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Translated Cover Version
A subtrope of Cover Version, or occasionally Covered Up for songs which are translated into a different language.

Examples

  • After The Fire's "Der Kommissar" is an English cover of a German song originally done by Falco. The title is the only part that wasn't translated.
    • Not quite. "Alles klar, Herr Kommisar?"
  • Christina Aguilera, Nelly Furtado and Shakira have all recorded several of their singles both in English and in Spanish (and in Shakira's case, Portuguese).
  • The Beatles did a German cover of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" called "Komm, gib mir deine Hand," and "She Loves You" as "Sie liebt dich."
  • The David Bowie song Heroes has been done in three languages, the original English, in German as Helden and in French as Heros.
    • Supposedly, Bowie was to record a version of the song in Spanish, but to no avail.
  • "Gloria" by Laura Branigan was originally an Italian song by Umberto Tozzi. Branigan's version isn't a straight cover, though; her Gloria is a lonely, promiscuous loser and the lyrics are sarcastic and contemptuous, while Tozzi's original gushes almost worshipfully about a woman who is waaaaay out of his league.
    • Tozzi also did his own English version.
  • Stef Carse, a now-forgotten French-Canadian country singer, had a one-hit wonder in the early 1990s with a French rendition of "Achy Breaky Heart" called "Achy Breaky Dance", dance moves included.
  • Petula Clark translated many of her English-language songs into French, Spanish and Italian. "Downtown" is the best known of those.
    • On a related note, "I Will Follow Him" is an English cover of Petula Clark's French-language song "Chariot".
  • Phil Collins translated and sang his own songs in French.
  • Every Disney song is translated into around 20 languages each, and some languages have more than one translation, to accomodate local variation.
  • The Electric Banana Band wrote an English version of their song 'Banankontakt', lampshading it in a recorded conversation on the record: "We can't sing in Swedish anymore, because that's dorky."
  • Morning Musume's "Summer Night Town" originally done in Japanese but was then covered by label mates Coconuts Musume in translated into English, barring part of the chorus.
    • Kusumi Koharu's "Koi kana" becomes Laura Vanamo's "Se tunne". That's not Japanese, that's Finnish!
  • "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (aka "Wemaweh" and "In the Jungle") was originally a Zulu pop song from South Africa — which caused some controversy (years later), as the original writer and performers got no credit for the cover and never saw a cent from it.
    • The english version was later adapted in French - under the title "The Lion Died Tonight". Okay...
  • The original "Macarena" was in Spanish. A popular version exists with English lyrics.
    • Also "Aserejé" ("The Ketchup Song"), by Spanish group Las Ketchup, which also has a Brazilian Portuguese cover.
  • Nena's "99 Red Balloons" is an English-language cover of her own German-language song "99 Luftballons". The English release 45 had the German version as the B-Side.
    • Oddly, Goldfinger's cover, while the rest of the song is in English, uses the German fourth verse, which was translated into the English third verse, so one verse ends up being completely left out. The fourth verse contains a line about jet pilots comparing themselves to Captain Kirk, so it could have been left out for copyright reasons.
  • Argentinean bands Renacer and Tren Loco, who have covered several English-language songs in Spanish, such as Metal Gods, Reckoning Day and March of Time in the case of the former, and The Hellion/Electric Eye and Train of Consequences in the case of the latter.
  • "Solo Le Pido a Dios" by Argentinean singer Leon Gieco has been translated by several other artists and groups into different languages, as well.
  • The Police did a cover version of "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" in Japanese.
  • "Ue wo muite arukou" ("Sukiyaki") by Kyu Sakamoto (1963) was covered in translation by A Taste of Honey (1981).
    • The original Japanese song was about a man wandering while looking up and whistling so that his tears wouldn't fall. The lyrics of A Taste of Honey's English cover had little to do with the original's.
  • Take That recorded a Spanish version of "Love Ain't Here Anymore".
  • The Spanish band Loquillo y los Trogloditas translated Johnny Cash's "The Man in Black" as "El Hombre de Negro".
  • Tino Casal's "Eloise".
  • Siniestro Total's cover of "Sweet Home Alabama", "Miña Terra Galega" (although this one has lyrics about the Galician diaspora).
  • Scott Walker sang several of Jacques Brel's songs in English in the 60s, though he didn't translate them himself. Perhaps the most famous is "Amsterdam," also covered by David Bowie.
    • "Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks, a #1 US hit in 1974, has the same tune and is very loosely lyrically related to Jacques Brel's "Le moribond."
    • All the songs in the Jukebox Musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris are English translations of Brel's songs.
  • La Frontera's cover of "Viva Las Vegas" and Mikel Erentxun remaking The Smiths' "There is a light that never goes out" as "Esta luz nunca se apagará".
  • Laibach have translated some songs into German: "Sympathy for the Devil" as "Sympathy for the Devil (Dem Teufel Zugeneigt)", Queen's "One Vision" as "Geburt einer Nation" and Opus' "Life is Life" as "Leben Heißt Leben".
  • The Four Seasons' "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)" was covered in French by Claude François as "Cette année-là". Subverted in that, although it is a foreign language cover, it's not a translation; the lyrics of François' version are about his own life.
    • This was very common in the 60s, especially with Claude François. For example, François's successful "Belles Belles Belles" was an adaptation of "Girls Girls Girls (are made to love)" by the Everly Brothers where most of the lyrics were changed to keep the "ringing" sound of the original. And Sinatra's "My Way" is "Comme d'habitude" with different lyrics.
    • François' cover of The Four Tops' "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," J'attendrai, is a relatively faithful translation.
  • Ben Folds has covered his own "Song for the Dumped" in Japanese. Naturally, the swearing remains in Gratuitous English.
  • Funimation does this quite frequently on their anime dubs. Fruits Basket, Detective Conan and Ouran High School Host Club, for just three examples, all include English-dubbed covers of their original themes.
  • Lvzbel did a whole Cover Version Album which contained only Judas Priest's spanish-translated covers. It backfired.
  • Sixpence None The Richer covered their hit "Kiss Me" in Japanese.
  • For The Pixies cover of "Evil Hearted You", originally by Graham Gouldman but Covered Up by The Yardbirds, Black Francis translated the lyrics into Spanish. Slightly less clumsy than his regular Spanish, too.
  • Avril Lavigne covered her song "Girlfriend" with the chorus translated to several other languages.
  • Cantonese anime dubs will occasionally come with a dubbed version of the opening theme. Examples include Doraemon, Ranma ½, Fullmetal Alchemist and Saiunkoku Monogatari.
  • German singer Juliane Werding has done a number of translated covers, including The Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Am Tag, als Conny Kramer starb), Mike Oldfield's Moonlight Shadow (Nacht voll Schatten), and Nik Kershaw's Wouldn’t It Be Good (Sonne auf der Haut)
  • Abba recorded Spanish versions of many of their songs, including a Spanish album called "Gracias Por La Musica" and a few songs that replaced album tracks in Spanish territories. Later a compilation album, Oro, was produced to collect them (15 in total). Their native tongue is Swedish but only their earliest singles have Swedish versions.
    • They also recorded a "Blind Idiot" Translation of "Waterloo" in French which is honestly So Bad, It's Good. "Waterloo! Je vais constituer ta prisonnière!"
    • They also recorded "Ring Ring", "Another Town, Another Train" and "Waterloo" in German. The reason they did this was that they were aiming for a European market who wouldn't necessarily speak English. As it happened, German fans already liked the English versions and they didn't bother doing any more after that.
      • They wrote Ring Ring deliberately around this trope - the title phrase is onomatopoeic and so can be used no matter what language the song is translated into.
  • O-Zone's "Dragostea Din Tei" has been covered in so many different languages, the translations have their own section on the song's Wikipedia entry.
    • There are multiple covers of it in (at least) English, French, Dutch, and Hebrew.
    • There are two Japanese covers, and three Chinese covers.
  • Songs To Wear Pants To did an English cover of the Utada Hikaru song "Blue".
  • One Jonathan Coulton fan translated "Re: Your Brains" into the French "Re: Vos Cervaux". Jonathan has since recorded it and performed it live.
  • Franz Ferdinand did a German cover of their own song "Tell Her Tonight," featuring drummer Paul Thomson (who usually doesn't sing at all) on lead.
  • Blumchen's "Ich bin Wieder Hier", although not a translation, uses the tune of Rozalla's "Everybody's Free". Conversely, she recorded English versions of two of her own albums under the alias Blossom.
  • "Hot Limit" ("We Drink Ritalin") by John Desire is a Gratuitous English Eurobeat cover of a Japanese song by TM Revolution. Conversely, many Eurobeat songs have been covered in Japanese.
  • "I Will Go With You" by Donna Summer is an English rendition of "Con Te Partirò" (Time to Say Goodbye) by Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman.
  • Gloria Gaynor recorded a Spanish version of "I will Survive" called "Yo viviré".
  • A tradition for popular French songs of the 60s. Gilbert Becaud's "Nathalie" was translated in German, Spanish... Johnny Hallyday's "Que je t'aime" even got a Japanese version.
  • Germany has an impressive track record for recording German versions of popular pop songs - be they British or French. Basically all French hits of the 60s were translated and either sung by their original artist or by German cover artists. A good number of covers of American songs were produced in East Germany, because the government saw it as the only way to prevent young East Germans from coming into contact with subversive, capitalist songs.
  • Freestyle artist Angelina did an English cover of Paradisio's "Bailando", as well as in the original Spanish.
  • "Around the World" (2000) by German group ATC is an English cover of "Pesenka" (1998) by Russian group Ruki Vverkh.
  • According to the other Wiki, "Just a Gigolo" was originally an Austrian song about a hussar reduced to making a living as a hired dancer, "a poetic vision of the social collapse" of Austria after World War I. The English translation removed the historical context and social commentary. It wasn't originally done by David Lee Roth either, but that's another trope.
  • Wanted is directed by a Russian. Thus the end credits song "The Little Things", by Danny Elfman, received a Russian version, also sung by Elfman.
  • "The Girl From Ipanema" (also a case of The Cover Changes The Meaning).
  • A few Super Sentai series have English versions of the theme songs. Most are sung by different people, usually ones who speak English, but the Seijuu Sentai Gingaman English version was sung by Masato Shimon, the same as the Japanese version.
  • Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" has been covered in Japanese by Hitomi Yaida. While the translation is mostly faithful to the original, all references to the singer having a job/being the breadwinner while her husband is unemployed have been taken out — which slight alteration completely changes it from a song about a girl from a poor neighborhood who dreams of better things but ends up singlehandedly supporting a good-for-nothing husband to a song about a girl who dreams of an exciting life but ends up playing housewife to a salaryman husband who's never home.
  • France Gall's Eurovision Song Contest winning "Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son" was self-covered in Japanese as "Yume Miru Chanson Ningyou".
  • Sandie Shaw did the same with "Marionetas en la cuerda", her spanish version of "Puppet on a string"
  • Mike Oldfield's much-covered "Moonlight Shadow" has a Spanish cover by Marcela Morelo and a Russian one by Miriada.
  • Chilean singer Salomé Anjarí's entire body of work is Spanish-language covers of Japanese pop songs.
  • There is an album of various Japanese artists covering Simon & Garfunkel, mostly in Japanese.
  • On a tribute album to Japanese singer Mariya Takeuchi, Lisa Loeb covered one of her songs in English.
  • Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. have many of their songs in both English and Russian, including "Ya Soshla S Uma"/"All The Things She Said", "Nas Ne Dagoniat"/"Not Gonna Get Us", and "Lyudi Invalidy"/"Dangerous and Moving". However, some of their songs have only ever had English lyrics. Do not attempt to search for the "original Russian" versions of "He Loves Me Not" or "All About Us": they don't exist.
  • Japanese duo Puffy Ami Yumi have done many English versions of their songs to put on the North American releases of their albums, including "Asia no Junshin"/"True Asia", "Akai Buranko"/"Red Swing", and "Violet"/"Love So Pure". They have also done Japanese version of their English theme songs for Cartoon Network shows, such as Teen Titans (the Japanese version was played as the opening of the particularly silly episodes) and their own Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.
  • This is extremely common in Korean pop music.
    • SHINee has done this a couple times-"Juliette" is taken from Corbin Bleu's "Deal With It", "Love Like Oxygen" was originally "Show the World" by Danish X-Factor winner Martin Hoberg Hedegaard, and "Hello" was from "Holla" by J. Cates.
    • Girls' Generation's "Run Devil Run" is from a Ke$ha demo that was later released as a bonus track on her debut album.
      • They have also done this with their own songs, as part of their forays into J-Pop with Japanese covers of some of their more prominent singles like "Genie", "Gee", and even "Run Devil Run".
    • Dong Bang Shin Ki's "Mirotic" was Sarah Connor's Under My Skin
    • f(x) 's "Danger" is from Kristine Elezaj and "Hot Summer" was from Monrose.
    • BoA has sung a bunch of songs in Korean, Japanese and English, even a few in Chinese.
  • Manowar released their song Father in 16 LANGUAGES.
  • The Carpenters performed a cover of "Sing" in Japanese.
  • Dschinghis Khan did an English version of their German song "Moskau". It takes quite a few liberties with the original, but keeps the overall theme intact. They also translated their self-titled song as "Genghis Khan".
    • French musician Georgie Dann did a spanish version of "Moskau" called "Moscú", and spanish singer Iván covered "Dschingis Khan" as "Sin amor".
    • Japanese pop group Berryz Kobo, meanwhile, has done a Japanese cover of Dschinghis Khan's self-titled song.
  • Caramell, after the Caramelldansen Vid craze, in addition to English and German cover versions, did a Japanese version of Caramelldansen based on mondegreens of the original lyrics. The sequel single, "Boogie Bam Dance", was also recorded in multiple languages.
  • Vive le Vent is a popular French and Canadian song sung to the tune of Jingle Bells but explicitly about New Years and Christmas (unlike Jingle Bells which was originally about Thanksgiving).
  • Smokey Robinson did a Spanish version of "Being with You."
  • Cartoons made two cover of their "Witch Doctor" (already a cover of a David Seville song): one in Spanish named "Hombre Mago" (which means exactly that), and an Italian one, "Tutto passerà".
  • "Sugar Baby Love" by The Rubettes has a Japanese cover version by Yoko Ishida, which was used as the opening song for A Little Snow Fairy Sugar.
  • Spanish band Los Bravos wrote at least one song in English, "Black Is Black", which became a big hit in the English-speaking world, it was also a top seller in French when Johnny Halliday covered it as "Noir C'est Noir".
  • The theme tune to Plants vs. Zombies has three versions, the original English, a Japanese version both done by Laura Shigihara and a Spanish version.
  • Hong Kong singer Faye Wong did a Cantonese version of Tori Amos' "Silent All These Years".
  • Ben E. King's R&B classic "Stand By Me" was rewritten by Italian singer Adriano Celentano as "Pregherò" (I Will Pray), a love ballad that borders on Christian Rock to the point that Celentano performed it in 1995 at a command performance for Pope John Paul II's 75th birthday. Spanish rocker Bruno Lomas did a spanish version called "Rogaré" (it also means I Will Pray).
  • Yusuf Islam has taken in recent years to performing his classic song "Wild World" with the lyrics in Zulu.
  • This Japanese cover of "Smoke on the Water", which uses traditional Japanese instruments as well as translated lyrics.
  • Susan Boyle's "Wings to Fly" is an English cover of "Tsubasa wo Kudasai," originally performed by Japanese pop band Akaitori in the '70s, and also featured in several anime such as Rebuild of Evangelion and K-On!
  • Beatallica, a band whose gimmick is doing Beatles songs In The Style Of Metallica, have an entire album's worth of translated versions of their "All You Need Is Love" parody "All You Need Is Blood". They essentially got international fans of the band to translate the lyrics into their language and also had them write them out phonetically so the singer could better pronounce them.
  • Björk's Old Shame debut included Icelandic covers of Stevie Wonder's "Your Kiss Is Sweet" and The Beatles' "The Fool On The Hill".
  • Peter Gabriel re-recorded the vocals of his third self-titled album and Security in German, calling the results Ein Deutsches Album and Deutsches Album.
  • Similarly, the entirety of David Lee Roth's Eat 'Em And Smile was translated into Spanish with re-recorded vocals by Roth himself as Sonrisa Salvaje (which actually means "Wild Smile").
  • "Jai Ho", a Hindi song by A.R. Rahman, featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire, was covered in English by the Pussycat Dolls.
  • Kate Ryan recorded "Scream for More" in both English and French.
  • Luna Sea's Ryuichi Kawamura recorded an album of standards with new Japanese lyrics.
  • Dir En Grey's "Dozing Green" and "Glass Skin" were released as singles in Japanese, but appeared on their Uroboros album in English. The original Japanese versions were included as bonus tracks.
  • There are English cover versions of Rammstein songs such as "Amerika".
  • Sting re-recorded several of his songs in Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Peter Schilling's sole hit, "Major Tom (Coming Home)", was originally recorded in German as "Major Tom (Vollig Losgelost)".
  • Covenant's "Der Leiermann" uses the tune of "Like Tears in Rain" with the lyrics of a German art song.
  • Toy Story 3 ends with a Spanish-language version of Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me", performed by the Gipsy Kings.
  • Basshunter's "Boten Anna", in addition to the English bastardization "Now You're Gone", was covered by himself in German, and by Gebroeders Ko in Dutch, with the lyrics parodized to be about a boat named Anna.
  • Lucas Prata, with the help of former O-Zone member Dan Balan, recorded an English version of "Dragostea din Tei"(aka "Numa Numa") titled "The Ma Ya Hi Song", which in turn was gender-flipped by Alina as "When you Leave (Numa Numa)". Balan also recorded an Ascended Meme version titled "Sugartunes (Numa Numa)".
  • Brazillian musician Seu Jorge recorded five Brazilian Portuguese versions of David Bowie songs for the soundtrack of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (which are sung by his character in the film). Said songs (along with 7 more translated covers) were eventually released in the album The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge.
  • Alla Pugacheva's "Million Roz" was originally a Latvian song called "Davaja Marina" sung by Aija Kukule.
  • Fanny Brice's Signature Song, "My Man," was a translation from the French of "Mon Homme," which was associated with Mistinguett.
  • "Sobakasu (Freckles)", the theme song to Rurouni Kenshin, has two English cover versions, one by Sandy Fox for the English dub of the show, and another by the Danish Eurodance artist Tiggy, which appeared in the Dance Dance Revolution series.
  • Kaya has a whole EP of classic chanson songs translated into Japanese.
  • In a somewhat bizarre example, Japanese band Versailles initially recorded their song "Love will be born again" in English; the Japanese version (which also turns the song from a soft ballad to a Power Ballad) didn't come until a year later.
  • The Japanese musician Beni has recorded several English covers of famous Japanese songs, such as "One More Time, One More Chance", the Real Song Theme Tune from 5 Centimeters per Second.
  • "The Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)", from the Czech "Škoda lásky".
  • International singing star Nana Mouskouri recorded many songs in a remarkably wide range of languages ranging from her native Greek; to English, French, Spanish, and German; to Maori and Turkish; even Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes even switching languages in the same song — For example, in her rendition of Welsh folk song "Ar Hyd Y Nos" ("All Through the Night") she the first verse in the original Welsh, then immediately follows with the English translation).
  • "La Mer" by Charles Trenet, which was covered in Italian, Dutch and most famously in English as "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin.
  • Connie Francis has done covers of some of her songs in multiple languages such as Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, and Romanian. Aside from English, she was fluent in Spanish and Italian; the other languages she learned to sing phonetically. Other artists did covers of one of her songs in Finnish, Swedish, and Portuguese. The song "Strangers In The Night", which was originally offered to her but was first recorded by Frank Sinatra, was later recorded by her in Spanish. She sang English covers for songs such as "Never On Sunday", "Solamente Una Vez (You Belong To My Heart)", "Al Di La", and "La Vie En Rose" with some of the lyrics in the original language.
  • The Grass Roots song "Let's Live For Today" is a cover of the Italian "Piangi Con Me" by The Rokes (who, ironically, were an English-speaking British group residing in Italy)
    • For added translation fun, the song was ALSO a Japanese hit by The Tempters under the title "Kyō Wo Ikiyō".
  • "I Love You" by The Zombies was covered in Japanese by The Carnibeats as "Sukisa, Sukisa, Sukisa". Ironically, the original verson was only released in Japan AFTER, to cash in on the cover.
  • Quite common with the Brazilian artists - to the point some of the first rock hits were Portuguese versions of Bobby Darin and Connie Francis. For a few standout cases, Os Paralamas do Sucesso translated their songs into Spanish once they saw a surge of popularity in neighbor Argentina, one of the first hits of Skank (one of the artists in The Police tribute above) was a Bob Dylan version, and Nenhum de Nós' Signature Song is a version of David Bowie's "Starman" (a phonetic one that turns Bowie's words into Word Salad Lyrics).
  • There was a tribute album to L'arc~en~Ciel with mostly English language covers of their songs by artists such as TLC, Daniel Powter, Vince Neil, Orianthi, Boyz II Men, and more.
  • The Speed Racer theme is a translated version of the original Mach Go Go Go! theme.
  • Lots of italian singers have covered their hits in spanish: Adamo, Adriano Celentano, Franco Battiato, Eros Ramazzotti, Nek...
    • But very few spanish musicians have self-covered their songs in italian. The most popular cases are those of Miguel Bosé (son of italian actress Lucia Bosé) and Mecano, a pop group who also sing in french having a number one with "Une femme avec une femme", their french version of "Mujer contra mujer".
  • Alex Megane has German versions of some of his singles, such as "Atemlos (Beautiful Day)" and "Gefühle (One Million Feelings)".
  • "You're the One That I Want", from Grease, has a Brazilian Portuguese cover done by sibling duo Sandy & Junior, the Sandy in question being named after the movie's Sandy.
  • Jackie Chan performed both Mandarin and Cantonese covers of "I'll Make a Man Out of You". The Mandarin cover can be found as a special feature on Mulan DVD's.
  • They Might Be Giants recorded a Greek version of their song "Number Three". Despite Linnell's claim to one-eighth Hellenic ancestry, actual Greek speakers were not complimentary to his pronunciation of the translated lyrics.
  • "(Theme from) The Monkees" was translated for some other countries where the show aired. The Italian version, "Tema Dei Monkees", was released on a rarities compilation.

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