Translation of North-Korean stamps

Of most motorcycle stamps and postmarks that we see, the text is quite easy to read. And more important..... understandable. Often it concerns information about the reason of the issue, or extra information about what is shown.

Stamp Isle of Man with Eddy Merckx
Extra information about the cyclist: Eddy Merckx

German franking mark
Live longer by paying attention

But in some cases, especially with stamps from Asian or Arabic countries, the text is illegible because we don't understand the language used. In these cases translaters can help us. Or in my case: the grand-daughter of a member of our local stamp club. She is studying Korean, and was willing to translate the text on 2 North-Korean stamps for her grandfather. Because this grandfather knows that I am collector of motorcycle stamps, he forwarded this translation to me.
"I thought it was a good idea to send you the whole text. I'll hear from you whether you can use it. Then I can send your reaction to my grand-daughter Sara. I think this will also be nice for her."
Sure I can use it. And as a good club member should do, I want to share this acquired knowledge with my fellow collectors.
Hereafter the translation of the texts on 2 North-Korean stamps by Sara Heinsbroek. First a general remark about the translation process, and after that per stamp the translation.

The translation of the North-Korean stamps!

The circles with the matching number indicate that it concerns the same word. For some parts I have translated both the total expression and the loose elements. They are easily divided in loose parts because it concerns words that are based on Chinese characters (hanja,한자). Where possible I have placed the related hanja after the words between brackets.

1st stamp

Stamp North-Korea on the occasion of 100 year UPU

1.속도전전격전 This slogan means something like "a fast war, a blitzkrieg war" and is clearly referring to the affair between North- and South-Korea. North-Korea refers to a blitzkrieg more often.
2.속도(速度) Speed.
3.전격(電擊) Speed of lightning, in combinatian with 4: blitzkrieg.
4.전(戰) War, combat.
5.만국우편동맹창립 Founding of the "Post Alliance of Nations” or founding of the "Worldwide Post Partnership"? Must be read in combination with no. 10, and then means something like "The 100th anniversary of the 'Worldwide Post Partnerschip'".
6.만국(萬國) All countries, world nations.
7.우편(郵便) The Post, as in the post as agency or government authority.
8.동맹(同盟) Alliance, partnerschip.
9.창립(創立) The verb "to found", for instance of a group.
10.돐 Year, in combination with 100 the 100th anniversary or jubilee. (Meant is here the 100th anniversary of the UPU)
11.조선 Chosun. This is how North-Korea names itself. This is derived from the old name of Korea before the partition. South-Korea literraly refers to North-Korea (북한, "Northern Korea") like we do it. I think that North-Korea does the same the other way round.
12.우표(郵票) Stamp.
13.전(cheon) North-Korean currency. 1 won (NKW?) equals hundred cheon. 100 SOUTH-Korean won is the equivalent of about 80 euro cents.
Thus it concenrs the 100th anniversary of a Post/Stamp alliance. It is remarkable that the slogan is printed on this stamp, as I don't understand the relation with the jubilee.

2nd stamp

Stamp North-Korea on the occasion Day of the Post and Telex company

1.우편(郵便) The Post.
2.봉사(奉仕) Service, 1 and 2 together thus "the postal service".
3.통신(通信) Both "communication" and "correspondence". It is a bracelet, and it is possible that there must be an extra character, then it could be something like communication assistant (통신자). But I think that it can also be correspondence only, because it concerns the Post.
4.조선우표 Chosun Post (same as 11 and 12 on stamp 1).
5.전 Same currency as on the former stamp (see 13 above).

Sara Heinsbroek

To make it a bit more complicated: find the differences between the stamps below and those shown above.

Stamp North-Korea on the occasion of 100 year UPU
Stamp issued on the occasion of 100 years World Post Organisation UPU

Stamp North-Korea on the occasion Day of the Post and Telex company
Stamp issued on the occasion of the Day of the Post and Telex company

Nico Helling


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