Have you ever noticed that, more often than not, when musicians or bands whose first language isn’t English cover a popular song that was written in English, they often just sing it in English? I can think of a few examples where that’s not the case… The most notable of which for me is the Mexican band Maná (who have been described as the U2 of Spanish rock) covering Led Zeppelin‘s Fool In the Rain. I remember not being sure what to make of it when I first heard it on the Encomium tribute album.
But more often than not, artists generally stick to singing the songs in the language they were originally written in. I’m not a professional musician from a foreign country, so I can’t say the exact reasons why (although one would think exposure in the English-speaking world might be part of it), but my guess is that it’s pretty difficult to translate it all properly unless you’ve got someone in or around the band fluent in both English and the language the song is being translated to. I mean, I’m sure it’s hard to translate rhymes between languages too.
But if you’re not employing an actual human translator, you’re probably left to use what all of us normal people use to translate things: Google Translate. As with any translation service that has no human intervention, it’s not always the most accurate thing to use.
But there’s a young lady by the name of Malinda Kathleen Reese who has had some fun using Google Translate to take famous songs, translate them all to a number of different languages and then BACK to English, and then singing the result.
And it’s pretty entertaining.
Here’s what Google Translate turned the lyrics of The Beatles to (complete with the actual lyrics so you can see the translations in real time!):
Man, I wish I was currently dwelling in an amber subdomain.
Now a lot of the songs she covers are Top 40 hits that would be more at home on our sister station 100.5 Fresh Radio, but there are at least a couple more worth sharing here. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody:
This reminds me so much of Zero Wing Rhapsody, where someone took the horribly-translated script from the intro of the 1989 video game Zero Wing, and inserted them in the place of the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody:
There are a couple more Google Translate songs that I think are worth sharing with you folks, though. Given that Pokemon has really enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the release of Pokemon Go, a translated version of the Pokemon theme song seems fitting, no?
I can’t help but be impressed with the amount of work she puts into her videos. Not only the recording and video editing and all that, but also the different outfits and props she uses. That’s one of her more recent videos, but if we go back a couple years – which we’re going to – you can clearly see she’s come a long way with her work from when she first started.
Now if you’ve got small children, you’ve probably heard this song enough to never want to hear it again, and you’ve probably got the lyrics drilled into your brain. Having no small children myself, I don’t have this problem, so I don’t actually even know what the words are supposed to be, and this doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it might bother you:
Well, guys, I think I just got a new idea for a novelty cover band.