Translation is just a word production if it doesn't have an imagination (Slavic/English)

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Junior Member
Регистрация: 28.08.2011
Pending moderation

First, to get you interested...

I would give a reward
In gold
If somebody
Rhymes this
In English:

Rođen pod sretnom zvezdom magičnom,
Ali nad ovom zemljom generalno tragičnom...

One user translated it like this:
Born under the lucky magical star
Yet over this generally tragical country

Another (Adrienne's) suggestion is this:
Born under magical lucky star
But over this country generally tragical

Well... It seems that it's very hard to notice obvious thing that
you can rhyme magical with tragical...

I was born under star which is magical
But in this country, in general, (generally) tragical...

So I'll take the reward in gold that I have offered }:)
And I guess you have to be poetical to rhyme words in any language (English or Slavic)... You can rhyme the whole song mentioned here (with a little effort). Other rhymes are not so obvious and easy to make, but it can be done.

Let's peak into another song of his...

...I don't go to Dositey's Street Anymore...
is the correct translation of
...Više ne prolazim ulicom Dositejevom...

But if we do it for English speakers, why bother them with a name of "Dositey" cause
the name of the street is, actually, of no importance here - the essence is that
it's HER street and he doesn't go there anymore...
I don't pass by her street anymore...

The song cries for rhymes (and offers rhyming) - especially the refrain!
But why interfere in someone else's work, a translation that got 5 stars?

I never protected you
I never caressed you
Never took care of you
I stepped over your love
Numbered everything

I never spared you
And I didn't know how to stop and stay
What will become of me
My little angel?

Again, word for word translation, too much of grammar and too little poetry!
Four times repeated: /never/ and /you/... Then, what does this mean:
I numbered everything?
At Balasevic original it means something (svemu smišljao broj) but here - obviously not. You could change it to: I was making things up, I was making excuses... and so on.

If the goal is to present this singer/songwriter (Balasevic) to English speakers,
you should translate his work as closes it can be done to his expressions -
including the rhyming. Presented in that way, songs would have more beauty
and they could be easily remembered. How about some imagination in translation?

And if we are translating his songs "just to see how they'll sound in English" -
(or for similar reasons)... then you're just doing word processing from
one Slavic language to English... It IS English, translated in this literal form,
word for word - but it's not Balasevic's beautiful language, far from that.
You're only showing that you have learned or studied English and that you
did your grammar exercises fair.

There is a big difference betwen literal translation and figurative translation!

Retired Moderator
Регистрация: 19.05.2008

Why don't you leave a comment on those translation pages?
It might be useful for that user and for guests searching for that specific translation, if they got corrections or something like they could understand the song a lot better.
I bet they won't be looking for this thread (I just stumbled on it)...

Also if you don't agree with a certain translation, you can always add your own. Wink smile

Retired Moderator
Регистрация: 19.05.2008
real01 wrote:

Well... Most of the lyrics (if not all) from Slavic language that I've checked here were
translated to English without rhyme and imagination, but the translation was correct.
Obviously, I don't fancy that. Maybe the problem isn't in the translations but in me -
that is, I'm a poetic soul and I'm on the wrong tracks here!

real01 wrote:

And I'm just stunned how accurate you have to be, blindly translating lyrics and noticing not the OBVIOUS rhyme! Or to translate so accurate that you make nonsensical expression (example in first post.)

I don't think translations have to rhyme like the orginal song does, mainly because sometimes the words that rhyme in a Slavic language might not rhyme in English. I do believe that the translation has to be correctly translated and story like, instead of line for line translation. Because then the song is split up in parts and doesn't sound like a 'story' anymore.

Some people like the more poetical/singable translations, while others go for the opposite. But that's where this site comes in handy, because there can be multipile translations to one song (in different and/or same languages). So if someone posts their let's say not rhymable translation, you can always post your own translation which does rhyme!

real01 wrote:

The last mentioned translation also got 4.5 stars (meaning: 'almost excellent').
But the valuation is for the accuracy of the translation - and not for the beauty!

The last mentioned song has only 2 votes. If more people vote on it, it will get a different outcome. But the voting system isn't perfected yet and it still needs some work.

real01 wrote:

To make corrections and give suggestions for translators for songs...? Well, I helped them: corrected one clumsy expression and rhymed two words that rhyme anyhow -
you just have to put them on the end of each verse... So, I'm not just criticizing.

real01 wrote:

About commenting/correcting the translations on their pages... Well, that would be too much of work! I've posted here a book from which they could start, a great example how to make an excellent translations (and to give up of translation of some song if it is translated better in year of 1983, for example). If they came across this post - OK, if not - again OK...

It would be the same amount of work posting on the translation page as here on the forum. In my opinion you haven't really helped them, as they probably don't even know you posted any comments on their translations here. That's why I do believe posting it on their translation would be better, not even for them but also for the people looking for that transation. 'Cause in the end, you might have a good point or correction they might not read for that specific translation. Like for example that translation made in 1983?

real01 wrote:

This is a thread in section called Lyrics Trans, Slavic Languages, right? So, a little bit of
my "theory how to translate" with examples should do.

On LT we don't have a rule book or anything like that on how a translation should be made. The only thing we stress about is that it shouldn't be a machine translation.

Junior Member
Регистрация: 11.11.2011

I'd like to agree with MayGoLoco. If I published translations here for money or for the love of poetry, I would try to make the lines rhyme and the lyrics look lyrical. But I've noticed that a lot of people here request a translation because they are learning the language and they want to understand bits that are not easy for them. In this case, a line by line translation is far more helpful: a poem that does not represent the grammar/ semantics of the original will only confuse them.

Also (and this is personal and does not refer to every song) I have just translated a song that took about 47 seconds and most of this time was spent typing, not thinking. I could, of course, have spent a couple of days working on an award-winning translation for it, but I feel no inclination to make people believe that the original is anywhere as good as my poetic translation would have made it look.

In short, if you don't like something - post your own version. This way people will be able to compare the available translations and choose the one that helps them most. If you can't be bothered - leave a comment with a few corrections you think should be made.

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