ES > EN: Suéltalo

Following my parallel translation of the Catalan version of Let It Go, I bring you the Castilian Spanish version, also performed by Gisela.

(I feel it is necessary to point out here that Gisela, besides being the Spanish and Catalan voices of Disney, also did this in Eurovision. Enjoy!!!)

Spanish version

English translation

English version

La nieve brilla esta noche aquí más The snow shines here tonight once more The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Ni una huella queda ya Not a footstep remains now Not a footprint to be seen
Soy la reina en un reino I'm the queen in a kingdom A kingdom of isolation
De aislamiento y soledad Of isolation and solitude And it looks like I'm the queen
El viento aúlla y se cuela en mi interior The wind howls and seeps into me The wind is howling like the swirling storm inside
Lo quise contener, pero se escapó I tried to contain it, but it escaped Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried

I'd love to say something here about Spanish "aullar" being related to English "owl", but the truth is, the relationship isn't entirely clear to me. What does seem indisputable is that "aullar" and "ululation" share an etymology. "Owl" may have derived from a similar Proto-Germanic imitative word with the same meaning, but that doesn't mean they came from the same root. I haven't seen anything to definitively link Proto-Germanic *uwwalon- with Latin ululō.

Spanish version

English translation

English version

No dejes que Don't you let Don't let them in
Sepan de ti Them know of you Don't let them see
Que no entren Don't let them in Be the good girl
Siempre me dijo a mí [He] always said to me You always had to be
No has de sentir, no han de saber You must not feel, they must not know Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Ya qué más da It doesn't matter now Well, now they know

Fascinating that the Catalan version uses "sempre em deia a mi", the imperfect, while the Castilian Spanish version uses the preterite. As any student of Spanish knows, "siempre" is supposed to be used with the imperfect, not the preterite!

Well, to tell you the truth, it's probably not that fascinating. I'm thinking it's probably because of stress patterns. Translating a song imposes a certain stress pattern on your lines:

[beat] | Sem- | -pre em | dei- | -a a | mi (Catalan, imperfect)
Siem- | -pre | me | di- | -jo a | (Spanish, preterite)
You | al- | -ways | had | to | be

Below, I've typed up the Catalan periphrastic preterite and the Spanish imperfect forms. Bold indicates where the stress needs to fall to work with the song, italic indicates where the stress would naturally fall when spoken.

[beat] | Sem- | -pre em | va | dir | -me (Catalan, periphrastic preterite)
Siem- | -pre | me | de- | -cí- | -a a | (Spanish, imperfect -- behold, an extra syllable!)
You | al- | -ways | had | to | be

(Yes, the stress should fall on "siem-" and not "-pre", but given how quick that note is, I guess we can let it go.)

The above is brought to you by the Department of Fuzzy Logic, also known as the Ministry of Making Stuff Up. I really have no idea why "siempre" is used here with the imperfect, and how grammatical it is.

Spanish version

English translation

English version

Suéltalo, suéltalo Let it go, let it go Let it go, let it go
No lo puedo ya retener I can't keep it in any more Can't hold it back any more
Suéltalo, suéltalo Let it go, let it go Let it go, let go
Ya no hay nada que perder There is nothing left to lose now Turn away and slam the door
Qué más da, ya se descubrió What does it matter, it's been discovered I don't care what they're going to say
Déjalo escapar Let it escape Let the storm rage on
El frío a mí nunca me molestó The cold never bothered me The cold never bothered me anyway

I persist in translating "ya" as "now" in some places, even though it's rather unnecessary: what's the difference between "there's nothing left to lose" and "there's nothing left to lose now"? I guess I translate it because I like to account for as many words as possible from the original, and also because, as I mentioned in the Catalan translation, "ya" reminds me of Singlish "already".

Spanish version

English translation

English version

Desde la distancia From the distance It's funny how some distance
Qué pequeño todo es How small everything is Makes everything seem small
El temor que me aferraba The fear that used to grip me And the fears that fears once controlled me
No me va a hacer volver Is not going to come back Can't get to me at all
Soy libre y ahora intentaré I'm free and now I'll try It's time to see what I can do
Sobrepasar los límites To overcome the limits To test the limits and break through
Ya no hay más reglas para mí There are no rules now for me No right, no wrong, no rules for me
¡Por fin! At last! I'm free

There's that imperfect again, which I've again rendered as "used to" + verb.

I think what's most striking about this passage is how little information is conveyed in Spanish compared to English. Spanish seems to require about twice as many syllables to say the same thing as English, so Spanish translations sometimes have just half the information of the English original.

You see that a little bit here: the first line loses "it's funny how", and the second loses "makes". Catalan, which unlike Spanish has many lexical monosyllabic words, matches English's transmission of meaning practically syllable for syllable in these two lines.

Spanish version

English translation

English version

Suéltalo, suéltalo Let it go, let it go Let it go, let it go
Que el frío reine ya Let the cold reign now I'm one with the wind and sky
Suéltalo, suéltalo Let it go, let it go Let it go, let go
No volveré a llorar I'll never cry again You'll never see me cry
Aquí estoy y aquí estaré Here I am and here I'll be Here I stand and here I'm staying
Déjalo escapar Let it escape Let the storm rage on

Eh, I don't have much to say about the above. Moving on.

Spanish version

English translation

English version

En las entrañas de la tierra puedo entrar In the bowels of the earth I can enter My power flurries through the air into the ground
Mi alma crece y hace espirales sin parar My soul grows and makes spirals endlessly My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around
Y un pensamiento en mí surgió y cristalizó And a thought surges and crystallises in me And one thought crystallises like an icy blast
Ya no regresaré I'll never go back now I'm never going back
El pasado ya pasó The past has already passed The past is in the past

This part is really fun to translate in any language, because there's a lot of room for imagery. Unfortunately I feel this Spanish translation falls a bit flat here. Flurries and spiralling are two really strong, movement-oriented verbs. The Spanish version trades the verbs for powerful nouns: entrañas and espirales, but nouns can't drive a sentence like verbs can.

I so, so wanted to stick "endless" before "spirals", for "[my soul] makes endless spirals", but "sin" + noun and "con" + noun phrases generally correspond to adverbs in English, so again, to expose the nuts and bolts of the language, "makes spirals endlessly" it is. It does sound much better in Spanish than it does in English, I promise.

Spanish version

English translation

English version

Suéltalo, suéltalo Let it go, let it go Let it go, let it go
Subiré con el amanecer I will rise with the dawn And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Suéltalo, suéltalo Let it go, let it go Let it go, let go
La farsa se acabó The farce is over That perfect girl is gone
Que la luz salga otra vez Let the light come out again Here I stand in the light of day
Déjalo escapar Let it escape Let the storm rage on
El frío a mí nunca me molestó The cold never bothered me The cold never bothered me anyway

The purist in me wanted to translate "se acabó" in the same tense as it is in Spanish: "[it] ended", "[it] finished". That's not realistic, though -- "se acabó" really means something more akin to "that's it", "that's all". So, "the farce is over" it is.


This post is part of the Parallel Translation series, where I translate things that have been translated from English into other languages back into English. It's my idea of fun. Yes, I'm a riot at parties.