Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vuelta a la Escuela

The title of this blog means "back to school" in Spanish. That's because a recent blog pertaining to our translation of a song into Spanish yielded some feedback from Spanish speaking readers that was very educational.

We're learning more about differences between languages.

To start with, there are at least four ways to say "back to school" in Spanish. 
"Back" can be "vuelta," "retorno," "regresso" or "volviendo." With two of those, we can see the similarity to English words "return" and "regress." 

"Back" is one of those simple monosyllabic Anglo-Saxon words that can mean many things, which is part of what gives the English language its power. Finding the equivalent expression in Spanish involves a discussion about nuances of meaning. 

The previous blog on our Spanish translation mentioned that WannaBeatle David's dad, Reinaldo, is a professional translator. During the time David and I worked on "Si Puedes Amar," it became apparent that Senor Toledo enjoys the role of a teacher. David called him several times during the session to check on certain phrases.

When I spoke with him on the phone, he started quoting from the instruction manual he had written on proper pronunciation of Spanish. He made it very clear that Spanish vowels are very consistent: A is always pronounced "ah," E is always pronounced "ay," etc. 

This information impressed me that Spanish is more logical than English, at least in that department. 

On the other hand, Spanish has all those accents, which of course are completely missing from English.

When I typed a version of "Si Puedes Amar," I had ignored the accents, (mostly due to lack of keyboard options,) but that was a big mistake.

Here's what Señor Toledo says: 

Sí, meaning 'yes' must be always accented on the i.  Thus it becomes an adverb of affirmation.  But si, meaning 'if' is written without the accent mark and it is a conjunction.  So, they are two different animals, not the same.  

Also, ‘más’ is an adverb of quantity, meaning ‘more.’   But ‘mas’ is a conjuction, meaning ‘but.’  So, there you have it.

THE ACCENT MARK IS A MUST IN SPANISH, NOT AN OPTION.  Many, many Spanish speakers make the mistake of leaving it out.  For instance: 'mi' is a possessive pronoun: but 'mí' is a pronominal which generally follows a preposition.  Thus, we say 'mi corazón' (my heart), 'mi casa,' (my house), but 'para mí,' 'en mí,' ‘de mí,’ and so on.

Here are his comments on the verb we changed in the bridge, which led to a new rhyme scheme.

As to 'están' or 'estén,' the proper language should be 'estén', for it is in the subjunctive mood, which in Spanish indicates doubt or uncertainty.  But 'están' is not incorrect in popular language.

Here's the corrected text of the song:

Si Puedes Amar
Tengo adentro una canción,
Que guardo en mi corazón,
Con verdad y libertad
Soñaré lo que será.

La niñez no se debe negar
O el nuevo día temer enfrentar.
Si tú das más, en vez de tomar,
Verás al mundo que vas a crear.

(Coro)  Si puedes amar,
Si decidimos amar,
¿Cómo será para ti, y para mí?
Cuando al comenzar
A vivir y amar
Nada faltará jamás,
Si puedes amar.

Yo sé, no soy primero en esta canción,
Pero a este fin quiero ayudar de corazón.
¿Y quién soy yo para ignorar
Lo que se debe ver, 
Si tan cerca estamos de lo que hemos de ser?

(Puente) Por los que hoy llorando están,
  Y el amparo no les dan,
  ¡La vía es el amor!

Once again, gracias to David and his dad for giving us a quality translation. Our apologies for the typographical errors that created problems in the Spanish version. 

We will be happy to report on the progress of "Si Puedes Amar" and all other efforts to reach out to audiences beyond those who understand English. 

Bloggin' Bryan

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