Songs you wish rhymed/could be sung the same in English?

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Novice The Lexophilac Chanteuse
Joined: 10.02.2018
Pending moderation

Hi everyone! I'm new here so excuse me if my post breaks the rules or doesn't belong here or something.

My new "thing" is translating lovely foreign-language songs into English, so that they rhyme and can be sung in English and sound good. I don't speak other languages extremely well, so I have to rely on other people's translations to understand the real meaning of the song. But I like the challenge of creating clever wordplay and good-sounding alliterations while preserving the original rhythm and meaning of the song.

Do you guys have any song ideas for me to take a whack at? Here's the first one I did, a translation of Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose. I'd especially love to do some more standards and old songs.

I'm quite proud of it. I'm open to constructive criticism but I might cry if you roast me 'cuz I thought it turned out purty good.

Super Member
Joined: 15.12.2017


I was thinking about this issue these days... Making the translation rhyme and sound like the original is quite challenging... I also deep in myself want to make the translation rhyme as much as the original, but I mostly sacrifice that so that the person who requested the translation gets it faster.

I did translate one song from Croatian to English while keeping the rhymes and word plays because that was the nature of the song. However, I think keeping the syllable count (closely) equal, too so the song can be sung in English would have been an impossible mission. If you can do it, then I admire you! Teeth smile

This is the song I mentioned above
So...take a whack at it if you'd like. Teeth smile To any language you prefer.

Super Member
Joined: 02.01.2017

Well I sometimes do rhymed translations. I gathered mine in this collection

Most are from spanish to english

Editor ֍ Ironic Iron
Joined: 20.11.2016

Most of my RU-EN and some EN-RU translations are equirhythmic and rhymed (i.e. optimized for singing), as noted in the comments. You are welcome to try it (it's a lot of work), but don't think for a second that your efforts will be appreciated by many here.

Moderator and Incorrigable
Joined: 03.06.2016

Possible prospective...

There should to be some other indicator other than "______ Translation".
This may cause confusion with people surfing the web or anyone with a less than proficient knowledge of the languages involved. Perhaps, "________Variant" (or "_________ Interpretive", 'Poetic Cadence', or 'Singable')"
There is the concern too that it is possible for the variant versions to outnumber the translation versions. There are several songs with an abundance of same language translations as is. Poetic license can stray quite far if left unregulated.
The original artists too may or may not take offense? That may be a personal issue to them. It is something to consider with original works.

Editor and cheeky nitpicker
Joined: 14.09.2013

I've posted a comment to your translation with a couple of remarks.
I rather admire people who can pull that kind of trick, I only dare try it very occasionally.
The vast majority of "popular" translations simply reflect the popularity of the songs, but don't go thinking nobody on this site cares about creativity. The Internet just isn't the place where talent can prevail over mediocrity, that's all Regular smile

If you're interested in French chanson, you might want to browse through Juliette Gréco's repertoire. She covered a lot of famous singers from the 50's to the 70's, besides singing original songs.

Senior Member
Joined: 23.01.2012
Editor ֍ Ironic Iron
Joined: 20.11.2016

Some time ago I suggested the following classification system for translations, based on their quality:
L. Literal (no form enhancements, as close to the original as possible)
A. Adapted (including line order changes, translated idioms, language-specific stylistic touches, meaning clarifications, etc.)
S. Singable (some rhythmic inconsistencies are present in translation and/or the original, but they don't interfere with singing)
E. Equirhythmic (the same number of syllables per line, preserving original rhythmic meter with natural syllable stressing)
Rhymed (R) and Poetic (p) are separate translation attributes (Yes or No markers). "Rhymed" and "Poetic license" markers can be added if warranted but only to S and E categories since it does not make sense to rhyme or use poetic license in literal or adapted translations. In the end, every translation would be classified (by the author or editors) as:
L, A, S, S-p, SR, SR-p, E, E-p, ER, ER-p
so that the reader could immediately know what to expect or what to request.
A separate stand-alone category is poetic translations (rhymed or not), in the form of poetry written to a different fixed meter unrelated to the source. These can be marked as P and PR translations.
The L→A→S→SR→E→ER rating progression would indicate the increasing translation difficulty and presumably its quality, provided the true meaning and context of the original are preserved. ER translations fully preserving the literal and implied meaning of the lyrics are the ultimate goal. Improper grammar, slang, archaisms, etc. are acceptable in S and E translations but only if they are present in the original. Bending grammar rules just to make a translation singable should be discouraged. Attempting to rhyme L and A translations is futile, however it is a personal choice. Translations marked with "-p" suffix would immediately tell the reader that the translation, no matter how pretty, used poetic license and as such may not be true to the original and may not serve as a reference for translations into other languages.
Let LASER be your guide in breaking language barriers.
Regards, St.

Moderator / hippie-abraça-árvore
Joined: 30.04.2014

Here a user who makes singable translations / versions in Spanish:

He always mentions it in the submitters comment section.

Joined: 02.04.2017

I love this idea; and separate translations of each type could be maintained on the site. Plus, it has a cool name: The LASER classification system. Haha.

Precisely because there are users who nitpick about the LITERALNESS of translations, I have been hesitant to make even the types of changes that you classify as "adapted." I doubt that I'm the only one who feels this way, and as a result, many translations are stilted at best, if not completely garbled by too much adherence to the literal meaning.

Editor and cheeky nitpicker
Joined: 14.09.2013

I also think a broad categorization system would be a great addition.
That could include people translating for educational purpose (learning or improving their language skills), which is perfectly ok but is bound to produce rather unreliable translations.

Joined: 03.12.2013

@ Wilfred: Too much adherence to the literal meaning of a text simply kills it. I've made a 'singable' version (in Dutch) of Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" - all I can say about it is that in my Dutch version I think I did not stray from what CP expressed in his clever lyric. "Put in your own words what you've understood from a foreign text." Arguable? No doubt about it, but I'm attracted to that idea …

Novice The Lexophilac Chanteuse
Joined: 10.02.2018

I have only made 1 post so far, but I had the same thoughts as you, that a completely accurate (though unrhyming) translation has merits that deserve to be more visible than a more artistic interpretation. Considering this, I subtitled mine [Rhyming Translation for Singers] and mentioned in the description it was a looser translation. Preserving the original meaning closely is important to me, although sometimes wordplay and colloquialisms and such cannot be translated.

Ultimate poetic license in reinterpretation of a song generally is a good thing, I think (compare Grace Jone's La Vie en Rose to the original to Iggy Pop's, for example), and results in unlimited creativity, but for posting on a website like this where other people go to find translations, accuracy and respect to the original version is important.

Novice The Lexophilac Chanteuse
Joined: 10.02.2018

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading and gathering inspiration from your collection.

Novice The Lexophilac Chanteuse
Joined: 10.02.2018

This is excellent, and I will be using your tags/labels on my future posts. Vote St. Sol for Admin 2018!!

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