Translation notes: It occurred to me recently that I’d been translating quite a few songs, and I ought to actually keep the translations somewhere more permanent than just in a YouTube video on my channel or handwritten on a piece of paper buried somewhere. So, I decided to post them on my blog. At the end of each of these posts I will include a video of the song the translation is of.

In case you don’t already know, the languages I speak are English (obviously, since I’m using it right now), which is my native language, and Spanish, which I have learnt (am still learning, really) over the course of several years both inside and outside of school/college. Therefore, to state the obvious, the translations I will do will be either from Spanish to English, or (probably less frequently), from English to Spanish. Don’t expect me to translate Russian or Mandarin, because the results would not be pretty or useful.

Next, a few things about my translation technique. I’m going to try and make the English version as natural as I can, which will obviously mean adjusting phrasing at times, but I will also try to stay as true as possible to the meaning, and where my translation is different to the literal translation of the Spanish I will include both.

Text in italics is the original Spanish, and text not in italics is my English translation.

[lit.] represents a literal translation where I have changed it, [alt.] represents an alternative translation where a word or phrase could have more than one correct meaning.

Anyway, the first song I’m going to translate is by Chenoa, an Argentinian-born and Spanish-raised singer who has been very successful, especially in Spain and Latin America, and has sold over a million albums. This song was one of her biggest hits, reaching #1 in Spain, and is known for being the theme song of the telenovela Estrambótica Anastasia.

Enjoy!

En tu cruz me clavaste
On Your Cross You Nailed Me

Sí, volverá a mentir, lo sé
Volverá a engañarme
Y yo caeré en su trampa
Dulce estafa que me encanta

Yes, he will lie again, I know [*lit. I know it]
He will deceive me again
And I will fall into his trap
The sweet fraud that I love

*In English we often say “I know” in response to something that has been stated, because what we are referring to is considered obvious. In Spanish, however, you always say “I know it”, because the subject of your knowledge must be specified. In short, whether “lo sé” is better translated as “I know” or “I know it” depends entirely on context.

Sí, volverá a disimular
Otra historia, otro olor
En su camisa que disfraza y falsifica

Yes, he will pretend [alt. hide, conceal] again
Another story [alt. history], another smell
On his shirt that disguises and falsifies

Y lo sé
No puedo más, lo sé
Pero a sus besos y a su cuerpo
Yo me siento maniatada

And I know
I can’t take any more [lit. I cannot anymore], I know
But to his kisses and to his body
I feel shackled [lit. handcuffed, maniatar (verb) = to tie the hands of someone]

Y tal vez
En un rincón, tal vez
Quiera ceder y abandonar esta prisión
Que me encadena a él

And maybe
In a corner of myself [lit. in a corner], maybe
I almost want [*lit. I want] to give in and abandon this prison
That chains me to him

*The subjunctive tense is hardly used in English, but in Spanish it is used much more frequently, usually to indicate either uncertainty or opinion. In this particular case the subjunctive is most likely intended to show the singer’s uncertainty about what she wants. Therefore, although the literal translation of “quiera” is “I want”, I changed it to “I almost want” to try to reflect the true meaning in a way that would make sense in English.

Debo dejarle y no puedo evitarle
Como un imán él me aleja y me atrae
Debo dejarle y no puedo escaparme
Tú eres mi karma y en tu cruz me clavaste

I must leave him and I can’t avoid it
Like a magnet he pushes me away [lit. dispels me] and attracts me
I must leave him and I can’t escape [alt. escape myself]
You are my karma and on your cross you nailed me

En tu cruz me clavaste
En tu cruz

On your cross you nailed me
On your cross

Sí, atrapada estoy por él
Capturada en su pasión que me desvela
En estas sabanas de seda

Yes, I am trapped [alt. caught] by him
Captured in his passion that uncovers me [alt. keeps me awake]
In these savannahs of silk

Sí, una lucha de poder
Una guerra entre mi amor y mi paciencia
Y en el centro mi conciencia

Yes, a power struggle [lit. a fight of power]
A war between my love and my patience
And in the middle my conscience

Y lo sé
No puedo más, lo sé
Pero a sus besos y a su cuerpo
Yo me siento maniatada

And I know
I can’t take any more, I know
But to his kisses and to his body
I feel shackled

Y tal vez
En un rincón, tal vez
Quiera ceder y abandonar esta prisión
Que me encadena a él

And maybe
In a corner of myself, maybe
I almost want to give in and abandon this prison
That chains me to him

Debo dejarle y no puedo evitarle
Como un imán él me aleja y me atrae
Debo dejarle y no puedo escaparme
Tú eres mi karma y en tu cruz me clavaste

I must leave him and I can’t avoid it
Like a magnet he pushes me away and attracts me
I must leave him and I can’t escape
You are my karma and on your cross you nailed me

En tu cruz me clavaste
En tu cruz

On your cross you nailed me
On your cross

Debo dejarle y no puedo evitarle
Como un imán él me aleja y me atrae
Debo dejarle y no puedo escaparme
Tú eres mi karma y en tu cruz me clavaste

I must leave him and I can’t avoid it
Like a magnet he pushes me away and attracts me
I must leave him and I can’t escape
You are my karma and on your cross you nailed me

En tu cruz me clavaste
En tu cruz

On your cross you nailed me
On your cross

 

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