“Google Translate Sings”: Popular Songs Find New Lyrics

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June 2, 2014

In the middle of the seemingly endless Frozen-craze, my daughter found a smile-generating gem on You Tube that she has been quoting all week. Malinda Reese, a 19 year old performer, runs popular songs, like “Let It Go,” through up to fifteen versions of Google Translate. Then she sings the words as they read after being translated so many times.

I was actually surprised at how close to the original many of the songs stayed. If you’ve ever tried to translate idioms, you know that language can be tricky and phrases easily lose meaning.  In order to test the process, I put the phrase “These songs are great but I’m not sure the words translate well” into Google Translate.  After processing through Spanish, Arabic, German, Russian, Dutch, French, Welsh, Mongolian, Japanese, and finally back to English, it reads:

The song is great, I do not know the words.

Watching the words change from one language to another, especially the character-based languages, I can’t believe the words retained even that much meaning! Let’s see some of Malinda’s more entertaining song versions from her “Google Translate Sings” collection.

The One that Started It All– “Let It Go”

“Give up, Give up, tune in and slam the door. You do not care what you’re saying, let us very angry…”

The One that Plays on the Radio All the Time– “Royals”

“You can call me Queen, Baby I feel comfortable, I move, ruling majority, the life and vision…”

The One that Might Make You Tear Up- “One More Day

“Extra Day! Another day more revolutionary. We will stifle it in the embryonic stage.”

The One that Already Has Someone Trying to Remember English- “Part of Your World”

“You have scolded her daughter, you do not need to give. Bright young woman, from the disease of the sponge, and willing to stand!”

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