What does a better lyrics translation need?
- Posted by:
- Mon, 26-10-2015
With the closer fusion of cultures across the world, people are getting to touch more corners of other cultures, including music. Rhythms are not enough already; they want to know deeper meanings of songs. You can find many people asking for help translating a song to their languages, answers are vary even far away which is an interesting phenomenon. You can say that people have different attitudes towards arts. But you also have to admit, that the song writer must have only one explanation to his or her song. So, it leads us to the question that how to do a better translation for a song, a poem or a proverb?
Facing a case of a song, you have to find a way to express the original meaning of the lyrics to adapt it to the target audiences. In the specific case of a song, we must find a way to express the original meaning of the lyrics while adapting it to what is often a context complete opposite the original, which is where cultural or historical references of our target audience come into play. There are many instances of songs that lose their meaning or part so greatly from their original lyrics that they end up sounding like totally different songs. And many other songs which are popular in languages other than English end up not having the same sensitivity.
When you are trying to translate a song, we can mention the song’s artistic intention, its identity, so to speak, the context it plays out in, and, sometimes, much as we’d like to avoid it, forgetting about the previous tip and translating literally in order to favor the melody and phrasing. In order to avoid this last point it is recommended that the person translating have knowledge of music, or that the person translating a book or poem also be a writer. We’re not talking about theoretical musical knowledge, but rather knowledge of musical genres, melodies and rhythms, not just contemporary but of all periods.
Translating lyrics can be really challenging, but if we follow certain specific guidelines such as those mentioned above, it could be very pleasing.