We listen to music every single day. Undoubtedly, on the current music market English songs are in the dominant position. However, they are not performed only by English or American vocalists. English language, as today’s lingua franca, is considered to be the language of a ‘soft’ and pleasant sound in songs. Nevertheless, among many musicians who are willing to compose new songs in such a language, there may also be found those who want to perform the songs of foreign artists but in a native translation.

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Although today’s translation of some documents, or even books is not a rocket science, song translation may be a challenge. During the translation of songs, it’s important to remember about rhythm, the number of syllables in a particular phrase, accents and the main theme of the song in particular. In this case, the music has to be consistent with the text. It’s crucial to make the translated text as emotional as the original one because it is the thing the music is about.

Below, you can see the passage of the English song Stay with me in the Polish version translated by Dorota Kozielska.

Oh won’t you stay with me
Cos you’re all I need
This ain’t love it’s clear to see
But darling stay with me

(the original text)

Czy możesz przy mnie być?
Chociaż kilka chwil
To nie miłość, co tu kryć?
Czy możesz przy mnie być?

(Polish translation)

As you can see in the example above, the text was not translated ‘word for word’. The translator focused on the message of this song. The number of syllables, however, is exactly the same, so the vocalist will have no difficulties singing it. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to translate the text in the exact way. Hence, it’s important to understand the original text to convey the proper atmosphere. Although the Polish translation is ‘different’, it has the same general theme.

The exact translation would be too long and would consist of too many syllables in one phrase. Thus, the vocalist would not be able to sing such a text with music because there would just be too many words in one music phrase.

To sum up, while translating the song into another language we should take into account the number of syllables in each line, some rhymes that may occur, and the proper meaning. It requires flexibility, openness to the novelties, and mainly work experience in proper localization of a song from the translator.

(translation M.G.)

Pomożemy w tłumaczeniu.Zadzwoń