Despacito and Dr. Seuss

Nowadays, the song Despacito is probably as well known as Dr. Seuss. What you might not think about are the translation jobs that allow this information to circulate worldwide. People dedicate their lives to adapting and translating books, songs, and more into other languages, which takes time. For example, they say that Red Fish, Blue Fish took over a year to translate into Mandarin Chinese, mostly because Dr. Seuss had a habit of making up words: how do you transfer fictitious phonemes into another language? How do you make lines rhyme, when two words–directly translated–do not rhyme in another language?

And what about songs? How is it that the French, Russian, Arabic*, German, and Chinese versions of the Spanish song Despacito all have the same feel and sound? Granted, these are adaptations–as opposed to translations–but wow, right?! Search your language and cover of a popular song if you are interested (e.g., Google “Despacito French cover“). I have found Japanese covers of Taylor Swift songs and Adele’s “Hello” in so many languages, you would not believe me.

*Pro Tip: While I do not speak Arabic, for example, I am guessing that with 21 MILLION VIEWS, the translation is pretty good, or else a hilarious parody. Check the number of views if you want to ‘verify’ that it is a decent translation. This is not a foolproof technique, but it works for the most part.

And then, there is this… Siberian Despacito played with Russian folk instruments (article HERE). Wow.