Lyrics Translations: Of Love, Politics, and Dance

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Blogging controversies are my least favorite topic, but lyrics translations are among my favorites.  So given the choice between blogtroversy and lyrics translations that piss people off…

I’ll go for the latter.  Between passing myself off as a highly regarded blogger (which I’m not) and a lyrics translator, I’d rather live up to the lyrics translator gimmick.  Of course, if I get peeved and pissed and ticked off enough within the next… hmmm, 72 hours, I’ll probably write stuff that will either shake the foundations of the blogosphere, or just move along like the chirping sounds of a lonely cricket on a rainy Wednesday evening.

Sheesh, that sounded emo.  Oh well, in a couple days I’ll probably learn how to write good poetry.

Anyway, let’s make this fun.  Let’s make this socially proactive.  Let’s deal with songs that are political, romantic… and of course, songs I can translate because I feel like it.

Boy, will I get my ass kicked for this one.  Here we go!

TRANSLATION 1. I remember a Gary Granada concert back in college, where Gary lamented the old McDonald’s commercial featuring Noel Cabangon’s “Kanlungan.”  Gary Granada also made headlines with that TV commercial jingle, so I guess that I’ll probably get a whoopin’ for a katuwaan less-than-perfect translation of “Kanlungan.”

Crib

Translation of “Kanlungan” by Noel Cabangon

It takes some time for chances to pass
Can we ever bring back the past?

Do you still remember the day
When you and I met for the very first time
A time for young and sweet love
As we were surrounded by blooms in the gardens
There we started it all
We started to dream and to rhyme

Do you still remember the day
When I carved that heart on the mango tree
And my offering of hibiscus
We walked hand-in-hand together on the shoreline
We were free as birds then
We remember the days that went by

All the trees and plants in the forest
Are married to our memories
As time goes by, I ask why
We have to part ways once again?

It takes some time for chances to pass
Can we ever bring back the past?

Now that you’ve come back again
I’m just as excited with what you’re feeling
To see that crib for another day
A home for our poems and old promises
Now it’s nowhere to be seen
Will we ever find it again?

Oh, time keeps passing on
It’s married to our memories
Like the flowers and the trees
Why do they all have to fade away?

It takes some time for chances to pass
Can we ever bring back the past?

Oh, time keeps passing on
It’s married to our memories
Like the flowers and the trees
Why do they all have to fade away?

It takes some time for chances to pass
Can we ever bring back the past?

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 2. Betraying age seems to be a theme for lyrics translations lately, but I like to think that I appreciate classic Filipino songs.  Translating “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” may seem to be disparaging the legacy of great artists like Lucio San Pedro and Levi Celerio, but I doubt it.  As an homage of sorts, here’s one of my favorite Filipino songs in… like, ever, translated.  I just hope I do it justice… although it does sound like rock.

Rockabye Lullaby

Translation of “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” by Lucio San Pedro and Levi Celerio

I hope memories don’t fade of days that have come and gone
When I was a small child, who’s cared for by my Mom
I hope that I can hear the songs from my Mother’s heart
Those heartfelt lullabies, from a cradle going rockabye

I hope memories don’t fade of days that have come and gone
When I was a small child, who’s cared for by my Mom
I hope that I can hear the songs from my Mother’s heart
Those heartfelt lullabies, from a cradle going rockabye

And in my deep slumber, ’till daylight that I sleep
My guards, the stars in the night, my safety they do keep
And when I’m with my Mama, the heavens are my life
A pain in my heart longing for cradles and rockabyes

I hope memories don’t fade of days that have come and gone
When I was a small child, who’s cared for by my Mom
I hope that I can hear the songs from my Mother’s heart
Those heartfelt lullabies, from a cradle going rockabye

And in my deep slumber, ’till daylight that I sleep
My guards, the stars in the night, my safety they do keep
And when I’m with my Mama, the heavens are my life
A pain in my heart longing for cradles and rockabyes

Oh once again I want to sleep, in my old cradle
Oh, mother…

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 3. Back in the days that I was protesting in the streets for things like fairness, justice, and freedom, singing was very important.  I decided first on making this translation to be a set on progressive activist music, but I’ll probably strike the ire of lots of peopleBut then again, there’s always something already commercialized to bastardize… I mean, translate.  Here’s something I’m sure you know.  (And just so you know, I picked this off my good friend and Palanca winner Bernadette Neri, who sang a Taglish variant of this song.)

Triangle

Translation of “Tatsulok” by Musikang Bayan/Buklod

Totoy, make it fast, as fast as you can run
Dodge what’s aimed at your head, those bullets and those bombs
Totoy, just make a leap, you may need to hit the floor
If you don’t watch out stray bullets may hurt you… or more…

Totoy just listen up, don’t stay out much too late
They may just find you out and kill you by mistake
Totoy do you even know, where it all began
This war and conflict that seems to know no end?

Yellow and red, no, they’re not the enemy
The color or the sign is not the reason, it won’t be
As long as the many just suffer in poverty
And justice is only for the ones who are wealthy

While there’s a triangle, so long as they are over
You’ll never see the end of this struggle

To try to save the breath of the greater many
What was once a green field’s is now a cemetery
Totoy, you better act, that triangle must be turned
And to the very top the poor for the chances they have earned

Yellow and red, no, they’re not the enemy
The color or the sign is not the reason, it won’t be
As long as the many just suffer in poverty
And justice is only for the ones who are wealthy

While there’s a triangle, so long as they are over
You’ll never see the end of this struggle

Yellow and red, no, they’re not the enemy
The color or the sign is not the reason, it won’t be
As long as the many just suffer in poverty
And justice is only for the ones who are wealthy

While there’s a triangle, so long as they are over
You’ll never see the end of this struggle

While there’s a triangle, so long as they are over
You’ll never see the end of this struggle

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 4. Every college student knows this song… except for those types who use “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance as a student protest song.  Of course, my song of choice for those purposes was “You Got To Fight For Your Right to Party” by The Beastie Boys.  Those translations can wait for another day, though.  Here’s a classic.

Schoolboy Blues

Translation of “Estudyante Blues” by Freddie Aguilar

They always seem to see me
They always seem to blame me
And everything just seems to be my fault

I wake up in the morning
I eat, they talk me down
Before I’m off to school that day

When I explain my story
They always get so angry
And I don’t know what to do

I follow their instructions
They never seem to listen
I feel hurt when I realize

That I don’t really have freedom
I follow whatever they say

I come from classes that day
I go back home right away
But nobody’s there waiting for me

I’m lookin’ for my mother
I cannot find my father
The only person there’s the helper

Then I call out my best friends
Go out with them for “errands”
And then we all end up in trouble

When I explain my story
They always get so angry
And I don’t know what to do

That I don’t really have freedom
I follow whatever they say

They always seem to see me
They always seem to blame me
And everything just seems to be my fault

That I don’t really have freedom
I follow whatever they say

They always seem to see me
They always seem to blame me
And everything just seems to be my fault

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 5. The thing with lyrics translations is that you can pull off just about any OPM song and make it sound like it sounds foreign, or take any foreign song and make it sound like it’s OPM.  So I tried playing around with some songs I have in my playlist, and found something that can definitely pass off like it was sang by Creed.  You probably know what it is by now.

Challenges

Translation of “Pagsubok” by Orient Pearl

I know your mind is so confused
During those times you want to be happy
Why’s everything an obstacle
In that world that you’re moving in

Oh life is meant to be that way
Problems just won’t go away
Just plant it deep inside your heart
Oh you can do it…

Oh there’s defeat and there is doubt
They just keep messing up your thoughts
Those are the challenges you face
Don’t you ever give up the fight
Don’t you surrender… just keep on fighting

Don’t think that you’re the only one
Who’s fortunes dark unlike the sun
He’ll never turn His back on you
The Father who created me and you

You’re not the only one suffering
And you’re not the only one crying
Your pain will one day see its end
Oh you can do it…

Oh there’s defeat and there is doubt
They just keep messing up your thoughts
Those are the challenges you face
Don’t you ever give up the fight
Don’t you surrender… just keep on fighting

You’re not the only one suffering
And you’re not the only one crying
Your pain will one day see its end
Oh you can do it…

Oh there’s defeat and there is doubt
They just keep messing up your thoughts
Those are the challenges you face
Don’t you ever give up the fight
Don’t you surrender… just keep on fighting

Don’t you surrender… just keep on fighting

Oh there’s defeat and there is doubt
They just keep messing up your thoughts
Those are the challenges you face
Don’t you ever give up the fight

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 6. I have a soft spot for love songs, especially foreign ones I barely understand and I hear in karaoke.  I have a very, very limited grasp of Mandarin, but I managed to find pinyin and English lyrics translations for this song.  So I guess the logical step is to translate it to Filipino, and probably get these lyrics lifted off my nose so that Kim Chiu can sing it.  OK, here goes.

Puso Ko’y Tulad Ng Buwan

Translation of “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin” by Teresa Teng

At iyong tanong sa akin
Gaano kita kamahal
Pag-ibig sa ‘yo, tunay at totoo
Puso ko’y tulad ng buwan

At iyong tanong sa akin
Gaano kita kamahal
Di magbabago ang pag-ibig ko
Puso ko’y tulad ng buwan

Sa lambot ng ating halik
Puso ko’y kinikilig
Kay tagal ng pagmamahal
Hanggang ngayon ika’y hinihintay

At iyong tanong sa akin
Gaano kita kamahal
Iisipin mo, makikita mong
Puso ko’y tulad ng buwan

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 7. So me and a group of friends were having dinner some place and someone brought up the lyrics translation schtick I do here.  There was a rather interesting challenge posed: can I translate something that could be deemed untranslate-able?  Can I translate country music?  Of course I can.  You wanted country music?  Here you go.

Lalake’y Tindigan

Translation of “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette

Minsan mahirap maging babae
Mahaling tunay ang isang lalake
Ika’y may kalungutan, siya’y may kasiyahan
Sa bagay na di mo maintindihan

Kung siya’y mahal mo, patatawarin
Kahit di mo siya maintindihan
Kung siya’y mahal mo, sa kanya’y saludo
Pagkat siya ay lalake lang

Lalake’y tindigan
Bigay mong kamay mo sa kanya
Magbigay ng init sa kanya
Sa malamig na gabi at
Siya’y tindigan
Ipakitang siya’y mahal mo
Bigay mo lahat ng pagmamahal…
Lalake’y tindigan

Siya’y tindigan
Ipakitang siya’y mahal mo
Bigay mo lahat ng pagmamahal…
Lalake’y tindigan

*     *     *

TRANSLATION 8. All lyrics translations I make these days have to involve either something profoundly stupid, or I go through the challenge of something completely untranslate-able.  I’m working on a few, but if I’m out to prove anything, I ought to prove that no song in the world cannot be translated from Filipino to English, and English to Filipino.  Here goes!

5, 6, 7, 8

Translation of “5, 6, 7, 8” by Steps

Simulan ninyo, bilangin nyo
Lima, anim, pito, walo

Nakabotas kong giliw, ako ay nababaliw
Kagustuhan mula Kanluran, ang isasayaw ko
Pang-rodeo na Romeo, manrarantso paa hanggang ulo
Maging akin ka, pumila ka
Lima, anim, pito, walo

Sipa paa, pumitik na
Sampal balat, at palakpak
Galaw tadyang, sa awit ko
Tuhod sakong daliri ng paa mo
At sa sahig, at ‘yong paa
Laking ngiti, gumiling na
Lakas apak, kayod talon
Nadulas pa, kaya halina

Nakabotas kong giliw, ako ay nababaliw
Kagustuhan mula Kanluran, ang isasayaw ko
Pang-rodeo na Romeo, manrarantso paa hanggang ulo
Maging akin ka, pumila ka
Lima, anim, pito, walo

Tulak ang pwet, paa kulog
Rancherang pilipit, walang pilit
Tambol kabog, metal tunog
Dalawang apak, bawat dulo
Sahig gapang, apat na pader
Basahan putol, rantserong lakad
Nasunog na, gumiling pa
Isang ulit pa, sumayaw na

Nakabotas kong giliw, ako ay nababaliw
Kagustuhan mula Kanluran, ang isasayaw ko
Pang-rodeo na Romeo, manrarantso paa hanggang ulo
Maging akin ka, pumila ka
Lima, anim, pito, walo

Great!  Now I’m bored again.

1 comments on “Lyrics Translations: Of Love, Politics, and Dance”

  1. Pingback: Music Class: Freddie Aguilar | seekknowledgeeveninchina

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