Sunday, June 22, 2008

Translator? Not!

I like translating Tagalog songs into English. My first translations were of Eraserheads songs, done way back in my first year of high school; they were pretty bad, mostly because they were literal, almost word-for-word translations. At the time I didn't know this popular dictum: if a translation is beautiful, it isn't faithful to the original, and vice versa. A purist at heart, I unconsciously chose the latter, and wound up with clumsy English lyrics that were devoid of the charm of the original Tagalog. That this was so didn't matter to me, or maybe I was unaware of what a bad job I did; I was quite proud of those translations.

Fast forward to my (hopefully) last year in university. Friday morning, my roommate and I are sitting on her bed, watching MTV. Moonstar88's Migraine comes on; my roommate reaches for the remote, saying that the video's been playing all summer. Chunky yellow handwriting flashes on the screen like the opening credits of a movie; the band's female vocalist, clad in a knee-length dress with red printed flowers, her face obscured by the black angular frame of her glasses, is sitting on a wooden bench under a tree next to a young man in a pastel blue dinner jacket and a red bow tie, probably another band member. A bus stops in front of them; the young man takes his boxy red suitcase and gets on, while the girl remains sitting on the bench and watches him with a pleading look in her eyes. It's one of those videos whose ending you already know the minute they start playing. I must have been feeling sentimental - I might have been thinking of a certain well-known person whose name I shall withhold for the time being - I may have just liked the campy costumes and setting. Whatever the exact reason, I convinced my roommate to leave the remote alone, and we sat through five somewhat surreal minutes of girl-tries-to-get-boy-to-notice-her. Something in the song struck a chord in me, and I decided that I wanted to translate it into English. I hunted for an mp3 of the song and a copy of the Tagalog lyrics as soon as I could go online, and eagerly set to work.

Below are the original Tagalog lyrics and the English translation that I wrote. I tried to stay as close to the original wording as I could, although I couldn't avoid putting in some edits and paraphrases here and there to make the flow of the translation smoother. I also took a few liberties with a metaphor or two whose meaning I wasn't clear about... I hope I didn't misunderstand the song. ^^;

Migraine by Moonstar88

Oo nga pala, hindi nga pala tayo
Hanggang dito lang ako, nangangarap na mapa-sayo
Hindi sinasadya
Hahanapin pa ang lugar ko
Asan nga ba ako? andiyan pa ba sa iyo?

Nahihilo, nalilito
Asan ba ko sayo? aasa ba ko sayo?

Nasusuka ako, kinakain na ang loob
Masakit na mga tuhod, kailangan bang lumuhod?
Gusto ko lang naman, yung totoo
Yung tipong ang sagot
Ay di rin isang tanong

Nahihilo, nalilito
Asan ba ko sayo? asan ba ko sayo?
Nahihilo, nalilito
Asan ba ko sayo? aasa ba ko sayo?

Dahil di na makatulog
Dahil di na makakain
Dahil di na makatawa
Dahil hindi na...

Oo nga pala, hindi nga pala tayo
Hanggang dito na lang ako

Nahihilo, nalilito
Asan ba ko sayo? asan ba ko sayo?
Nahihilo, nalilito
Asan ba ko sayo? Aasa ba ko sayo?

English translation by Tina

I keep forgetting that we're not together
All I can do is hope to be with you
Unconsciously looking for my place
Where am I now?
Am I still by your side?

You make me dizzy, you confuse my mind
Where do you think I should be?
Should I put my faith in you?

My insides are churning, so much it makes me sick
My knees are hurting, must I kneel before you?
I just want to know the truth
The kind whose answer isn't another question

You make me dizzy, you confuse my mind
Where do you think I should be?
You make me dizzy, you confuse my mind
Where do you think I should be?
Should I put my faith in you?

Because I can't sleep
Because I can't eat
Because I can't laugh
Because I can't...

I keep forgetting that we're not together
This is all I can do

You make me dizzy, you confuse my mind
Where do you think I should be?
You make me dizzy, you confuse my mind
Where do you think I should be?
Should I put my faith in you?

You make me dizzy
You confuse my mind

By the way, this was two Fridays ago...I almost forgot to put this post up :) Thesis work officially begins tomorrow; we'll be given our topics if we haven't thought of any. I spent the whole week in the library, looking up books for all the lovely research work I'll be doing. I want to blog during my thesis, but I might wind up writing about theoretical computer science...I'm in the Algorithms and Complexity research lab :D What fun! XP

Monday, June 9, 2008


That's what I am now. An overstaying Computer Science senior with some leftover units that need to be completed. Not the least of which are the six units that comprise my one-year thesis; I have to make good and graduate soon. Though I love my university, I'm not the type to slack off and spend ten years finishing my degree. I've lived out my four years of tertiary education; I'll try to squeeze in as much fun as I can into this extra year, then bid my beloved university good-bye. One of the best things about UP is that it's openly accessible; there are no gates or clearly defined boundaries, only open roads and a lot of unrestrained flora. I'll always be able to drop by, maybe pretend to be a student with my then-old ID. Goodness, I'm already getting sentimental. XP

I might not have much time to blog in the coming months; I'll probably squeeze out a short paragraph or two like this one every so often. Wish me luck for my thesis year :)

Bookish Tag

I saw this great tag post for bookworms over at Sucharita's blog, and I was green all over with envy. The rules are simple: when tagged, you take the book you're currently reading, go to the fifth line on page 123, then post the succeeding three lines on your blog. I posted a comment about how I wished I could've been tagged, and Sucharita kindly obliged me. :) Thanks so much!

The story the following excerpt was taken from is about a self-supporting commune of deaf-mute people who have developed a radical new system of communication that relies entirely on touch, sometimes bordering on extrasensory perception. In the excerpt the narrator is watching them perform a communal activity; the final result is similar to the experience of a Christian choir after singing exhilarating praise songs, or of a pumped-up crowd after a rock concert.

From The Persistence of Vision by John Varley, included in The Locus Awards anthology:

"It was expanding in such a way that the distance between any of the individuals was the same. Like the expanding universe, where all galaxies move away from all others. Their arms were extended now; they were touching only with fingertips, in a crystal lattice arrangement."

By the way, technically I just finished reading the book a few hours ago, but since I haven't started reading a new book yet I decided it was all right to use it. Hope I didn't break the rules. :)

I tag the following bloggers:

1) Brat
2) J-Mo
3) Aleta
4) Ran out of people to tag... ^^;

Quirky Tag

This is my second tag post; I've got a third one coming up, so I hope you aren't tired of reading about tags :) This one's about unspectacular quirks; in my case, those little weird things I do that I seldom notice on a daily basis, and which took me several days to list down.

I'm feeling lazy so I'll just copy the rules from Brat, the guy who tagged me:

1. Link to the person(s) who tagged you

2. Mention these rules on your blog

3. List 6 unspectacular quirks of yours

4. Tag 6 bloggers by linking to them

5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged bloggers' blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged

That said, here goes...

1) Some people like singing soundlessly to their favorite songs (airsinging); others prefer to strum invisible guitars, usually in imitation of a famous rock band member (airguitaring). I, on the other hand, like tapping out a tune with the tips of my fingers or my palms on any available flat surface, be it table-top or the skin of my thighs. I call this airbongoing. So far I haven't found anybody who shares this quirk...

2) When I'm in the middle of writing code for a machine problem, it's not uncommon for me to scold my computer every time I find a bug in my code. I know that most bugs result from human error, but their often unexpected appearances are vexing, especially after I've spent a lot of time carefully planning my code. It's pretty easy to blame the bearer of bad news, i.e. a screen spouting semi-incomprehensible compiler errors. Of course, my computer takes it all in stride, although I wish it could tell me what I'm doing wrong. But then that would take all the fun out of debugging, wouldn't it? XP

3) I have a habit of sharing my bed with books, photocopied readings, notebooks, sometimes a pencil case or two. They occupy about a third of my sleeping space, and I've learned to stay in the same part of the bed all night long. I only started doing this when I traded the comfortable rooms of a UP dormitory for the cramped confines of an on-campus boarding house; I've had a year to adjust, and I've even brought the habit home during the summer vacation. My mother finds it odd that I can sleep soundly next to hard-bound books, dictionaries, and old newspapers.

4) I love browsing through the school supply sections of book stores. There's something inexplicably exciting about the scent of new, unused paper, unsharpened pencils and uncreased cardboard book covers. Often I'm sorely tempted to buy myself a new notebook on a whim, or a new pen even if I already have too many. Most of the time I walk away with a sigh; maybe next time I'll have an excuse to buy something I don't need.

5) I usually have at least three things on my person that used to belong to my eldest brother. He's a generous guy, and he used to give me a lot of things he no longer needed; that was before he got married and moved away. The things he gave me serve practical purposes, and I find myself feeling incomplete when I leave the house without them. They are: a segmented stainless steel keychain that resembles a silver millipede in its ability to curl and undulate; a black garrison belt, the sole remainder of his college ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) uniform, and; a water-resistant digital watch with thick rubber straps. I've had them since my freshman year in college, and it's part of my routine to check if I have them before I leave. Sometimes I don't need to wear a belt, sometimes I wear a different watch (for a change), but I always remember them, especially now that my brother lives elsewhere. Soon there will be a new addition to the three "heirlooms"; my brother has promised to bequeath his old mp3 player after hearing that I've been planning to buy one for myself. I'm so excited. Of all his old possessions, it will probably be the one I treasure most.

6) I'm fond of cracking open peanuts, watermelon seeds and squash seeds for my mother. I don't like eating them; for some reason, every time I see my mother settling down on the couch with a bowl of seeds or nuts I want to crack them all open for her. I'm slow while I'm at it, and she says it takes the fun out of eating seeds if they have no shells to remove, but she's gotten used to me "helping" her. She holds out her palm every time I finish extracting the meat inside a seed, or the nuts inside a peanut pod. A little extra help doesn't hurt. :)

Yay, done! :D Before I proceed with my third (and hopefully last XP) tag post, I'll tag the following bloggers:

1) Lester
2) Emir
3) Rich
4) Helen
5) Jaymee
6) Can't think of anyone else, since I have to tag some more people after this... ^^;