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Poem as she is sing (Music)


  • Madonna's "Sorry" has the Dutch "ik ben droevig" in the intro, this is an incorrect literal translation of the title and actually means "I'm sad". A better translation would have been "Het spijt me".
  • The Spanish backing vocals in the latter half of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash are a hurried word-for-word translation of the corresponding English lines provided by the Ecuador-born mother of the recording engineer. This is particularly evident with "Should I cool it or should I blow?" translated as "¿yo me frio o lo soplo?", which is more like "Should I get cold or blow on it?"
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  • The band Clean Bandit are named after a Blind Idiot Translation for a Russian phrase meaning "utter bastard".
  • The title of the Reggae classic "Satta Massagana" by The Abyssinians is supposed to mean "give thanks and praise" in the Amharic language of Ethiopia. But the band members have admitted that they only had a passing knowledge of the language, and it turned out they got the tense, grammar, and spelling wrong. "Give thanks and praise" would actually be Misgana. Säţţä amässägänä literally means something like "gave praised".
  • Brazilian comedy singer Falcão covered the brega classics "Eu Não Sou Cachorro Não", "Fuscão Preto", and "Meu Cofrinho de Amor", intentionally translated to blind idiot English.
  • The music video for the "Chinese Food" by Alison Gold features subtitles in multiple languages, such as Spanish, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Hebrew. note  However, the many inaccuracies in the translations led many to believe that they just used an online translator and slapped the result onto the video uncritically. Here are some of them:
    • The Spanish subtitles for "and I'm getting, getting, getting, getting, grumpy, grumpy" literally became something along the lines of "and I'm getting, to get, to obtain, to get, grumpy-grumpy".
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    • The Hebrew and Arabic subtitles were spelled backward (both languages read from right to left).
    • The Danish subtitles apparently kept the bad grammar of the input text, i.e. "Its Chinese food, my favorite".
    • One of the subtitles even had an obvious "cuz". Apparently someone forgot to change that to "because".
    • The Chinese subtitles were probably some of the worst victims. "After balling, I go clubbing" apparently was written, "After becoming a ball, I go clubbing". Anyone who knows Chinese and has read the subtitles during the chorus can probably attest to them even being a Translation Train Wreck.
    • While there are numerous mistakes with the Russian translation, one is made consistently. See, in Russian, verbs take different forms depending on the gender of the sentence's subject. So, the Russian subtitles consistently imply that Alison is actually male (they use "progolodalsya" instead of the correct "progolodalas'".)
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  • Smokey Robinson put out a "Spanish version" of "Being With You," which came out much like the "Spanish Version" of Edward Maya's "Stereo Love" some 35 years later.
  • The Danish version of the song ''On the Road to Mandalay'' by Oley Speaks, with lyrics from the Rudyard Kipling poem Mandalay, is very popular in Denmark. However, when translating the line "Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?" the translator used the wrong Danish word for "paddle", thereby implying that the soldier and his Burmese girl made the trip from Rangoon to Mandalay in a kayak (instead of a paddle-wheel steamboat).
  • The popular English version of the children's song "Frère Jacques" mistranslates "sonnez les matines" as "Morning bells are ringing" instead of "ring the matins".
  • Google Translate used to have an error that rendered Κύριε ελέησον or Kyrie eleison, the name of a traditional prayer and hymn, as "Sir, take it easy," rather than the preferred translation "Lord, have mercy." The mistranslation was then performed and recorded by amused singers.
  • The title of the BUTAOTOME album まじっく・らんたん was somehow translated as "Magic Lanthanum" instead of "Magic Lantern".
  • a-ha's iconic Take on Me is a literal translation of the Norwegian expression for "touch". It means precisely nothing in English, but he's basically singing "touch me".
  • Soviet recording firm Melodiya did this fairly often when releasing Western songs. Examples include:
    • Boney M.'s "Daddy Cool" as "Calm Father", showing an obvious lack of familiarity with slang.
    • "American Patrol" was performed by a Soviet jazz orchestra as "The Watchman".
    • "From Souvenirs to Souvenirs" by Demis Roussos suffered from this because its translated name used the word сувенир, which, while a borrowing of "souvenir", mostly refers specifically to tourism souvenirs.
    • Creedence Clearwater Revival not only got their name chopped to simply "Creedence", but "Ooby Dooby" was titled "Joke Song".
    • British disco group Liquid Gold had its name interpreted as "Golden Rain". Not that big of a problem back then, but in modern day Russian this is used to mean, uh, "golden shower".
  • The French song "La goualante du pauvre Jean" ("the ballad of poor Jean"), most famously recorded by Édith Piaf, was given a What Song Was This Again? translation into English called "The Poor People of Paris". That's because the lyricist of the English version, Jack Lawrence, was told over the phone that the song was called "Pauvre Jean de Paris", but, having taken French in high school, Lawrence mistook it for "Pauvre Gens de Paris", since Jean and gens (people) are homonyms.
  • "Vielleicht Das Nächste Mal (Maybe Next Time)" by Rainbow was originally titled, "Vielleicht das Nächster Zeit (Maybe Next Time)". In German, both Zeit and Mal refer to time, but in this case Mal is correct for the intended phrase-"Maybe Next Time."
  • There is a memetically popular Russian gag cover of "Smooth Criminal" by someone known only as "Sosagan", which, along with generally making the song's premise very goofy, features a very literal translation of the title as "Even Criminality".

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