Author Topic: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)  (Read 6690 times)

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simonlehman

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Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« on: August 30, 2012, 08:53:49 pm »
Hey everyone,

I have just registered for the subtitle translations on Amara and before starting to translate anything into German, I'd like to ask how musical terms should be translated. I think in general, most things should probably be translated into the "proper" German terms, for example "third" should be translated into "Terz" and so on. Many translations can be found here: http :// www . sengpielaudio . com / Musikbegriffe.htm  (remove the spaces to use the address).

However, I am not really sure what to do about the note B. As most of you probably know, the B in English "officially" translates to the note H in German, thus the note names A B C D E F G are translated to A H C D E F G. Things get more complicated as there is also a note called B in German, which translates to the note Bb (b flat) in English, thus the full list of note names would be (English -> German):

A -> A
A#/Bb -> Ais/B
B -> H
C -> C
C#/Db -> Cis/Des
D -> D
D#/Eb -> Dis/Es
E -> E
F -> F
F#/Gb -> Fis/Ges
G -> G
G#/Ab -> Gis/As

On the one hand this is kind of the "official" translation, but on the other hand there are also a lot of (usually newer) German song books and other stuff which use the English note names as it makes "more sense" and leads to less confusion when using both English and German learning materials. This could be also be called the "modern" translation which replaces B with Bes and H with B. (At least I think the Bb should be pronounced as Bes in this case)

So my question is: Should we use the "official" translation or rather the "modern" translation?

(A rather less important question is if we should translate "slide" to "Glissando" or just use "slide" as probably most will use that term in German as well)

Offline Cars10

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 11:53:53 am »
Hi simonlehman,

I am german too and that B / H thing confused me also.
But I think that can not be spared.
I know ther is one page on Justins website where he also comments on this.
(Found it, its here, go down to "Fun for Germans and some other Europeans")
Basicly he says he doesn't understand that german H thing either ;-)

So he recomends using the international B.

In general I think we should stick to simple solutions, making it easier.
That also applies to slide, which I think is fine.

My 2cent ;-)

Regards,

 Cars10
In the end it's all Country Cash!

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2012, 01:12:14 pm »
My own take on this: a lot of the material you mentioned is originally English and (often rather badly) translated into German. I wouldn't base my decision on people who do it wrong.

The thing is: when you tell a German musician to play a b (in German, that is), he or she will play a Bb - or quite possibly ask. If you start using English notation in German, imho you won't make it easier for people, you will probably confuse them even more.

Using the German notation, they'll hear Justin say "B" and read "H" in the subtitle, which may be confusing at first, bit it is also perfectly correct, and they should know that if they want to communicate with German musicians.

Well, just another 2c ;)

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2012, 02:10:21 pm »
Another thing: I just went through part of that translation list. It's definitely helpful, but some translations are a bit weird or more specific than they ought to be. E.g. "natural" can mean "Tonart ohne Vorzeichen", but it can also simply mean "natürlich", as in "C natural minor scale". Translating "upstroke" with "Anschlag der Saiten von unten" is possible, but maybe a tad too long. Just say "Aufschlag". And to translate "strum" with "Akkord mit Fingern anschlagen" is just nonsense (nothing to do with fingers).

Better double-check words that may feel a bit strange or overly complicated ;)

simonlehman

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2012, 03:12:24 pm »
Thanks for the replies so far, this is exactly the kind of discussion I wanted to get going. The list I "linked" to is of course not perfect. As always, one should use "common sense" when trying to translate something (otherwise, we could just use Google Translate for that and we all know what that means ;)

But back to my main question regarding the B/H thing: So far there seems to be one "vote" for using the English name (if I understood Cars10 right) and one for using the German one. As I am personally using mostly the English notation, I would also tend to "translate" B to B. So this is kind of the situation the "Germans" are in now, some people grew up with the traditional notation and some (maybe more and more) grew/grow up with the "international" notation. I know this might be a matter of opinion and, as jacksroadhouse pointed out, it will confuse people either way.

So maybe we should use the kind of mixed notation as described at the end of this page: http :// de . wikibooks . org/wiki/Musiklehre:_Das_Problem_mit_dem_Notennamen_H

What do you think?


Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 03:36:42 pm »
I'd like to veto that one :)

The moment you mention "H" as a note name, I'd automatically assume you're using the German notation. Which would make a "Bb" an englisch "Bbb". Mixing the two seems extremely unfortunate to me. This is worse than "gedownloadet" or "approven".

Btw: almost my entire "musical vocabulary" is English, so I for one would be happy with the international notation. The problem is that people learning their instruments at a good old German music school will probably be learning the German notation (I suppose). That's why I'm leaning towards German notation for German language.

I'm wondering if you could simply use a double notation like "B (H)" (not the other way around though, that'd be confusing). Would that be easier to understand?

Offline Cars10

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2012, 06:27:20 pm »
Both way have their good arguments.
Ony thing I see that would make things complicated when going for the german H may be that things get allot more complex or need allot more explanation if Justin uses the "alphabetical" order in some kind.
Not sure if he uses this somewhere but could be complex to explain that the alphabet starts with A H C D E F G ;-)

Regards,

 Cars10
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simonlehman

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2012, 07:25:01 pm »
Quote from: jacksroadhouse
The moment you mention "H" as a note name, I'd automatically assume you're using the German notation. Which would make a "Bb" an englisch "Bbb". Mixing the two seems extremely unfortunate to me. This is worse than "gedownloadet" or "approven".

Yeah, I see, this can get even more confusing when you don't know that a mixed notation is used. I think your suggestion of using parenthesis to give the German notation as an addition while keeping the English one the "primary notation" is probably the one I will use for now. However, we will have to see how that works out in more complex combinations, like chords or where lots of notes/chords are named. But this will generally be quite tough to translate and put into easily readable subtitles (especially as Justin sometimes talks quite fast, which makes subtitles hard to follow under some circumstances).

Quote from: jacksroadhouse
Btw: almost my entire "musical vocabulary" is English, so I for one would be happy with the international notation. The problem is that people learning their instruments at a good old German music school will probably be learning the German notation (I suppose). That's why I'm leaning towards German notation for German language.

While I generally see your point (which also was the reason why I originally started this thread), there is also the question if people who learn using Justin's material will also go to a music school. There are probably some who do both, but I think that the whole point of justinguitar is that you can get guitar lessons even when you can't afford a "normal" school/teacher. Of course, even then the problem is still that people would get confused when trying to play/talk with someone who is used to the German notation, so there is probably no simple solution to this.

So I think using the "English (German)" form for note names will probably be a good tradeoff.

simonlehman

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2012, 07:57:11 pm »
I just thought about another thing for subtitling: When Justin says a note/chord/key name, for example F#, he will of course pronounce it as "F sharp". Should this also be written like that in the subtitle, thus "F sharp", and translated into German as "Fis" or should the more compact notation ("F#") be used?

This might be even more important for chords, which can get quite complex to write out in full. Say BbMaj7 is pronounced as "B flat major seventh chord" and would be translated into something like "Großer Bes Septakkord" (and when using the combined notation we would have to write something like "Großer Bes (B) Septakkord"). Maybe we need a combined notation for that too, as I think it is equally important to be able to quickly read the mentioned chord but also learn how to pronounce it. But this leads quickly to even more complicated subtitles, which probably no one will be able to read while watching the video...  ;D

Maybe I am overthinking all this translation stuff too much :), but I would like to do things (at least kind of) right before investing too much time into it. And I think it is important to learn the "right" thing and also be consistent when talking about those things, because when you cannot pronounce the sometimes weird looking chord symbols properly (either in English or German) it really stops you from reading music fluently and also does not really help when it comes to talk with others about music.

Edit: I just looked for an example of an english transcription where a lot of note names are said and apparently they are usually written in the short form (i.e. Bb instead of B flat). So I guess we should follow this and also use the short notation and maybe only write out how it really is pronounced when it is mentioned for the first time or somethin like that.

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2012, 09:58:40 pm »
Fwiw: as far as note names ar concerned, I think you should keep in mind that you're doing this for people who don't English. "F sharp" has no meaning whatsoever in German. The note is called "Fis".

As for the chord names: yes, that can get completely out of hand. I've watched German videos where they used the short name read out loud instead of that excessive German chord naming, e.g. reading "Cm7#5" as "C moll 7 Kreuz 5". I suppose it's not terribly correct, but I have a feeling it works.

All in all, I think there's a bit of flexibility needed here. In the beginner's course I'd definitely use the "spoken" version of the chord name at least once or twice, so people know how to say "G#m" in German. But for more complex chords, the short version should be enough. My take on this: if you don't understand "Cm7#5", the German extra-long chord name won't be much help either. I think.

And like you said: subtitles first and foremost need to be easy and quick to read, so you can follow the lesson without hitting the pause key every three seconds.

Btw: I for one wouldn't say you're overthinking it at all. I think it's great that you raise these questions, and that we all get to say our say on this. There's enough incompetent translation out there to last us till the end of time. Quality translation with common sense behind it will make a refreshing change, and it goes a long way in helping people learn.

simonlehman

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 03:03:28 pm »
Of course, I would not translate "F#" as "F sharp", that was only meant to illustrate what might be written in the english transcription subtitle. But the english transcriptions do also vary between the two forms, so some flexibility is certainly needed.

About the "literal" form, where just each "symbol" is pronounced as is: as you say, it is not really correct, and I think it does also not really help to get a better understanding, especially as the compact notation is usually not given. So in the video, you will hear Justin saying something like "C minor seven sharp five" (which is, as you already mentioned, pretty much just gibberish for those who have to rely on subtitles) and the subtitles would read "C moll 7 kreuz 5", which is not really the correct translation and thus, does not help much to read the notation better. And like you said, if you are at a stage where more complex stuff is mentioned, you can just read it like that yourself even if it is written as Cm7#5.

So I think we can agree on using properly spoken names in beginner-style lessons (maybe together with the notation in parenthesis) and maybe where it is compact enough and using the proper, compact notation everywhere else.

In general, it is kind of impossible to just learn everything from videos, especially notation (I don't know if Justin even has a video lesson on that topic or on pronounciation "rules"). So there is only so much we can do to translate those things.

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Translation of the note B (and maybe other terms too)
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 03:38:40 pm »
Sorry, I obviously got that first bit wrong. I was wondering about that anyway ;)

In general, it is kind of impossible to just learn everything from videos, especially notation (I don't know if Justin even has a video lesson on that topic or on pronounciation "rules"). So there is only so much we can do to translate those things.
My experience exactly. I only started to understand that type of musicianese when I started learning about scales and chord construction. no matter what the language or how it was read out loud. So I wouldn't sweat it too much.

 

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