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Telling the story of BTS in Filipino

How many people does it take to translate the story of BTS into Filipino? At least 10, according the Agno Almario, head of Apop Books.

The publishing house created a special team to take on the challenge of translating “Beyond The Story: 10-year Record of BTS.”

“Beyond The Story” was published in 23 languages and the Filipino version is a great and unique collectible for the Filipino ARMYs, the BTS fandom in the country. And those who will buy the local edition (P1,295) will get a gift as each copy comes with a photo card set not included in the US edition (P1,795). There are limited supplies of this special photo card set so if you want it, you better snatch up a copy fast.

Philippines joins the global launch of the book.

First official

The book is the first official recording of the journey of RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, V, Jimin and Jung Kook to becoming the global K-pop powerhouse that is collectively known as BTS. It was written by journalist Kang Myeong-seok and BTS.

On the title page of the Philippine edition, translators are named: Oliver John Quintana, Ronel Ortil Laranjo, Ma. Kristina Carla Rico, Maria Concepcion Loren Chua and Jay-ar Igno. This list doesn’t include the people who worked behind the scenes with them, including editor Bernalyn Sastrillo and Korean language consultant Bae. Kyung-min

“There was a need for a special team. Because even though we had experience in translating from Hangul to English, Hangul to Filipino is a completely different challenge,” Almario told Lifestyle. He was the man who handpicked the team to work on the book. “It was important for me to find a team member who is an Army (the name of BTS’ fandom), a member who is good with Filipino because writing in the language requires a different skill, and a team member who is good in Hangul.”Apop Books is an imprint of Adarna House. They specialize in translating bestselling Korean titles into Filipino. They began their journey with “I Decided to Live As Me” by Kim Soo-hyun, the same book Jung Kook was seen reading in “Bon Voyage” season 3. The publishing house also carries translated titles of the popular webtoon “True Beauty.”

Global launch

National Book Store president Adrian Ramos said that the first batch of the US edition preorders sold out in less than two hours, while the second batch sold out as well. It set the record as the bookstore’s highest selling preorder.

The Philippines is one of the countries that joined the global simultaneous launch on July 9. The date coincided with BTS Army Day. BTS celebrates their 10th anniversary this year.

The launch was held at the Quantum Skyview Gateway Mall 2 and hosted by National Book Store. It was scheduled to start at 7 a.m. and when we arrived, a few Armys were already lined up. Andrea Bonifacio was the first customer to get a copy onsite. Many of the fans opened their copies and started reading on the spot.

Andrea Boniacio is the first ARMY to hold the book in the Philippines.

The launch also included a talk from some members of the team behind the book’s Filipino version, including Quintana, Sastrillo and Bae. There was excitement in their voices as they talked about the process of translating the book.


Sastrillo, a confessed Army with a bias for Jin, said that one of the challenges of working on the translation was trying not to be distracted by the book’s QR codes. “Beyond The Story” has a fun interactive feature, with QR codes that will lead you to a content.

“Every time you read it, the memory of the moment will come back to you. As a fan, it leads you back to that moment or vlog. The book goes ‘Beyond the Story’ because it has content that has never been shown in their vlogs or other contents,” she said.

For Bae, the charm of the book is the fact that you do not have to be an Army to appreciate it. It helps you to understand what each member has gone through. “BTS brings you comfort. It gives you comfort and makes you look forward. Impact-wise, I think this is the contribution of BTS,” she said.

Humanizing BTS

The book humanizes BTS, according to Quintana. It reveals their human side, making them accessible. For example, their struggle with what to eat in their dorm because they didn’t know how to cook in those early days shows how they led ordinary lives before they got big.

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“It shows how BTS is like us. What they went through is something that we also go through in our lives,” Quintana said. “If they are just like us, our struggles are the same, then it also means we are meant for bigger things. I think that’s what makes it inspiring.”

Sastrillo said that the Apop team was composed of very good people. Her job as an editor was to look out for “lost in translation” moments. She worked with six translators, all with different styles. Her goal was to make the tone of the narrative casual.

Light reading

“Don’t worry, it’s not deep Filipino. It is very light reading. It’s in interview style. Example, V is very nonchalant and chill, RM is poetic, and Suga is deep. We had to apply the Filipino language but we also saw to it that it remains faithful to its Korean context,” she said.

Sastrillo said that this is where consultation with Bae came in. Bae said that the Filipino edition is the product of their teamwork and that each copy is representative of their hard work.

The book uses very Filipino terms like “pang malakasan,” “bongga,” “nakakabaliw” and “kilig,” but the team also retained some Korean words that have no direct Filipino translation.

Kimchi is still kimchi because you can’t write “binurong pechay” in its place. The same with “hyung,” which is how a younger male respectfully addresses an older male. Although we have kuya in Filipino, it’s not exactly used the same way.

Almario believes that the Filipino translation will open the book to a bigger audience.

“Beyond The Story: 10-year Record of BTS” is available at National Book Store.

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