Dozens if not hundreds of songs are translated daily. But even though this number may be huge, there is still a fair chance that you won’t find the translation of a song you’ve been looking for. In this case, your only option is to translate it yourself. Unfortunately, you have no knowledge of the language in question. Here are three things you can do in this situation.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Translating
Translating your song will allow you to reach bigger audiences and find fans from all over the world. Besides, you will be able to submit it to more contests. It’s a win-win in any situation you get into. You can also show it to more producers this way.
For example, if you check the biggest songwriting contests around the world, you will notice that not all of them allow you to submit a song in any language. If you are eyeing a particular competition, you will need to make sure that your lyrics are written in a certain language or translated into it. Likewise, many producers will ask you to show them the lyrics in their own language.
Let’s look at the example of the German Songwriting Awards which is an annual competition for songwriters. The rules state that you can be of any age and from any country. However, your song must be in either of the four languages: English, German, Spanish, or French. You can’t submit your song if its lyrics are in a different language, so you will need to translate it.
Another international contest titles Turkvision Song Contest has similar restrictions. Participants must come either from Turkey or regions that are Turkic-speaking. The participants can also have Turkic origins. This led to many countries participating. However, the language always had to be Turkish or similar to it (e.g. Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz).You can still participate if you are from the US, but your song will have to be translated from English to Turkish or a similar language.
Before we get into the options themselves, it is important to point out some things that you must keep in mind:
- The Nuances of Language: Every language is unique and requires an individual approach. There are different grammatical structures that may be entirely different from that of the English language. Moreover, the stylistic peculiarities, as well as punctuation,must also be taken into account. Some phrases such as idioms may be harder to translate because of their meaning and equivalents in different languages (if there are any). In addition to that, you will probably need to rhyme words and maintain a certain rhythm. All of these are especially important if you are planning to translate the song by yourself rather than hire someone to do so.
- Your Budget Is Not Infinite: Even though we would all love to have an endless supply of money, we must all understand that we can’t afford some things. It’s not always a bad thing though, so there is no need to get upset about it too much. Just remember that, if you will be hiring a translator, you must find someone within your financial resources but who will still be able to provide you with a high-quality translation.
- Your Aim Must Be Clear: Why are you translating the song? Do you really need this? If your interest is purely a whim, then maybe it is better to leave it alone and move on. Be truthful with yourself and decide what aim you are pursuing in this endeavor. If you absolutely can’t live without this translation, then read on and find out what you can do in your situation.
- Use An Online Translator
This is perhaps the least or one of the least reliable options on our list. The problem with using an online translator is that you can’t know whether the translation is accurate. And they mostly aren’t.
First, make sure that your song hasn’t been translated before. Go to Genius and similar song lyrics websites that may have your song in their database. Check if there are any translations available. Once you know that your song is not available in the language you need it, you can go on and use a translator.
The two most popular options are probably Google Translate and Bing Microsoft Translator, but you can find others if you prefer something else. All you will need to do is copy and paste the lyrics of your song and translate them. On the other hand, such automatic translations usually sound more like gibberish.
But once you do, try to find someone who can check the accuracy of the translated text. As mentioned above, online translators are not a very trustworthy tool and often translate to gibberish. Having someone review your text and point out the errors will be a good idea before doing anything with it. Just make sure that the person checking it is qualified to do so. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a certificate, but that they have enough knowledge to see the mistakes. It can be a friend or a relative. You can also ask your colleagues or even people online.
- Ask Professionals
Another way, and perhaps the surest one, is to ask a professional to make the translation. The problem with this, however, is that you will have to pay them, so be prepared to get your money ready.
You can either go to your local translation agency or get in touch with a translator you know. Alternatively, you can search for someone online. The latter is probably the preferred plan of action as it gives you more flexible of who you choose to do the job.
A good idea is to first check on Fiverr and other similar freelance platforms that have many independent translators offering their services there. You can directly get in touch with a writing service reviews such as Online WritersRating that will also help you.
When choosing a translator or a translation agency, keep in mind your budget and how much you are willing to spend. You must find someone with experience that will prove they can make a high-quality translation but don’t cost much at the same time.
- Do It Yourself
Lastly, consider doing the translation yourself. This might sound scary, especially if you have no idea or prior experience with the language, but it may prove to be the cheapest and surest way to get a proper translation of the song you chose.
You will need to equip yourself with some tools to ensure that the translation is going well:
- Google Docs or Excel: This will allow you to type in your translation. Excel is especially useful for those who want to see the translation right next to the original rather than at the end of it.
- Thesaurus: This will help you find synonyms and antonyms as well as definitions of rare or complicated words.
- Google Translate or Bing Microsoft Translator: As mentioned above, an online translator is essential for translating the song. But this time, you won’t be inserting the whole text at once, but rather separate words and phrases.
- Rhymer: This will help you find rhymes easier, though you might find that rhymes are a secondary aspect of your translation.
Just like with the first method, you will have to show your “handmade” translation to someone who knows the language and can check your text for errors.
In conclusion, translating a song may be either a necessity or simply a passion project of yours, but what you must absolutely remember is that it’s not an easy process and there will be many challenges along the way (if you are doing it yourself).