1

So, yeah, I caught up with the latest interest towards this song and I watched the music video on the official channel. I am currently working through the lyrics (some of the words used are totally new to me), but I have already encountered a part where the English translation seems off.

The video is here, and the first time it appears in the lyrics is ~1:00

This line of the original...

踊ってない夜がない夜なんて

...is translated in the English captions as...

If there is no night we have no dancing night

however, when I was listening to it, I thought that this actually meant

(A) no-dancing night is (a) no-night or something

Meaning that a night when there is no dancing is as good as no night / nothing at all. (Well, the dismissive なんて can have a lot of translations, but it's not the point for me here.)

What do you think? Possibly, the subject and predicate are just reversed to fit the rhythm?

P.S. The fact that there is no comma after "If there is no night" makes me especially suspicious of the overall quality here

6
  • 1
    「[[[踊ってない夜が]ない]夜]/なんて/とってもとっても/退屈です」 I don't think ない夜 is a possible interpretation.
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 8, 2021 at 19:52
  • 1
    I had the exact same question, I think it's the odd phrasing that's throwing you off. Literally, [Odottenai yoru ga nai] yoru would be "nights without a night without dancing", or undoing the double negative, nights where he danced every day. You can see in detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q10156339235 that even a Japanese speaker had the same question. I think the English translation is actually wrong, and as the chiebukuro response indicates, the correct interpretation is indeed that he basically danced every night to the point of boredom with it.
    – 1110101001
    Dec 27, 2022 at 10:45
  • It's surprising that despite the relative popularity of oddloop I haven't seen a proper English translation. Given the general theme of the song and the expressionless music video, I side with the yahoo answerer's interpretation that this section as a whole should essentially be interpreted as "I got tired of dancing after a while even if I like it", but after a break the cycle starts anew.
    – 1110101001
    Dec 27, 2022 at 10:55
  • Also as to why "nai yoru" is not a valid parsing, I'll let others chime in since I'm only learning myself, but see also japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/46817/… I think here it's the tottemo that forces the interpretation as yoru being the outermost noun
    – 1110101001
    Dec 27, 2022 at 20:58
  • 1
    Fwiw I found lyrical-nonsense.com/global/lyrics/frederic/oddloop which seems to have a translation that makes more sense to me, although I'd probably use "tedious" instead of "boring" to force the interpretation mentioned above. So something like "Nights without danceless nights / Just so terribly tedious" I guess. As for the "official(?)" translation on the video, I'm skeptical of its quality because of how ungrammatical many lines are in English, even for a song. Seems like it wasn't checked by a native speaker.
    – 1110101001
    Dec 27, 2022 at 22:51

1 Answer 1

0

I think to answer this question, we would need to look at the following set of lyrics as well:

踊ってない夜がない夜なんて + とってもとっても退屈です

Usually one may consider なんて literally as "such (a thing)" and in this context when it is preceded by a negative subject it emphasizes that there could be a lack of something. i.e. "such a thing (isn't)" or "(no) such thing". In this case it could likely be fully translated as

There is no such thing as a danceless night that isn't very very boring.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .