Song Translation

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MusiVerso - Song Translation

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Small fish in a big pond by rubyblossom

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Lyric Writing & Recording Studio Quality Song Translations
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  • Languages

    We can translate songs from any language into English. Unfortunately, we’re not yet able to translate songs into other languages.

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  • How it Works


    For recording studio quality lyrics that fit the music, a translated song must be 95% -100% identical to the original song in:

    • Rhyme pattern
    • Number of syllables per line

    No matter how simple the text, subtle meanings can get lost in translation. Poetic symbols also differ from one language to another. This, combined with the need for matching rhyme patterns and syllables per line, makes it impossible to translate 100% of a song’s original meaning in a way that fits the music. Nevertheless, we take pride in crafting beautiful poetry that translates the “soul” of songs with imagery that works in English.

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  • Samples

    Our translations achieve a close match in meaning and a 95% to 100% match in rhyme pattern & syllables per line. For samples, check out our English translations of poems by the some of the world’s great poets.

    Ode à Cassandre (1553)
    (Original by Pierre de Ronsard)
    Literal Translation
    Ode to Cassandra
    Poetic Translation
    Ode to Cassandra

    Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
    Qui ce matin avoit declose
    Sa robe de pourpre au soleil,
    A point perdu, cette vesprée,
    Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
    Et son teint au vostre pareil.

    Come, fair maid, let’s go see if the rose
    Who opened up
    Her purple gown to the sun this morning
    Has, now that it’s evening, Lost the folds of her purple gown
    And her color, so like yours.

    Pray tell, fair maid, do you suppose That this morning’s unfolding rose, Who unrobed her glory for the sun With crimson blush so like your own, Has wilted as the sun has shone, And faded now that day is done?

    Las, voiés comme en peu d'espace, Mignonne, elle a dessus la place Las, las, ses beautés laissé cheoir! O vraiment maratre Nature, Puis qu'une telle fleur ne dure Que du matin jusques au soir.

    Alas, fair maid! See how in such a short time, The rose’s beauty has fallen beneath her! Nature, truly (you are like) a cruel stepmother If such a flower can only last From dawn to dusk!

    Come here, my pretty, and behold The fairest rose e’er to unfold Has fallen from her beauty’s grace! Step-motherly cruel, Mother Earth, ’T was just this Dawn, you gave birth To beauty you’d let Dusk deface

    Donc, si vous me croiés, mignonne: Tandis que vôtre âge fleuronne En sa plus verte nouveauté, Cueillés, cueillés vôtre jeunesse Comme à cette fleur, la viellesse Fera ternir vôtre beauté.

    Thus, if you believe me, fair maid, While your youth is still blooming In its greenest freshness, Gather it up (i.e. hold it close to you & cherish it dearly). For old age will fade your beauty As it has this flower.

    So trust me, Dear, I speak the truth Cherish the blossom of your youth, For all flowers by age are doomed. Your budding beauty will turn gray Just as such roses fade away And time withers all that’s bloomed.

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    Der Wegweiser (ca. 1824)
    (Original by Wilhelm Muller)
    Literal Translation
    The Sign
    Poetic Translation
    The Sign

    Was vermeid ich denn die Wege,
    Wo die andren Wandrer gehn,
    Suche mir versteckte Stege
    Durch verschneite Felsenhöhn?

    Why is it that I avoid the paths
    That other walkers take?
    And I seek out hidden trails
    Through snow-covered rocky heights.

    What drives me away from highways
    All other travelers seek?
    To roam jagged, rocky byways
    Hidden high in glacial peaks.

    Habe ja doch nichts begangen,
    Daß ich Menschen sollte scheun
    Welch ein törichtes Verlangen
    Treibt mich in die Wüsteneien?

    I really haven’t done anything
    That I should have to avoid people.
    What kind of foolish longing
    Drives me into the wilderness?

    I can’t think of a single sin
    To ban me to isolation.
    What madness goads me from within
    To the wilds, to desolation?

    Weiser stehen auf den Straßen,
    Weisen auf die Städte zu,
    Und ich wandre sonder Maßen,
    Ohne Ruh, und suche Ruh.

    Signposts stand along the streets
    Pointing to (different) towns
    And I wander aimlessly,
    Without peace and seeking peace.

    Signs mark each road and cross-section
    Pointing to towns all around
    Yet I roam with no direction
    Seeking peace I’ve never found

    Einen Weiser seh ich stehen
    Unverrückt vor meinem Blick;
    Eine Straße muß ich gehen,
    Die noch keiner ging zurück

    I see one signpost
    (Consistently) unmoving before my gaze
    There is a street that I must take
    That no one has returned from.

    But by each road and path and track
    One sign recurs to let me know
    I’m on a road no one takes back
    And it’s the road I must go.

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    Tï i Vï
    (Original by Alexander Pushkin)
    Literal Translation: “Thou and You”
    (To emphasize the difference, “you” and “thou/thee” are in caps below)
    Cultural Translation for modern-day English speakers
    Informal and Formal

    Pustoye vï serdechnïm tï
    Ona, obmolvyas, zamenila
    I vse schashtlivïe mechtï
    V dushe vlyublyonnoy vozbudila

    Mistakenly, she switched
    An empty (formal) YOU with a heartfelt (informal) THOU
    And all the happy dreams in (me)
    A soul so in love, were awakened.

    Forgetting our formality,
    She dropped “Mister” and used my first name
    Rousing such dreams of bliss in me
    And setting my lovelorn heart aflame.

    Pred ney zadumchivo stoyu,
    Svesti ochey s neyo net silï
    I govoryu ey: kak vï milï
    A mïslyu: kak tebya lyublyu

    I stand before her, deep in thought
    Without strength to take my eyes off her,
    And I say, “How sweet YOU are!”
    While I’m thinking: “How I love THEE!”

    Captured in this deep reverie,
    Faint and transfixed by her vision there,
    I say, “Miss, you’re so nice to me”
    Overwhelmed by love I can’t declare.

    For traditionalists, there’s always the more literal option of using the old-fashioned “thou and thee.”

    Traditional translation

    Straying to a warm “thou and thee,”
    Forgetting her formal “you” and “Sir,”
    She roused such dreams of bliss in me
    That ever a soul in love dared stir

    Lost in thought and faint on my feet
    Paralyzed by her loveliness here
    I mutter, “Miss, you are so sweet,”
    While my heart pounds, “How I love thee, dear.”

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    Ay del triste (Original by Jose Zorilla) Literal translation
    Woe to the Poor Soul
    Poetic Translation
    Woe to the Poor Soul

    ¡Ay del triste que consume
    su existencia en esperar!
    ¡Ay del triste que presume
    que el duelo con que él se abrume
    al ausente ha de pesar!

    Woe to the poor soul who consumes
    His existence in waiting
    Woe to the poor soul who presumes
    That the same duel that has overwhelmed him
    Has done the same to the absent (loved) one

    Woe to the poor soul who consumes
    His existence in an enduring wait!
    Woe to the poor soul who presumes
    That the same duel that has crushed him also dooms
    His far-away love to his fate!

    La esperanza es de los cielos
    precioso y funesto don,
    pues los amantes desvelos
    cambian la esperanza en celos.
    que abrasan el corazón.

    Waiting comes from the heavens
    A precious and fateful gift
    Since sleepless lovers
    Change waiting into jealousy
    That burns the heart

    Endurance is a true gift from on high
    To be treasured, yet feared in some ways
    For under the night’s sleepless sky
    Waiting lovers turn and burn by and by
    In Jealousy’s heart-scorching blaze

    Si es cierto lo que se espera,
    es un consuelo en verdad;
    pero siendo una quimera,
    en tan frágil realidad
    quien espera desespera.

    Waiting for what is guaranteed
    Is truly comforting
    But, being an illusion (that is awaited)
    In such a fragile reality,
    Whoever waits will despair.

    Waiting for a guaranteed assurance
    And not for a mirage so frail
    Would be heartening reassurance
    If mirage weren’t Truth’s fragile veil
    And despair the snare of endurance.
    (More poetic in English)
    OR (more literal option):

    Waiting for a guaranteed assurance
    And not for some frail illusion
    Would be heartening reassurance
    If Truth weren’t such disillusion
    And despair the snare of endurance

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  • Translating the "Untranslatable"

    Untranslatable? Probably NOT!

    Sometimes, what is easy to say in one language seems impossible to translate into another. With creativity, however, translations can help people understand things that may not seem to exist in their own culture.

    A Russian poem by Alexander Pushkin is a good example. It concerns the difference between the formal Russian word for “you” and the informal word, “thou,” which spoken English lost in the 1600s. This cultural translation of this poem makes the poet’s feelings understandable to modern English speakers even though the social situation in the poem could never occur among English speakers today: translation of Thou and You.

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