Author Topic: Translating Songs  (Read 270 times)

Offline FlatAssembler

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Translating Songs
« on: November 11, 2019, 03:03:39 AM »
Hey, guys!
Does anybody here have some experience with translating lyrics or other forms of poetry? I've recently attempted to translate Eric Bogle's "The Gift of Years" into Croatian, you can see my work here.
I don't think the result is impressive. I think it's hard to translate poetry from English to Croatian (or vice versa) because equivalent sentences in Croatian tend to have significantly more syllables. English is, at least that's my perception, quite a consonant-heavy language. Almost every syllable in English ends in a consonant. In Croatian, while there are hard-to-pronounce words such as "hrĨcima", such are actually rare, and most of the syllables end in a vowel. English is more information-dense because of that, and it must be spoken a lot more slowly than Croatian has to be in order to be understood. That's why, if you try to translate an English poem into Croatian, it either doesn't sound good, or it loses most of its meaning. That's just my perception. I was wondering what you thought about it.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Translating Songs
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 06:08:42 PM »
This question seems related to another recent discussion: http://linguistforum.com/phonetics-and-phonology/can-phonetics-explain-why-certain-music-was-made-for-certain-languages/

A translator must make a choice about aesthetics. Of course the meaning should be translated, but regarding the form, should it resemble the original or capture something about the target language instead? For example, if the original in English rhymes, should that also then rhyme in the translation, or should something else be used as a poetic device in the target language? (See my comment in the other discussion for more.)
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