08 August 2010


So... I just found out Avril Lavigne *groan* recorded the chorus of this Girlfriend song *GROAN* in a bunch of different languages.  It´s just about 24 seconds in each language, but GAH she sounds like she´s purposely trying to pronounce the words as terribly as possible.

My only guess is that this did not go over well considering I never heard about it until now--when I was looking up Shakira translations for the Waka Waka post.

There are two videos I want you to watch.  The first is a short clip of her talking and setting the scene for how terrible this whole project is going to sound.  The second--if you can stomach it--is 25 seconds or so in each language, with subtitles, back to back.

As far as pronunciations go, I think the Mandarin and the Portuguese sound especially terrible.  In the initial video she says she´s going to record  French, Portuguese, German, Hindi, Italian, but in actuality they nixed the Hindi and added Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

Even though I don´t speak all these languages, it´s pretty obvious someone in charge of this project said, "ok, we want literal, exact translations as much as possible" as opposed to coming up with translations that capture the meaning, if not word for word.

HOWEVER, some translations are straight up WRONG.

  • In Spanish, instead of saying "I know that you like me" she says "I know that I like you."
  • In Italian she says "I don´t love your girlfriend" instead of "I don´t like your girlfriend" (which is a throwback to this post).
  • In Chinese she says "You´re not a secret."
  • In Japanese she uses "that girl" instead of "girlfriend."

I just wonder who they got to do these translations? and what kind of language coaches?  and why they failed in even translating correctly?  Even MTV was able to assemble a ragtag team of foreign language experts to have a panel discussion about this project.*  If MTV could do it, why couldn´t Avril?

I don´t even know what the purpose of this all really was, aside from a way for Avril to have fun... in which case I guess she didn´t really care too much about the accuracy either.  Whatev.

*Watch the video of the panel discussion here.

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