It’s no secret that Ed Sheeran wrote his latest album while travelling the world and soaking up different cultures and styles of music. But he went further than that. He also isn’t afraid to delve into the world of languages either. What’s most impressive is his commitment to getting the foreign lyrics and their pronunciation spot on, and he has previously said he would only sing in other languages if he could do it properly.
However, it’s not just on his latest album that he tries his hand at other languages, but in songs recorded before and after too. Take a look below!
Twi – “Boa Me” & “Bibia Be Ye Ye”
Last year Ed teamed up with Highlife and Afrobeats artist Fuse ODG to create a new track called “Boa Me”, where Sheeran sings the entire chorus in flawless Twi – a dialect from Ghana. The song was actually written at Fuse ODG’s house in Ghana with his friends, and Ed has described it as “probably the most fun I’ve had writing a song”. The song peaked at #52 in the UK charts. While it didn’t reach the top 40, this upbeat track is definitely worth a listen!
This actually isn’t even the first time that the Twi language has featured on an Ed Sheeran track! The song/lyrics “Bibia be ye ye” from the Deluxe version of his latest album ÷ (Divide), is also Twi, and means “all will be well”. Fuse ODG was also involved in the writing of this song which peaked at #18 on the UK chart.
Spanish – “Barcelona”
“Barcelona” is another song which appears on the Deluxe version of ÷ (Divide), and this time Ed takes on Spanish at the end of the song which includes the following lyrics:
Mi niña, te amo mi cariño
Sí tú, te adoro, señorita
Los otros, viva la vida
Siempre vida, Barcelona
In case you’re wondering, “Mamacita” roughly translates as “hot mama”!
This is another feel-good song which tries to incorporate the atmosphere in this amazing city. It charted at #12 in the UK charts.
Italian – Perfect Symphony
Spanish isn’t the only language from mainland Europe that Ed sings in! After the incredible success of “Perfect” (initially debuting at #4, before climbing to #3), and then “Perfect Duet” with Beyoncé which propelled the song to #1 in the charts, Sheeran collaborated with Italian legend Andrea Bocelli to create a more operatic version, known as “Perfect Symphony”. Bocelli translated part of the song into Italian but it’s not just him who sings the Italian, with Ed also joining in. Incidentally this is also the first song in which Ed collaborated with his brother Matthew, himself a classical composer, and whose string section appears on both this and the original version.
Gaelic – Thinking Out Loud
Ed is clearly in touch with his Irish roots, spending plenty of time across the Irish sea with his family, having some tattoos in Gaelic, and also musically with two Irish-influenced songs “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” appearing on ÷. But he went even further back in 2015 by recording a Gaelic translation of one of his biggest hits “Thinking Out Loud”. It was recorded especially to be included on the album CEOL 2016, which was that year’s album from Conradh na Gaeilge (an organisation promoting the Irish language) and their Irish-language radio station Raidió Rí Rá, produced for “Irish week” (Seachtain na Gaeilge), featuring Gaelic tracks from the best Ireland has to offer.
The whole song is translated into, and sung in Gaelic, which I think we’ll all agree is pretty impressive! I’ll leave it up to native Gaelic speakers to let us know how good his pronunciation is, but I’m sure, as with the other songs, he wouldn’t have released it if he wasn’t able to get it right, as is his great professionalism and his respect for other languages and cultures.
Keep up the great work Ed!
I’m sure we have all found ourselves in a situation where the jargon in a document has made our heads spin.
Our legal translators are often faced with texts like this, but thankfully they have the terminological knowledge and experience to deal with them.
Legal translation services is an area of the industry that is often looked upon with trepidation, as there are so many different considerations.
Take for example, the translation of legal documents for an English customer who is taking up residency in France.
It may seem straight forward, once the terms have been identified and translated, but the conventions are much more difficult to work with. According to French succession law, children (biological of legally adopted) are entitled to a certain ‘reserved’ portion of a parent’s estate.
This means that a French will can only control the distribution of the remaining portion, in contrast to the will of a UK citizen. Legal translation services must provide the customer with documents which are fit for purpose in the target language and culture, taking into account any legal points to be observed, such as the one mentioned above.
To summarise, in order to provide quality legal translation services, we take every care to ensure that our legal translators know their specialist area thoroughly. This is absolutely vital to give our customers exactly what they need.
Finally, on a lighter note, we have found this fine piece of gobbledegook (a fantastic word itself!), which we would love to know if someone can decipher. Can you tell us what this means in standard English?
A ptitsa in the finest of platties was goolying along a river one hot summer’s day, smecking at the ducks and generally thinking life was real horrorshow, when a group of nadsats ittied by. The ptitsa was suddenly poogly to slooshy the nadsats’ conversation, how they had crasted a ded’s otchkies whilst he was sleeping, and then sold they dorogoy otchkies and used the money for peeting and other jollifications. The ptitsa decided these grazzy nadsats must be bezoomy, and ran away skorry-like clutching her shlapa to her Gulliver. “What utter chepooka!”, she messeled to herself.
For more information about our language services in the legal sector, please visit our legal translation services page.
For quite some time, companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple have been diving into the world of translation, with their machine translation tools. The most famous (or infamous, depending on what you think) of these is Google Translate.
In ten years of Google Translate, the programme has gone from supporting two languages to 103. More than 500 million of us use Google Translate which translates more than 100 billion words a day. The main languages translated are English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Indonesian. Brazilians are known to use Google Translate more than any other country.
Who uses Google Translate?
Based on Google Translates figures, half a billion- that is an insane amount of people! Google Translate has become our online bilingual dictionary- finding words, phrases or even an entire page of text.
Can you trust Google Translate?
Yes and no. You cannot deny its ability to translate.
But a machine can not physically understand the meaning of a sentence. It can translate it word for word- but would the translation flow with the same effect as it would in its source language?
The simple answer is NO. Word for word translation is like Joey writing Monica and Chandler’s adoption letter in Friends:
“Monica: Alright, what was this sentence originally? (shows the sentence to Joey)
Joey: Oh, ‘They are warm, nice, people with big hearts’.
Chandler: And that became ‘they are humid prepossessing Homo Sapiens with full sized aortic pumps…?
Joey: Yeah, yeah and hey, I really mean it, dude.”
What do you think? Sound the same?
But Google hasn’t stopped there!
They now have a Neutral Machine Translation (GNMT). The programme is trained with translations in the hope that it’ll eventually bring out perfect translations, or as close to a human translation as possible. Google translate works on a piece by piece method as I said earlier. So, it will see a whole sentence and translate word for word, rather than looking for the meanings behind the sentence (as a human would) and translate to the best of their ability what the source text means. This new version works on huge volumes of human-translated text- it learns from what it has been taught.
Impressed? But would you want this programme to translate important documents? Sensitive, legal documents? I think not…
So, what about Google’s competition?
‘iTranslate – Your Passport to the World’
iTranslate is an app that works just like Google Translate. The online website states that ‘With iTranslate you can translate text or websites, start voice conversations, lookup words, meanings and even verb conjugations in over 90 languages’. Who wouldn’t want that on their phone?! It would be an ideal travel companion. Able to recognise your voice, translate offline to save on roaming charges. iTranslate also gives you access to previous translations.
Well, on the whole, this sounds great. Does exactly want someone would want – quick and easy translations direct to your phone. You don’t even need an iPhone – Works with various Android and Windows phones as well.
But, do you trust it? This would be ideal if you wanted to go on holiday and didn’t know certain terms or words. Would you really allow this programme to translate your website? Maybe not….
Maybe trust a trained translator writing in their own native language with experience and qualifications to translate some of the most important documents you could have!
THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSLATION
There is more to translation than transferring the words from one language into another, it involves the translation of feelings, emotions and thoughts. Every language has a unique structure or word order. The simpler the language is, the easier it is to translate that language to another one. A poorly written text can make matters much more complex, as the meaning can be hard to understand and therefore to render into a different language.
The role of translators in the development of international relations, economics, arts, movies and scientific exchange, is vast. Translators facilitate social, artistic, cultural, political and scientific communication.
Homonyms (words with the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings) can mislead the translator. Using the wrong meaning can ruin a phrase or make it seem absurd. Sometimes different words have an overlap in their definition, meaning and use but they are not used in quite the same way or have a mismatch in certain contexts. This can lead to misuse or different meaning in the target text as words might have an implied value judgement in one language but not in another.
It is not strange to stumble upon a word that has no equivalent in the target language. Which is very likely to be found in legal documents because of the different legislation or in technical texts where many key terms are used to describe technological progress that has no equivalent in another language since it’s a brand-new concept. A good solution in this case is to come up with a phrase that conveys the meaning.
Sarcasm is a sharp or bitter way of expressing thoughts or a remark that usually means the opposite of what people say. It usually loses its meaning if translated word-for-word into a different language. Finding the right equivalents in the target language is not always an easy task. Cultural differences between languages and the culture of their speakers can only make this mission more daunting. Many jokes and idioms are culture-bond and would not make any sense in the target language if translated literally.
The best way to insure the meaning of your text is rendered efficiently into the target language is to use qualified professional translator like the ones we use at Lingua Translations. We make sure the target text conveys the meaning you want to communicate to your audience. Only the human translator is able of interpreting cultural components in the source text and that cannot be translated in terms of equivalent terms. As well as understanding the different cultural, linguistic and semantic nuances in order to produce a target text that has the same effect as the source text.
RETOS DE LA TRADUCCIÓN
La traducción es más que pasar las palabras de un idioma a otro, implica la traducción de sentimientos, emociones y pensamientos. Cada lengua posee una estructura u orden de palabras único. Cuanto más sencillo sea el lenguaje, más fácil es de traducir ese idioma a otro. Un texto mal escrito puede hacer esta tare mucho más ardua, ya que el significado puede resultar difícil de comprender y, por lo tanto, de transmitir en un idioma distinto.
El papel del traductor en el desarrollo de las relaciones internacionales, economía, arte, cine e intercambios científicos es enorme. Facilitan la comunicación social, artística, cultural, política y científica.
Los homónimos (palabras con la misma ortografía y pronunciación, pero de significados diferentes) pueden confundir al traductor. Utilizar el significado erróneo puede arruinar la frase o hacerla absurda. En ocasiones, diferentes palabras se solapan en algunas acepciones, pero no se usan de la misma manera o son incompatibles en algunos contextos. Esto puede llevar al mal uso o cambio de significado en el texto meta ya que éstas pueden tener un valor implícito en un idioma, pero no en el otro.
No es extraño encontrarse con una palabra que no tiene equivalente en el idioma meta. Esto es muy probable en documentos legales debido a la diferencia en la legislación o en textos técnicos donde muchos términos se utilizan para describir el progreso tecnológico que no tiene equivalente en otra lengua por tratarse de un nuevo concepto. Una buena solución en este caso sería crear una frase que transmita el mismo significado.
El sarcasmo es una manera de expresar pensamientos o hacer comentarios agudos o viperinos en la que se quiere decir lo contrario a lo expresado verbalmente. Normalmente pierde sentido si se traduce literalmente en otro idioma. Encontrar los equivalentes adecuados en la lengua meta no es siempre una tarea sencilla. Las diferencias culturales entre idiomas y la cultura de sus hablantes sólo pueden hacer este cometido más intimidante. Muchas bromas y expresiones están ligadas a la cultura y no tienen sentido en la lengua meta si se traducen literalmente.
La mejor manera de asegurarse de que su texto se transmita eficazmente en el idioma meta es utilizar traductores profesionales como los que usamos en Lingua Translations. Nos aseguramos de que su texto transmita el significado que usted quiere comunicar a su público. Sólo los traductores humanos con capaces de interpretar los componentes culturales en el texto de origen y que no tienen términos equivalentes. Además de comprender los distintos matices culturales, lingüísticos y semánticos para producir un texto meta con el mismo efecto que el texto de origen.
The use of acronyms is becoming more frequent in every language, especially in some fields, such as telecommunications, finance, IT, medicine, etc. Therefore technical translations usually involve plenty of abbreviations which is different in every language and can’t be translated literally, but there are various tactics and rules that a technical translator must always bear in mind.
There are some abbreviations which can sometimes lead to confusion when translating because an equivalent does not exist in the target language. So, technical translators resort to a variety of dictionaries and glossaries of terms, initials and acronyms in different fields.
Here are some commonly applied tactics in technical translations, but it’s always best to check!
- For initials that represent international organisations, there is normally a standard translation, which you will have to find out. For example WHO=OMS, UN=ONU.
- The same applies to medical initials, which often have a standard translation, and you must use this and not the source language’s abbreviation. Some examples include: AIDS=SIDA (Acquired immune Deficiency Syndrome), DNA=ADN (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), STD=ETS (Sexually Transmitted Disease).
- There are many other situations where you may encounter them. Some don’t have an equivalent acronym or set of initials in other languages, like CEO= Ejecutivo, or FAQ = preguntas frecuentes. Others have a different translation and acronym in the other language, like USA = Estados Unidos de América (EE. UU). Finally, there are many acronyms, especially in IT, which are also used in Spanish (PIN, DOS, CD ROM).
We can recommend the website Acronym Finder to check acronyms and initials in English. It contains more than 5 million acronyms and abbreviations, which you can search by category, or a backtracking search, which is to say that you can search for a word or words and find the corresponding acronym. This is a really useful tool for technical translations.
Do you know any other useful tools for translating acronyms? Please share with us!
Find out more about technical translations on our website.
Swearwords: a translation challenge
Swearwords are some of the most vital, vibrant and colourful aspects of a language. They remain an important part of our daily conversations, as it is our way of making people understand our attitude and feelings.
The purpose of using swearwords, as well as idioms, is to express yourself. Nowadays, you can hear swearwords not only in the streets, but also in the movies, and even read them in books. Due to their nature, sometimes it is complicated when it comes to translating them, either because it’s hard to find an equivalent, or because of the controversy that these words have.
Here I present some tips of how to translate these tricky words.
Find the best equivalent in the target language
Swearwords are often the equivalence of the culture, so it might be hard to find the same expression/swearwords in the target language. A useful way would be to find an equivalent that express the same meaning.
Never translate them literally
This is the worst way to translate a swearword. It won’t be 100% accurate, especially if the word has different meanings.
Never skip those words, only if necessary
I know some people consider swearwords offensive in general, but when it is about translating, it means, sharing the message from one language to another, and so you cannot omit them. It is not the same if you turn ‘bitchy woman’ from the original text into ‘woman’ in the target text. Here is a lack of intent and faithfulness!
The only time you’ll be able to skip them is if there is a censorship of ideas, expressions and words in the target culture.
In conclusion, translating swear words can be difficult but not impossible – especially if you have a good knowledge and management of both source and target language. Sometimes translators must choose between translating the text as it is or adjust it to reflect the main idea.
Let me know what you would do in this case! 😉