Are you a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest? We had some friendly rivalry in our office last week as we have a few Europeans in our team! No one from the Netherlands though, so no outright winners this year.
Many Eurovision entrants sang in English, making it easy for viewers here to understand what they were singing about. However, some Eurovision songs are in the singer’s native language, making it quite difficult to understand the message of their songs!
At Comtec, we thought it would be fun to translate the titles of those Eurovision songs to give you an idea of what they’re about in English.
Here’s what they had to say:
Eurovision 2019 song translations
Albania: Ktheju Tokës
The English translation of Ktheju Tokës is “Return to your land” and this song performed by Jonida Maliqi is about emigration. Mostly, it’s a plea to Albanians who have left the country to return to “Ktheju tokës tende”, their homeland.
Bilal Hassani performed Roi at the Eurovision final on Saturday, the French for ‘King’. It’s a song about acceptance and being yourself, with the chorus:
Quand je rêve, je suis un roi
Quand je rêve, je suis un roi
The translation goes: “When I dream, I am a king”. Mixed up in the French lyrics, there are also a few English lyrics, such as “At the end of the day, you cannot change me, boo”.
Georgia: Sul tsin iare
This song was performed by Oto Nemsadze for Georgia, although it didn’t get to the final. Sul tsin iare translates into English as “Keep on going”. Oto Nemsadze was the winner of Georgian Idol, the top prize being a ticket to Eurovision.
Hungary: Az én apám
Hungarian singer-songwriter Joci Pápai’s song Az én apám translates into English as “My Father” and, as the title suggests, is about the singer’s father sharing childhood memories. It also includes elements of Hungarian folk music. Like Georgia’s entry, Az én apám, it didn’t qualify for the final.
Iceland: Hatrið mun sigra
Iceland’s entry performed by anti-capitalist, BDSM, techno-dystopian, performance art collective Hatari, translates as “Hate will prevail”. Arguably the most controversial entry this year and the song’s lyrics, imagining a dark future, are a reaction to the rise of populism in Europe.
Soldi is the Italian for “money” and is a song about the singer, Mahmood’s, experience of growing up without a father. The lyrics are a very personal story about his Egyptian father leaving home and only caring about money and having a good time. Although the song is in Italian, it also includes some Arabic lyrics to reflect Mahmood’s dual nationality and childhood. “Waladi waladi habibi ta’aleena” (my son, my son, darling, come over here) are phrases that the singer remembers from before his father left home.
Poland: Fire of Love (Pali się)
Poland’s entry sung by Tulia combined English and Polish and is a song about love. Its chorus is a heartfelt plea to be loved. Here’s the original Polish followed by an English translation:
Pali się! Pali się! Miłosny ogień
Płonie w nas, płonie w nas
Jak suchy las
Kochaj mnie! Kochaj mnie! Mocniej i mocniej
Na nic tu, na nic tu
Fire! Fire! Fire of love
It’s burning within us! It’s burning within in us!
Like a dry forest
Love me! Love me! More and more
There’s no need
There’s no need for a fire brigade
Conan Osíris sings about speaking to the dead on his “Telemóveis”, mobile phone, in this entry from Portugal. The lyrics are quite ambiguous. It’s not clear if he’s making a comment on technology or if it’s a song about loss. From a linguistic perspective, there’s an interesting use of the word “saudade”. This word is quite hard to translate accurately, although Google Translate says it should be “missing”. It’s one of those words that are more conceptual, evoking a state of nostalgia or melancholy for someone absent.
Kruna is Serbian for “crown”, but this isn’t a song about royalty. Instead, Nevena Božovic sings about love and a metaphorical crowning of the one she loves. Here’s how one verse translates from Serbian to English:
Kruna je tvoja
Želim da znaš
Da tebi pripada
The crown is yours
I want you to know
It belongs to you
Slovenian duo Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl sing about relationships and the bond between two people in this song. Sebi translates as “self”, as in “oneself” or “yourself”, such as in this translation of the chorus:
Vedno se ne vidi zvezd
sam ostani sebi zvest
ne govori mi oprosti
The stars are not always visible
Stay true to yourself
Don’t tell me to forgive you
Spain: La Venda
Spain’s Eurovision entry translates as “The Blindfold” and, like France’s “Roi”, it’s about accepting who you are and accepting each other. Singer Miki calls on everyone to be true to themselves and party!
Now you know the meaning behind the Eurovision songs, would that have changed your overall favourite?
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