Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading

MelodyC2E: SISU students spread Chinese melodies to the world


21 April 2018 | By By Feng Siyang, Liu Wenwen, Lu Xiaoyu, Liu Shiliang and Zhou Jiawen | Copyedited by GU Yiqing

  • MelodyC2E

  • MelodyC2E

  • MelodyC2E

  • MelodyC2E

  • MelodyC2E

  • MelodyC2E

M

elodyC2E, a student organization of music-lovers from Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), stood out from over 2000 delegates and won the annual Special Award as a top-five team in the First International Contest for Creative Communication of Chinese Story. The team has released over 60 English songs translated from popular Chinese songs since the debut single in 2016.

MelodyC2E literally means to spread the melody translated from Chinese to English. The team has gained more than 17,000 fans on the Chinese music platform Net Ease Cloud Music, according to the latest statistics. Many of their works have received tens of thousands of clicks, and gained a large number of fans both in China and abroad. The music video of “她说” (She Says) was viewed over 208, 000 times on Bilibili, a Chinese video platform. Their songs were once played in a Paris cab.

Date back to 2016, Pan Jianghao, a sophomore in SISU, attended a reception to Ahmed Alhendawi, the Youth Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General. During the reception, the envoy said, “We want to hear more from Chinese young people."

Inspired by his words, Pan and his fellow student Lin Hongying started to think what they can do to spread the voice of Chinese young people. Finally, the two plans to translate a Chinese song every week and ask for talented students to cover the English version. Soon after, MelodyC2E was born. In September, 2016, the first English version of the Chinese song “遇见” (Encounter) hit the campus. More language-lovers and singers later joined their team.

What MelodyC2E wants to do is more than a simple "translation", but a "re-creation" -- they believe that if the lyrics can be translated appropriately, the song can never lose the phonological beauty. Therefore, they set their main principals: First, be loyal to the original song; second, use the same rhyme in one paragraph; third, try best to preserve even enhance the rhyme.

The translators have to ensure the correctness and the coherence of lyrics. English-speaking habits should also be considered. For example, the name of Jay Chou’s song “菊花台” (Ju Hua Tai) was translated into The Grave of Petals. He Guangtai, the translator of that song, said that he needed to emerge himself into the song while writing its English lyrics, to chant and feel it, to go beyond the words.

Huang Liwei, another translator of MelodyC2E, mentioned that she could spend hours to figure out a right word or a proper rhyme, by staring at the keyboard or looking up the dictionary. She joked that it drives her nuts with a “rhyme OCD”.

It takes time to find the right rhythm and pause for both translators and singers. “A single piece sometimes was recorded dozens of times to achieve perfect sound effects, according to Su yixuan, a singer of Melody. “Despite all the difficulties, the most pleasing moment is when I read the praise from our listeners’ comments,” she said.

The team has polished every detail on the layout of words and pictures, too. “Layout design was often blamed for being repetitious and boring, yet I do not think so,” said Li Bingqian, one of the editors of MelodyC2E.

Li thinks pictures are the most intuitive way of expression, “I’d like to use words and pictures to show the hidden emotions in the song, to capture those subtle feelings in people’s mind yet they can hardly say.”

In order to better the understanding and experience of audience, every song of MelodyC2E was followed by the annotation of lyrics. For example, one of the lyrics in the song “红玫瑰” (Red Rose) was translated into “unbearable lightness of being”, which is borrowed from Milan Kundera’s book Unbearable Lightness of Life.

Melody C2E does not restrict its ambition in translation and cover of Chinese songs; furthermore, it has taken steps on building up a diversified and integrated platform for sharing English learning resources. For example, new columns like “Bedtime Reading”, “How to Say…” and “Key Words of the Week” were set since the beginning of 2017.

In the “Bedtime Reading” part, members  share their own thoughts on the latest films and TV series, and also recite extracts from poems, novels, and plays. “We want to bring the audience inner peace and a sense of pure beauty in languages through voice communication,” anchor Zhang Wenzhu said.

The group has expanded from the only two co-founders to a club with around 70 members in a year. Feng Zinan, Vice President of the club, said it is much more like an "offline store" of Melody C2E, hoping the club would be able to bring warmth and happiness to more people with the joint efforts of the club members and the audience.

 “Many readers will share their stories and feelings with us,” said Yang Qiqi, an operator of MelodyC2E. Some talks about their pressures from life or work. Some are students who dream to be admitted in SISU. “We do not know each other, but we are willing to listen to and encourage them. It is amazing to see so many people striving for their passions,” Yang said.

Read more: Global Times | University students translate Chinese songs into English​

Share:

Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading