17 April 2009
To serious poets, subtitling or dubbing music is a serious matter. One of the leading writers of the Philippines, Jose Lacaba, for example, has translated more than fifty English songs into Filipino. To people not in the arts, however, it is a joke. Here is a blog entry that evoked both serious and silly reactions: "Somebody with too much time on his hands has been taking up music videos in languages he does not understand, and adding subtitles in a language he does, and evidently people find the result hilarious. So, this idea is for a genre of music, which makes sense in two languages simultaneously. The meaning could be different, of course." One reaction goes this way: "Q: why do the French have only one egg for breakfast? A: because one egg is un oeuf." Here is an area of profit (since writers rarely make money from serious creative writing) for multilingual writers. Music companies might be willing to pay zillions for writers that can subtitle music, with the second-language lyrics matching the original score note for note, of course (in other words, you can sing the subtitles to the music).