How I learned the magnificence of Bangla through lyrics translation

Collage consisting of Bangla alphabets, an album cover, and guitar amidst other elements.
Design: Abir Hossain

Our life is ever-developing where both our stories and the characters involved progressively figure out what the hidden trophies are. Although we are familiar with many facts surrounding us, there are times we get to truly witness and understand the truth behind these facts. Like an epiphany, a realisation – it's an overwhelmingly fascinating feeling that leaves you bewildered.

For me, one of these moments of epiphany was viewing Bangla through an unfiltered lens.

Even though I was always aware that my mother tongue is, in fact, beautiful. However, the time I felt those sentiments creeping up my bones and reaching my heart was when I began translating Bangla songs to English.

Music has always been a fascination of mine, regardless of the language. Bangla songs were no different, with Level Five's "60's Love" and Arekta Rock Band's "Eden" earning unrelenting appreciation from me.

These particular songs astounded me so much that I couldn't help but recommend them to a friend of mine who lives in the US, someone I confide in about my favourite music. They wanted me to translate the songs into English so they could understand the song and its artistry. I, unentertained by my boredom, accepted this small favour.

Little did I know that translation, something that I've detested doing in my early teens, would generate an awakening inside of me.

Starting off with "60's Love", I estimated it to be fairly easy to translate while judging it with my instincts. However, the song, even with a total of only 14 lines (with three of them repeated twice), took me over half an hour to fully translate.

Initially doubting my rusty skills, I took the liberty to attach the notes of the true themes and origins behind some words. After sharing the lyrics, my friend was awestruck at how lyricism across languages can be so differently coordinated, to which I agreed with wholeheartedly. But something in me felt amazed at how Bangla itself could encompass different expressions so intricately.

Next, I went ahead with Eden. A much trickier case of translation for a novice like me. Even with a head start from my first attempt, I was struggling miserably to pick out the right words, since the exact translation of some of the lyrics failed to capture the true essence of those lines.

After a session of studying and research, I presented the translation to my friend with essential footnotes in under an hour. As usual, they were pretty delighted to have understood the song's sentiments. We then talked about wanting to learn more languages to understand them properly as well.

Looking back, I felt a bit apologetic towards them, for I was fortunate enough to understand the songs up-close and personal.

I think that's when I felt the epiphany hit me. Bangla isn't just any language out there. It's the language that has greeted me at the earliest and has stayed with me as a companion throughout the years. To me, Bangla is a simple & unveiled language built on an unexplored river of sophistication. It emulates so many expressions, straight from our thoughts and deeds, without feeling complex.

Like a mother, Bangla has eased our challenges. She has taught us how to properly imitate our minds through words and expressions with her presence. And as thankful as I am to have beheld her glory through lyric translations, I can't but yearn for the time more people realise her magnificence in their own welcoming ways.

Shaikh Sabik Kamal was found utterly lost in his attempt to write out a proper blurb. Consider helping him out at [email protected]


ওবায়দুল কাদের
২৮ মিনিট আগে|রাজনীতি

নিরপেক্ষ সরকার নিয়ে বিএনপির সঙ্গে আলোচনা হবে না: ওবায়দুল কাদের

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