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Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Work [2]

Read part one here | Read part three here

For the last few days I have been translating the lyrics to Tarkan's 2007 album Metamorfoz into English.

To start with, I had scribbled down some notes to a few favourites from initial impressions of the songs to publish a few months later, but after receiving mails that numbered into the hundreds requesting my translations, I decided that I should take a look at Tarkan's song writing abilities a little closer.

There are many competent people out there in Turkish language social groups and Tarkan fan forums that have probably translated all the lyrics by now, and much better than I could ever do. However, I also know how difficult the task is, as this is Tarkan's sixth Turkish language studio album I'm translating into English. So I appreciate and support everyone that has made attempts to get fans closer to Tarkan's songs, and I hope that my translations will help ease their load in some small way.

More Than Just Language

I've always held it's a flimsy claim that a translation would come out the same, irrelevant of whom translates it. Even in the same language, two artists can sing the same song and give it totally different meanings. As a result of the ambiguities of the Turkish language, translating Tarkan's songs need more than just a competent level of English and Turkish, (including slang, sayings or other expressions); it needs an understanding of the artist's own interpretation, too.

In translating Tarkan's songs my aim has always been two-fold; firstly to convey the clear meaning of what the song is about, and then as close as possible to get the non-Turkish listener to actually feel what a listener with a good grasp of the Turkish language might feel when they listen to the songs.

I have to say that this last week I've really enjoyed translating the lyrics to Metamorfoz. It's certain that Tarkan has learnt a lot from working with Turkish female songwriters Sezen Aksu and Nazan Öncel in the past, and the change and development from his first album to Metamorfoz is a great one.

To have such well crafted and deep lyrics filled with nuance and meaning come out of a pop album is rare. Add to that a back-drop of smoothly arranged music, and Tarkan's own vocal interpretation, it has been a pleasure to do. I hope that comes across in the reading of the translations.

In my humble opinion, Tarkan has proven his song writing abilities without a shadow of a doubt. I explain more in the translation notes provided with my translations posted at Tarkan Deluxe's sister blog Tarkan Translations.

<< Read more about The Metamorphosis of Tarkan

Translation Notes

Each of my Metamorfoz English translations are presented with translation notes to show the reasoning behind my choice of words, and to further help get the meaning of the song across.

Another reason for detailed translation notes are to aid those learning Turkish, as I've received many mails over the years expressing thanks as they have used my works as a "first-step" to understanding the language better.

In addition, I know in nearly a decade of translating Tarkan's song lyrics, one or two fans have taken my works as a template, swapping a few of the words and distributing them without crediting me. To aid them this time round, in the translation notes I've also given alternative meanings and words that they can use to get around my work's copyright. If people are going to steal, I thought at least I could help them remove absurdities that arise when they just swap one word for another found in an online or paper dictionary.

Having completed the translations, they will be publicly available for everyone of every calibre to view freely for their personal use as long as they want. It is the nature of sharing; in making sure those deserving benefit from your hard work, you have to understand that those possibly not-so-deserving will benefit, too.

Those that don't have much of a conscience in regard to such matters, I leave to divine justice to sue.

All I've ever asked is for people to put their hand on their hearts and think before taking my work and using it beyond my required intention, which is for the personal use of non-Turkish speaking fans to get closer to the meaning in Tarkan's songs.

And to that aim, I hope I have gone some way in all these years of service to achieve it.

Repaying Loyalty

In getting the most out of the translations, I suggest loading Tarkan's tracks up on an iPod or some other such digital music player, or at the very least putting on some headphones, and follow the lyrics as you listen to each song. Think of it as audio subtitles for the soul.

That idea came from a friend; the same one who has befriended me during my work, making helpful comments and suggestions and has been "testing out" my translations to Tarkan's lyrics. To her, as to all those readers that have stuck by me and this blog, I am eternally grateful.

I want to reward that loyalty; not a loyalty to me, but the loyalty they have shown to their own hearts and minds, by not giving up on what they believed in simply because of what others might sayI want to reward that loyalty; not a loyalty to me, but the loyalty they have shown to their own hearts and minds, by not giving up on what they believed in simply because of what others might say. I want to repay the loyalty that readers have shown to this blog by constantly logging in every day, even when for months in 2007 I had been away on a unique holiday.

A loyalty that unites the like-minded towards doing the right thing, to moral normalcy and truth, to just plain old goodness.

To that end, before everyone does so, I want them to be the first to benefit from my work, because they are the most deserving. To that hundred or so faithful, I am going to email username and password details, so that they can be the first to access the translations and get that much closer to Tarkan's songs.

For these translations are as much a product of their enduring kindness, as they are of my small skills.

Track progress updates: 1 | 2 | 3

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