Principles Of Song Translation

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2.2 Sense

Here we face another principle suggested by Low – Sense, which means that the lyrics should be translated without departing from the basic ideas of the original lyrics. Low (2005, 194) stresses that the meaning remains a significant principle, except in some cases like nonsense songs. Moreover, it is not possible to use an accurate equivalent in the target text, therefore, “a near- synonym, a narrow term by a superordinate term, a particular metaphor by a different one which functions similarly in the context” can be used (Low 2005, 194).
However, Coenraats (2011) points out that a translator is allowed to choose how close he will stay to the original text, how he will translate certain cultural elements and how much cultural adaptation
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An “ideal” translation requires a natural sounding. According to Belloc (1931, 30), “natural and good translation must... consciously attempt the spirit of the original at the expense of the latter. Now this is much the same as saying that the translator must be of original talent; he must himself create: he must have power of his own, not just offer a one-to-one translation.” Naturalness implies not only the usage of certain words but also grammatical aspects. Peter Newmark says:

You have to bear in mind that the level of naturalness of natural usage is grammatical as well as lexical (i.e., the most frequent syntactic structures, idioms and words that are likely to be appropriately found in that kind of stylistic context), and, through appropriate sentence connectives, may extend to the entire text. (Newmark 1987,
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Also, if the singer is in the highest or lowest part of his or her range, attention must be paid to the choice of vowels and consonants otherwise, it will be physically impossible to sing the words. Although music can expand the translators’ possibilities as well as restrict them by imparting dramatic colour to an otherwise ordinary word, for instance, or by deforming the very dissimilar rhythms of the source and target languages so that they are more nearly equivalent matching rhythms is not a simple task. Some strategies for its accomplishment have been discussed in the articles written by Apter (“The Impossible Takes a Little Longer”, “Questions of Quantity”, and “A Peculiar Burden”). These strategies include spreading an English syllable over more or fewer notes than the original does; using multisyllabic Latinate English words when their comic effect is acceptable; moving thoughts from one part of an aria to another; using the interrelationship in English between syllable length and stress to approximate the very different ratio of stressed to unstressed syllables in a language such as Czech; and using unaccented single- syllable English pronouns and syllables such as -es, -le, and -er to match the very light final syllables of words in languages such as German