Sure, doing well in studies is important but it’s not the only path to succeed in life. Just ask Shah Azham (full name Siti Aishah Noor Azham).

Even though she failed her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysian (SPM) exams after performing poorly in school, the 24-year-old has managed to set up a design company. She even taught herself Korean and the hard work has paid off.

 

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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,” she continued. But enrolling into Korean classes was tough since she was earning (at most) only RM24 a month from T-shirt designs.

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In that time, the young adult relied on materials online to help master the language. After collaborating with a Korean non-governmental organisation, she began 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 herself with only RM700 from her 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.

Her effort paid off when a Malaysian broadcasting company got in contact with her 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 her that “an event organiser was looking for translators/interpreters for K-pop concerts”. Her first gigs were for iKON and WINNER where the job scope include being the middle person between the Korean team and the local team.

Source: Twitter

From there, she 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, she 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.

She’s also done small concerts and fan-meetings, but her 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?

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Justin
Usually awkward & quiet, but gets talkative once the conversation revolves around movies, TV shows, music, and entertainment. (Contact: [email protected])