There are certain forms of a language that are inherently more difficult to translate than another. One of the most famously difficult things to try and translate is songs. Many Spanish and English Translators have been put on the edge of tearing their hair out as a result of the process.
Not as easy as you might think
Due to the complex nature of songs there are some major issues when it comes to moving them from one language to another. If you want your song translated into Spanish you might have issues finding any English to Spanish Translators that are actually willing to take on the task. The difficulty of translating song lyrics requires a person to not only understand the two languages in depth, but understand song writing as well.
The first issue with bringing a song to Spanish to English translators is that songs can’t just be translated directly. If you just literally had them translate every word directly, then the chances of the lyrics fitting correctly are zero to none. Trying to squeeze words into a beat that no longer fits them is only going to end up in a terrible song.
If English to Spanish translators took a lyric containing the word “singer,” it would be translated into “cantante” which just is not comparable. Trying to shove that word into a song would just seem awkward. Each word translated has a decent chance of coming out a completely different length than it went in. That means that translating an entire song directly could very easily alter then flow and length of the song by a considerable degree.
Due to how easy it is to end up with a song so terribly different than the original it is important that English to Spanish translators working with song lyrics understand how to keep the structure. Even if all of the syllables of individual lines in a song get fit in correctly, that does not mean that the song is going to fit the same. Some sentences may come out too long, too short, or just no longer fit the aesthetic of the song. When you are translating song lyrics it is important to keep in mind that how a word sounds greatly impacts the flow of a song. Using “saddened” vs “upset” in a song may fit the same, and even mean the same, but leave a different feel overall that may alter the intent of the author.
It’s the little variations that matter
Another thing to keep in mind during the translations of songs is that the words may hold different meanings. A great example of this is the now famous Nena song “99 Red Balloons.” Originally the song was released in German and so when translated over to English slight alterations had to be made to the lyrics. Originally the title was “99 Luftballoons” which translates directly to “99 air balloons.” Of course “air balloons” in Germany are just what we call balloons in the United Kingdom, so in order to avoid confusion it was changed to “red Balloons.” This change allowed the song to keep the same tempo and general meaning even after being translated.
The Issues with Metaphors in Spanish to English Translations
Metaphors have been, and always will be, one of the most frustrating things for English to Spanish translators to deal with. See, there is a certain nuance to metaphors that may not translate over so well. A direct translation will often leave the metaphor void of its intent when it comes out in a new language. Metaphors can only ever be a semantic novelty, so it is almost impossible to find equivalence in the language it is being translated to. Instead the Spanish to English translators would be far more successful in trying to find an already existent metaphor that leaves the same impression. If your English to Spanish translators can get the word fitting, word intent, and metaphor situation down, then you might be able to get a successful song translation.
Gangnam Style Translation
The widely popular song that was played WAY to often, was extremely catchy…we will give it at least that much. However, even though the song got people dancing across the world no matter what language they spoke; have you ever wondered what the direct translation to English means or even sounds like? We found an hilarious video you need to watch. Check it out below: