one could propose to her because she was so up there.
Tae-hee’s girlfriends were guarding her against boys approaching as well.

21:00 Narrator: Her legend was not only her beauty but also her superior performance at school. In middle school, she had all A’s and was always number one at school.
Her middle school teacher said it was his first time seeing a student get all 100 in his 24 years of teaching career. It didn’t matter if she is number one at school because she was an all A student, no one could challenge her.

21:40 Narrator: When she went to one of the best high schools in Ul-san, she continued her academic performance.
Her high school teacher said her attitude in class was so perfect and proper. Her brother’s friend says Tae-hee ran home after school to save time and study more. Tae-hee also says she started to do it because other classmates with better grades did it first.

22:45 Narrator: She majored in Fashion Design at Seoul University, the top school in Korea, but her destiny took her in a completely unexpected direction.
Tae-hee says when she was in college, street casting (scouting?) was popular and every time she went out, people picked her. She contacted one of them and her career as a commercial model started.

24:28 Narrator: After one commercial, she became famous, especially because she was a Seoul University student.
PD says her title as a Seoul University student was a big selling point undeniably. The other reporter says she was so pretty, she didn’t even need a lot of makeup.

25:25 Narrator: Her distinguishable beauty brought her more luck beyond her smartness. The model on the condor page soon became the face of the magazine. Her appearance as a child actor on Lee Young-ae’s movie was because of her beauty as well.
The director of the movie said he saw her in a magazine and cast her without a screen test.

26:00 After the minor role that she played at 22 years old… even before Tae-hee became a full-time entertainer, a lot of people in the entertainment industry was interested in her, like the makeup artist, who became Tae-hee’s exclusive makeup artist since then.
Tae-hee’s make up artist says when she saw Tae-hee for the first time, she was so pretty, almost unreal.

26:47 Narrator: Casting for the TV commercial came in continuously. She became a superstar right away without a real unknown period and took parts in all the big commercial fields like communication (cell phone), home appliances, automobile, and so on. She became her own brand.
Tae-hee says at the commercial shoots, she has to dance, say something…laugh
A coffee company person says Kim Tae-hee’s coffee became so popular, it sold more than $20 million in just 100 days.

28:25 Narrator: Tae-hee was shooting commercials, which were long overdue because of “My Princess” and visiting Japan. She looked very tired. But as soon as the camera started rolling, she shows her professionalism. During the shoot, she monitors herself with the production team and expresses her opinion about the work and listens to the production team’s suggestions.
Cosmetics company commercial producer says they are more and more satisfied with Tae-hee in front of the camera and think, “Now she is at her peak.”

29:09 Narrator: Commercials made her a superstar and gave her fame and money, but this successful life without failure had hidden frustrations.

29:30 Narrator: Recently she puts most of her effort into exercising. She works harder than anyone since her school days. Her body type doesn’t need too much care, but since she was cast in IRIS, she started to build up her body.
Tae-hee says her recent roles like agents or jockey required a lot of physical strength, so bodybuilding helped her a lot.
Her trainer says Tae-hee has a pretty hip line, so he trained her more on that part, then Tae-hee complained that her hips were getting bigger.
Tae-hee says she puts on weight first on her mid-section, so we are focusing on that part.

31:30 Narrator: She works out at least 2 times a week, 3-4 hours per session until she gets exhausted. She could finish “My Princess” successfully because she works out like this.
Tae-hee says while working out, she thinks, “why am I suffering,” but after a session, it is so satisfying.

32:40 Narrator: If she is just doing a commercial, she doesn’t need to do this, but she realized she is not the honor student anymore while acting.
Tae-hee says she didn’t think the modeling seriously at the beginning, she just thought it would be fun.
Tae-hee’s management says she wasn’t serious about acting, so I didn’t want to give her too much pressure.
Tae-hee says she was thinking about acting a lot because she never thought she would be an actress. She also thought it doesn’t fit her talent.

33:52 Narrator: So she started with sitcoms but….
Tae-hee says, “the sitcom stopped early only two months after airing, so I thought acting is not for me…”
Others say Tae-hee seriously considered to stop being in the entertainment industry, so they all tried to stop her.
Tae-hee says she stopped everything and came to America to study English.

35:02 She studied and traveled, but she couldn’t make a decision. Meanwhile, she continuously had offers for TV dramas.
Tae-hee: While doing nothing and wasting time, I thought I will regret it if I let this opportunity pass.

35:33 Narrator: A golden opportunity came. A famous drama director had problems casting the main actress, he started looking for a new face.
Director: She was unique, and of course, she was pretty, but she was different than any other actresses.

36:00 Narrator: Was it a lucky start or reckless trial? She thought if she tries hard, she could do it, but the main role was too much for her.
Tae-hee: A lot of people criticized her acting skill. The director also told her that her acting was so bad, he can’t even look at her on the screen. He also said she made him angry at work, but when he came home, she made him laugh because her acting was so bad, but she was so honest and innocent.

38:00 Narrator: Even though it was controversial, once she was in a main acting role, she continuously had offers for similar positions. With the success of the drama, her value increased as well. She was lucky, but with her success, the criticism for her acting was getting more severe. To end the criticism, she spent 2 years without acting and prepared a movie.

39:12 Narrator: she practiced Kung-fu and spent 6 months in China for the movie. The movie “The Restless” drew the public’s attention because of its huge budget and because it was Kim Tae-hee’s first movie.
Movie critic: After the big failure of her movie “The Restless”, all her movies failed.
Tae-hee: It hurt her pride. She tries to approach acting like when she studied, which was the biggest problem.

41:00 Narrator: She argued a lot and she hurt a lot. But she tried acting again like a divorcee giving marriage another shot.
Director of “Venus and Mars”: The character in the movie is not easy, a broken character. Tae-hee was ready for it and threw the ‘pretty woman’ image of Kim Tae-hee away.

Co-actor: The fighting scene was at an ostrich farm and with the rain, mud, and ostrich excrete, they got very dirty but Tae-hee did all the acting by herself. After the movie, they had to go to a dermatologist due to skin infection. However, she didn’t complain at all.
Director: Tae-hee works hard, more than anyone else.

42:50 Narrator: However, the movie was a big failure again. People blamed Kim Tae-hee for the failure of the movie.
Caption: Kim Tae-hee, her “nightmare” came back. “Venus and Mars” doesn’t do well.
Kim Tae-hee feel tight? “Her beauty eats up her acting”
“Staring off into space” Kim Tae-hee. Controversy about her acting fired up again.
Kim Tae-hee “Venus and Mars” is it a commercial, not a movie?
Tae-hee: She was discouraged because she still failed in movies despite her hard work.

43:20 Narrator: It wasn’t easy to find an answer. However, she looked for the answer more desperately because she couldn’t find the answer.
Tae-hee and interviewer: People thought since she makes a lot of money from commercials and is super famous, she shouldn’t have anything to worry about in her life. But she felt that her acting life was hopeless and discouraging. She had a lot of hard times.
She thinks she starting wrong because she didn’t start her acting career to be an excellent actor. She questioned herself a lot whether acting could be a lifelong occupation for her.

45:45 Rumor.
Tae-hee: There was a rumor that she was married to a chaebal. Not true. I don’t even know that person at all. Because of that rumor, she lost a lot of commercials and some people thought she was married.

47:15 Narrator: Tae-hee thought IRIS was her last chance.
Tae-hee thought IRIS was her last trial. She already failed two movies. If IRIS failed, she thought no one will trust her. She took private lessons.
People said if Kim Tae-hee does well, we don’t have to worry about IRIS. It hurt her feelings.

49:20 Narrator: With all the criticism, she clinched her chin and tried.
Co-actress: Tae-hee worked so hard without any complaints or looking for shortcuts.
Action director: Tae-hee did all the action scenes all by herself.
Lee Byung-hyun: Tae-hee really slapped me for real. She was really immersed in her role.
Director of IRIS: Her crying scene at the flower shop, she truly expressed her feelings. I think she has the potential to be a great actress.
Co-actress: We spent a lot of time together to prepare for the drama, so I felt how she was feeling during the crying scene, how much work she put on it.
Makeup artist: We joked to each other that she won an award. It made me tear and become emotional.
Director: She regained her confidence with that drama.

53:20 Narrator: Kim Tae-hee never stopped working and changed her taste for movies as well.
2010 Movie “Grand Prix”
Tae-hee: After IRIS, I stopped being choosy. I was afraid of failure before because I am such a big star, I should be the best in acting and box office.
Reporter: In the movie, Kim Tae-hee kissed the guy hard and bit his lips. It signifies that she dropped the “Beautiful Kim Tae-hee” and became the “Actress Kim Tae-hee”.
2011 “My Princess”

54:58 Narrator: Last February, the shooting scene for My Princess. Kim Tae-hee showed up with a totally different appearance. This reckless princess became a big issue and she became a fashion icon and she became Sul-hee as if she is her. However, behind her bright smile, there was hard work of all the staff members.
Japanese fan: I did my hair like Tae-hee, to look like her.
Caption: Rediscovery of Kim Tae-hee

55:40 After half the show aired, all the staff members acted like they were homeless. Whenever they had time, they took a nap. The heroine didn’t have time to rest. She had to memorize all the lines for the scenes.
Tae-hee and Song Sung-hun are talking about how hard their schedule was during the “My Princess” shoot.

56:50 Narrator: The script was getting delayed over and over again, so the filming team was divided into 3 parts. Tae-hee was hopping around those three teams all day and all night. To be honest, commercials are much better than dramas. Easy work, no criticism on her acting. However, Tae-hee doesn’t stop acting and keeps herself busy.
Tae-hee was talking about her busy filming schedule, she didn’t even have time to remove her makeup all week.

57:54 Narrator: No matter how hard it was, she always smiled to her fans.
Co-actor and director: Even if she was so tired, she was always smiling and bright. They think working hard is her nature.
Critic: Previously, we only saw Kim Tae-hee, not the character in a drama, but now she tries to become the character.

59:05 Narrator: Sleep and food weren’t the only things she was missing. She also missed chatting with her college friends from the sky club. They are now married or have professional jobs when they meet, they go back to the college.
Friends: Even the professor got a signature from Tae-hee. They were kind of like bodyguards or servants/helpers for her.

59:48 Narrator: Then they threw a surprise birthday party. Tae-hee became 32. In her 20’s, she became a superstar with her natural-born beauty. Now, in her 30’s, Tae-hee wants to be an actress.
Tae-hee: Being an actress was so hard and burdensome at the beginning. In retrospect, if she didn’t act, she wouldn’t have had all these hardships, experiences, or met all these different people. Now she is grateful and thankful for her acting career. She wants to be a great actress.

Translated by Bah+Doo

We hoped you enjoyed the documentary! Please look out for the throwback Me2day posts later on this week.


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  1. lei
    February 13, 2020 / 8:31 am

    Thank you so much for the translations, i’ve been looking for so long *cry*

    • V
      February 14, 2020 / 8:53 pm

      You’re welcome, Lei!

  2. Lisa
    April 29, 2020 / 2:59 pm

    The YT-link is broken 🙁

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