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cairaguas in songlations

Return from hiatus, now Dr. Cairaguas

Okay, I am here again! Hello! I apologize for the 1 year break. It is my longest break since I started translating. I have been translating songs since high school all the way through graduate school (about a decade). It became a well-ingrained habit to put aside some time every week to work on Songlations. My last year of graduate school was very busy, but I still had enough translation drafts saved up that I was able to maintain a regular update schedule until my last semester, when I had to take a long break to write my dissertation and look for jobs. I naively assumed I would still have some free time for myself, but nope. Writing a PhD dissertation and finding a job ended up consuming ALL my free time.

After graduating, I moved to a new city, started work in a new field, and had to get acquainted with my new surroundings. Once things started to settle down, I noticed these problems: (1) I still do not have much free time due to my long commute, (2) translating is no longer a habit, and (3) I really depleted my translation draft reserve last year, so I can't just jump back in at the regular schedule.

I started working on translations again during the summer. Slowly, very slowly, I have been populating my draft folder with files that move through a few different stages:

(1) A song title, artist name, and YouTube link. [What I make when someone requests a song.]

(2) A transcription of the Spanish lyrics, checked for errors and typos and missing accents, then broken up into short stanzas. This stage is a limiting step for a lot of songs, especially songs with fast or muffled lyrics that don't have good transcriptions online. I run this file through my Perl program to add capitalization and basic HTML formatting. [Note to self: update the resources page with the newer Perl script.]

(3) A quick draft translation that I type while listening to the music. This part is fun. I finish most of the song here, but highlight difficult and complex lyrics for later review.

(4) A more nuanced and careful analysis of the song. Here, I look up words, names, and concepts in dictionaries, thesauri, Wikipedia, newspapers, and sometimes historical or fictional books. I try to find English equivalents for Spanish idioms. If the lyrics make oblique references to events or people, I hunt down more information and look for any music reviews that I can reference to support my instinct. If a line can be translated multiple ways, I mentally debate which translation is best and which translation will be relegated to the notes. This work takes a while, but it is intellectually stimulating and I like it. This translation stage is what usually gets me everything from high praise to vehement disagreement in the comment sections. Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux songs take a lot of work here.

(5) Final formatting. I look up the album information, add the YouTube embed code, write a little something for the introduction, and add HTML code for special characters so they don't show up as boxes.

I have made enough progress that I am resuming Songlations updates. Finally! Updates won't be as often as they used to be. I still have a long commute, unfortunately, but I expect to post every 2 months at least. It will probably be better than that. Subscribe to me on Twitter, Facebook, or by RSS for updates.

Lastly, when I came back to Songlations, I found a lot of spam comments. I have deleted them and temporarily turned off anonymous comments. I will allow comments without sign-in again in a few months. Please bear with me.

Thank you for reading. Send in lots of song requests, multiple song requests, notices of defunct YouTube links, comments, suggestions, and more song requests.

Sincerely,
Cairaguas Gonzalez, PhD (yeah!)
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January 2017

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