Friday, September 22, 2006

Favorite Songs and Translation Issues

Ramadan Mubarak! (Well, in a few hours anyways). I hope you all have a wonderful and successuful Ramadan and are able to fully take advantage of the blessings available this month.

My current favorite song is "Parvaneyeh Man" by Fereidoun Foroughi. You can hear it on this site. There are some other good songs of his posted there too. "Parvaneyeh Man" roughly translates as "My Butterfly," which sounds a bit trite in English. I printed out the lyrics online to translate them, as i find that this is a good way to practice languages. Print out the lyrics to a favorite song in that language, translate it, and then listen to the song again after you have found out what all the words mean. Or maybe i'm just a nerd. You can do the same thing with news articles and stories, but it doesn't have the same effect since you most likely never heard them spoken and if you did, are not as likely to hear them again as a song you like.

Anyways, the song is incredibly beautiful in the original Farsi but sounds really silly translated into English. It doesn't help that Farsi is an agglutinative language, and the resulting English translations have at least twice the syllables and length of the original, so it really messes up the flow. I can understand how Rumi translators have so much trouble keeping the flow and feel of the original. That still doesn't let Coleman Barks off the hook for solving the problem by mistranslating for the sake of the "original feel," but i can see their plight.

What's your current favorite song? Do you have favorite songs in other languages that you don't know well or are learning? Do you know what they mean?

6 Comments:

Blogger Edward Ott said...

Hoping that you have a blessed Ramadan

1:47 AM  
Blogger baj said...

ramadan mubarak! i like 'cheyah cheyah' even though i don't know what the lyrics are. and 'aisha' by cheb khalid - in french so again, no idea.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous irving K said...

Ramadan Mubarak Dear Chef :) In our Nimatullahi khaniqah all the music is sung in Farsi, and though I understand only a few words, they move my heart anyway. The translations are a problem, but the lovely words, poems by Rumi or our Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, are worth reading even in translation.

Ya Haqq!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Um Mahtab said...

Salam Alaykum ! I think you're amazing, you seem like you know tons of languages, Mashallah. I really like the song Badakhshi by Qader Eshpari http://www.virtualafghans.com/music/qadir_eshpari/tanha_tu/3.asx Btw, i didn't delete my blog :P I hope your Ramadan is going well.

12:53 AM  
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