The Linguistic Reason Why Translating a Song Into Another Language Sacrifices Its Meaning for Melody

In a guest video on Tom Scott‘s channel, Alex of PlayTheMind explains why translating original songs into other languages presents a challenge in terms of the timing, meaning, cadence and tempo, explaining the concept phonology.

When dealing with any song translation, there’s a conflict between the meaning of the lyrics and the way they sound when spoken. If you were to translate a song purely based on you would end up having lyrics with beats following on syllable. …And who’s to blame for making song translations so darn complicated? It’s phonology. The phonology of a language is like its musical DNA and it has a primordial influence on how the melody of a song gets written in a certain language.