Translation of Hymns

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KGBurton
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Translation of Hymns

Postby KGBurton » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:48 am

I was recently made aware that most of the hymns in our hymn book are available only in a very few languages. Most languages have a very small subset of the hymns.

The reason is that it is very expensive and time consuming to translate hymns and the Church puts their resources on higher priority projects.

What is the chance of having an "open source" effort to translate the hymns into all languages? Perhaps like a Wiki where it can be a collaborative effort?

I suspect that the translation department isn't exactly thrilled about "uncontrolled" translations, but maybe we could provide them with a running jump at the rest.

Ken

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Postby jbh001 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:27 pm

I think the translation of hymns is likely one step down from translating the scriptures as far as making sure the translation is as correct as possible. Most translations of the scriptures are done by a committee of translators to assure that the thoughts and concepts are rendered as closely as possible in the target language.

Translating lyrics adds a significant level of complexity because not only must the concepts be rendered in the target language, they must also match the musical structure and phrasing of the hymn. Additionally, some idioms just don't translate well or have equivalents in the target language. For example, I'm still trying to find an equivalent for "feeling blue" in Spanish. The closest concept is "to be melancholy," but that just doesn't have quite the same connotation, not to mention its poetic unwieldiness.

Having said that, if you want to take a crack a translating hymns and submit your translations to the Church, I think that is a worthwhile effort. Just don't be surprised if your submission doesn't become the final product.

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:50 pm

Translating lyrics adds a significant level of complexity because not only must the concepts be rendered in the target language, they must also match the musical structure and phrasing of the hymn.

We are living in a real world with is limits and imperfections.
I can assure you that some Italian Hymn Translation is bad in both, word and tempo (primerly saying in "cadenza").
If you know italian, or know some who know it, get it a look, there are also theological mistakes on it!
Open "source" doesn't mean "uncontrolled ". This forum is open!
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).

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MorettiDP
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Postby MorettiDP » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:15 am

I can't see doctrinal problems at Brazilian 1990 edition of Hymns, but some translations are far different from the original English translation. The English original is more beautifull and spiritual than Portuguese.
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Postby JamesAnderson » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:59 pm

The tempo part for Italian is easy, if you know classical music, you can usually find the equivalent, since most serious music uses the Italian tempo/dynamic names and they are widely understood in the more serious music community.

So if you want to say something has a spirited feel and is on the fast side, you say 'Allegro con spirito' and everyone knows what you mean in Italian.

In other languages outside of English it can be tricky as well between languages when discussing tempos and feeling.

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mfmohlma
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Postby mfmohlma » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:48 am

MorettiDP wrote:I can't see doctrinal problems at Brazilian 1990 edition of Hymns, but some translations are far different from the original English translation. The English original is more beautifull and spiritual than Portuguese.


I have noticed as well that the Spanish hymnbook sometimes lacked the same "depth" as the English meaning. The real problem is that you have to fit the meaning into the same number of syllables. From what I know of Spanish and Portuguese (and what my wife tells me about Japanese), these languages require significantly more syllables to convey the same information. For this reason, you have to simplify the message and try to retain the same essence.

I would imagine this becomes a sticky situation for General Conference translations where the speaker quotes from a hymn and is trying to convey a certain meaning which may or may not exist in different translations.

gddrew-p40
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Postby gddrew-p40 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:59 am

oregonmatt wrote:I would imagine this becomes a sticky situation for General Conference translations where the speaker quotes from a hymn and is trying to convey a certain meaning which may or may not exist in different translations.


It absolutely does. I translate for my ward and I usually ask for the talks in advance so that I have time to prepare the translation. Nothing is quite as frustrating as not getting a talk ahead of time, and then the speaker gets up and recites a poem! Add to that the fact that it takes in the neighborhood of 30% more words to express in Spanish an equivalent concept in English, coupled with the speed with which the average person in New Jersey speaks and, well, it just ain't pretty. :)

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:36 pm

My english is too bad to explain exactly what I mean with "cadenza".
As you know, words and stuff has an "accent".
In some italian hymns they don't match so we have difficult to sing and understand too.
For "doctrinal mistakes" I can quote one for all:
"O my Pather" ("Padre mio").
There is is a sentence saying that the "human thougth say that we DON'T have only one parent in heaven, but the real reason say that we have a mother there". (?) Maybe not a mistake but a nonsense!
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:39 pm

marianomarini_vi wrote:"O my Father" ("Padre mio").!

Father not Pather, of couse.
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:40 pm

Tonight I'm very tired! (of course).
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).


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