Translations matter, and just as lyrics boost engagement, translated lyrics boost engagement across language barriers.
Toronto-based lyric licensing pioneers, LyricFind, have received funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage Creative Export Canada program to focus on and globalize Canadian content, using the power of lyrics and translation. The two-year project supports the licensing, transcription and translation of Canadian artists and songwriters’ lyrics, and monetizes their lyrics through LyricFind’s extensive roster of clients.
LyricFind will also power lyric translation display at live events globally and translate popular lyrics by Canadian artists like Drake and Carly Rae Jepsen into widely spoken world languages. The grant also allows for the translation of the most important Indigenous language songs into English and French, and reciprocates by translating top Canadian song lyrics into Indigenous languages, all with the help of First Nations music and language consultants. Lyric translations promise to spark additional engagement with songs in languages like Inuktitut, Cree, and Anishinaabemowin, as well as support interest in lesser-spoken Indigenous languages like Maliseet.
All told, this program will enable LyricFind’s biggest Canadian-focused content and translation distribution effort to date. “We created the first real global licensing ecosystem for lyrics, but we feel we have yet to bring the full linguistic breadth and artistic range of our home country to the wider world. Thanks to this project, we’re aiming to expand our catalog of Canadian content by a factor of ten,” Darryl Ballantyne, Founder and CEO of LyricFind notes. “We’re excited to start sharing translated Canadian content around the globe.”
One of the most innovative aspects of the project is its use of human translation, which offers a more accurate and nuanced take on song meanings. “Automated translation works well in particular instances and with common language pairs, like Spanish to English, but in most cases, it fails to capture the complexity and subtlety of song lyrics in translation,” reflects Robert Singerman, SVP, International Publishing at LyricFind, who has dedicated the last 15 years of his career to giving music subtitles.
“It’s like we’ve been watching a stunning foreign film without subtitles all this time,” Singerman muses. “Now we get to move deeper into music, whether it’s being played live or heard digitally in languages we don’t know. It’s what the troubadours and all songwriters and artists who followed intended; communication with the audience.”