BTS is now a global sensation, but many fans feel that BTS’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, is not providing sufficient translation services for international fans.
When BTS debuted back in 2013, Big Hit Entertainment was a very small company with limited resources, dedicated to helping BTS succeed against all odds. At this time, fan translators played a key role in helping international fans understand BTS videos, lyrics, interviews, and more.
Relying on fan translations inspired many fans to learn Korean, and it helped form relationships between ARMYs, especially K-Diamonds (Korean ARMYs) and I-Lovelies (international fans).
Six years later, Big Hit Entertainment is now a multi-million dollar company who, according to fans, can hire a translation team dedicated to translating and subtitling all BTS content. Yet in 2019, fans are still providing the same free services they provided back in the beginning. The problem is, there’s just too much content to keep up with.
Fans have been calling for subtitles for years, but Bang Si Hyuk‘s recent remarks at ASEAN-ROK have added fuel to the fire. While talking about BTS’s reach Bang Si Hyuk touched on how translations by “global audiences” have helped shape BTS into “The Beatles of the YouTube generation”.
Global audiences have become fanatical about the music videos where Korean singers sing in Korean language and dance. Globally, the lyrics, dialogues and messages of BTS are translated and shared worldwide, which has made BTS into The Beatles of the YouTube generation and a hero at the periphery. Conversely, the success of BTS has proved the existence and value of YouTube technology.
— Bang Si Hyuk
Fans are now trending #BigHitAddSubs to draw attention to Big Hit Entertainment’s ongoing dependence on fan translators for BTS, and why it’s problematic.
— K-Charts and Translations (@charts_k) November 27, 2019
Many ARMYs have pointed out BTS’s ARMY.zip membership content (which costs between $80-$100 USD) is unsubtitled, but fans who provide translations for the content risk getting their membership revoked.
I bought army zip but can’t understand a thing. I’m so sad that it’s my first but don’t have means to know the content. Please provide subtitles for all BTS content. It’s the least that you can do @BigHitEnt
— JK Pics (@jeonggukpics) November 27, 2019
Fan translators can be penalized for copyright, especially if translating for paid or members’ only BTS content, like Weverse posts. (Weverse is equipped with an auto-translator that is far from accurate, most of the time.) All ad revenue from fan translated YouTube content goes to Big Hit Entertainment.
Just a reminder that Bighit not only relies on armys to provide free subs for bangtan bombs but as the copyright holder, Bighit also gets all the ad revenue they earn from their work. Bighit literally makes money through the upaid labour of armys!! @BigHitEnt #BigHitAddSubs
— 𝘒𝘈𝘠 (@Kaykotta) November 27, 2019
ARMYs in support of #BigHitAddSubs hope that Big Hit Entertainment will address their concerns and make the appropriate changes.