Thursday, December 20, 2012

Music: A Bridge in Crossing the Language Barrier


Globalization brings people from different cultures closer together. While the language barrier still exists, there are several things that make communication among people speaking different languages possible. Travelers would say that one must learn at least a few basic words and phrases to get by and the easiest way to do this is to buy a phrase book. Others might find the language interesting enough to enroll in language class before embarking on a trip to a foreign land. People wishing to settle, do business or study in another country where the language is different from what is normally spoken at home must engage the services of a document translation service provider to have their documents translated accurately.

How else can you make yourself understood when you do not speak the language of the country you are visiting.? Aside from the handy phrase book, you can use sign and body language; you can draw, use facial expressions, or ask the help of someone who is willing to translate for you. However, there is one universal thing that does not need to be translated in a language you are familiar with to be understood. It’s called music.

The Power of Music

Do you need to understand Latin, French or Spanish to fully appreciate the songs popularized by Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo? Of course not! It is because the music and the melody mesmerize and bring you to that level where you to enjoy the songs and arias, even without understanding the meaning of the songs. Josh Groban, a multi-awarded American singer, songwriter, actor and musician has songs in several genres including, pop rock and easy listening, yet he also dishes operatic songs such as Italian classics Alla Luce Del Sole and Gira Con Me Questa Notte.

UK-based Il Divo has multinational members. David Miller is an American tenor. Tenor Urs Bühler is Swiss; Sébastien Izambard is a French pop singer and baritone Carlos Marín is Spanish. Their group name Il Divo is Italian for “star.” The very popular group has hordes of fans around the world, enjoying their songs, which are in English, Spanish, French and Italian. Surprisingly, most fans will be able to sing their songs in the original language, even if these are not translated.

Such is the power of music. While some people appreciate having songs in a foreign language subbed in English or their own language, they actually do not need translations for the songs for them to understand and love the songs. Another concrete example is South Korean singer Psy’s Oppa Gangnam Style. It was first uploaded on YouTube on July 15, 2012. It had 500,000 views on its first day on YouTube. As of December 19, 2012, the video has already collected 988 million views. The phenomenal digital single, that pokes fun at the supposed lavish lifestyle of people living in the posh district of Gangnam-do in Seoul, South Korea reached the number one spot in the radio charts of more than 30 countries. It clearly shows that people may not understand what the song means for it to break language barriers. Just think, 48% of the searches for the song in YouTube come from people in South and North America as well as in Europe.

South Korea is a country that is making inroads into breaking the language barrier at a steady pace. While their major cultural export, their musical groups, still need to brush up on English, they are starting to conquer audiences in Europe, South America and North America, with sold out concerts where you can see the audience clearly singing the songs with Korean lyrics.

By: Bernadine B. Racoma
Editor, 
Day Translations, Inc.
“The most accurate translations on the planet!”


Photo Credit: Choir and Orchestra of the Munich University of Applied Sciences


1 comment:

Robert Thorne said...

No arguments here. Music's universal appeal is pretty obvious whenever I line up at the royal albert hall ticket office. I've seen someone from just about every race queuing up as well.