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What does Taylor Swift sound like in German? – Übersetzgesungen Episode 2 Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Language, Music, Uncategorized

Hey guys! Übersetzgesungen is back with another Germanized version of a song originally in English. This time I decided to try my hand at translating Taylor Swift, who, as it turns out, is much wordier than Simon & Garfunkel. I learned a lot, you know, in trying to capture, like, the vibe of the song. Viel Spaß! (Oh, und einen großen DANKE SCHÖN an Dinah Rothenberg, für ihre Hilfe bei der Übersetzung! Ich hätte es alleine nicht machen könnnen.)
  • I remember when we broke up the first time – Als wir uns trennten zum ersten mal

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d have to omit significant pieces of the lyrics in order to fit all the German syllables into the rhythm of the song. “Ich erinnere mich daran” just doesn’t roll off the tongue like “I remember”. (After this, I’m amazed I managed to fit into the last Übersetzgesungen!) So my translation actually means, “When we broke up the first time”.

  • Saying, “this is it, I’ve had enough,” ’cause like – Und sagten, “hey das war’s jetzt echt, ich hab wirklich genug,” ich meine

Here I had the opposite problem and was forced to add words to match the song. And so we have jetzt, and echt, and wirklich, meaning “now”, “seriously”, and “really”. And technically, ich meine means “I mean” and not “’cause like”. ‘Cause like, there’s not really a translation for “”cause like”. Seriously. Look it up.

  • We hadn’t seen each other in a month, – Wir hatten uns seit Wochen nicht gesehen

This line almost translated directly. I had to swap “a month” for “for weeks” to make it fit.

  • When you said you needed space – Als du meintest, “ich brauche Raum.”

What’s the difference between sagen and meinen? I’m not quite sure, but it sounded better here.

  • What? – Was?

Alle lieben diese Teil, oder?

  • Then you come around again and say – Und plötzlich kommst du wieder und du sagst

I had to heighten the drama by using plötzlich, which means “suddenly”. “And suddenly you come gain and say”.

  • “Baby, I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change, trust me.” – “Baby, ich vermiss dich und ich schwör ich werd mich ändern, vertau mir”

A perfectly smooth translation!

  • Remember how that lasted for a day? – Weisst du noch, das hielt ja bloß für einen Tag?

Do you guys know the word bloß? It’s an alternative to nur, which means “only”.

  • I say, “I hate you,” we break up, you call me, “I love you.” – Ich sag, “Ich hass dich,” wieder Schluss, du rufst an, “Ich liebe dich.”

Here’s another smooth translation. When people break up in German, they refer to it as Schluss machen. To make an ending. So wieder Schluss means “ending again”.

  • We called it off again last night – Wir machten gestern wieder Schluss

I couldn’t find a good equivalent expression for “We called it off”, and so here we have Schluss machen once again. But this time it’s in the past tense, hence the “t” in machten. – We made ending again yesterday.

  • But this time I’m telling you, I’m telling you – Aber dieses Mal, ich sag dir was ich sag dir was

You can’t just say “ich sag dir” for “I’m telling you.” It’s gotta be Ich sag dir was, I’m telling you something, I’m telling you something.

  • We are never ever ever getting back together – Wir werden niemals niemals niemals wieder zusammen kommen

My translation literally means “We will never ever ever come together again.”

  • You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me – Geh halt sprich mit deinen Freunden, meinen, oder mir

This is one of the first lines I translated. It turns out to be a good use of the dative case. Be sure to add an “n” to the words that come after mitAnd “geh halt” is a good expression too. It basically means, “just go.”

  • Like, ever. – Also, niemals.

Seriously.

  • I’m really gonna miss you picking fights – Ich werd’s vermissen, wie du Stress anfängst

This line had to change, as “picking fights” isn’t really a thing in German. But it seems like in Germany people in relationships are always dealing with Stress in their Beziehungen. And so “starting stress”, as Taylor would accuse her ex in German, is pretty much the same as picking a fight.

  • And me falling for it screaming that I’m right – Und wie Ich mitmach und ich schreie, “Ich hab Recht”

Again, “falling for it” didn’t translate very easily. The word I chose is mitmach, which means “go along with”. Also, Ich hab Recht means  “I’m right”, though grammatically it looks more like “I have right.” I can’t help but notice how similar this is to the Spanish way of saying “I’m right”, “Tengo razón.” That literally translates to “I have reason”. I wonder what that says about American culture vs. European culture. “Right” is apparently something that we are, whereas for them it’s something that they have.

  • And you would hide away and find your peace of mind –  Und du ziehst dich zurück um deine Ruhe zu finden,

My translation here is more like, “And you pull back to find your quiet”.

  • With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine – mit irgendso eine Indie-Musik, die ja so viel cooler ist als meine.
  • You call me up again tonight – Du rufst mich heute wieder an
  • I used to think that we were forever ever – Damals dachte ich, das mit uns wär für immer, immer
  • And I used to say, “Never say never…” – Und damals sagte ich, “Sag niemals nie…”
  • Uggg… so he calls me up and he’s like, “I still love you,” And I’m like… “I just… I mean this is exhausting, you know, like, we are never getting back together. Like, ever” – Und gestern ruft er mich schon wieder an um zu sagen “ich liebe dich noch” und boah eh langsam wird es mir echt zu anstrengend, weisst du? Ich meine, wir werden halt einfach nie wieder zusammen kommen. Also niemals.

And here is my best attempt at sounding like a German twenty-year-old girl who’s sick and tired of her ex-boyfriend.

  • No! – Nein!

There you have it! What do you think? Should we start a petition to have Taylor Swift release an album of all German songs? Thoughts in the comments, please.

Auf wiedersingen!

Mickey

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About the Author:mickeymickey

Mickey was born in 1987 in Chicago, IL. He plays the oboe and loves Calvin & Hobbes. His favorite Beatles song is "Something", but his favorite Beatles album is A Hard Day's Night.


Comments:

  1. Pius:

    enjoyed your effort.

  2. charles Laster:

    amazing how well that went ‘over’ in german!

  3. Ana:

    Hallo Jan!gefelt mir Sehr alles was schreist! ich lerne deutch und du motivert mich noch zu lerne die Spreiche. Vielen danken von Berlin…

  4. Anne:

    I love this! Its always a treat to hear German!!!!

  5. V:

    haha Awesome! keep at it! 😀

  6. j:

    cause like – “weil halt”. works 🙂