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INNA ain’t it – DJ Project is 17/04/2014

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True to my vocation of liking all things Romanian, I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to like INNA. The cute Romanian singer looks amazing, her outfits are fantastic, but her songs feel too robotic. However, she doesn’t sing (much) in Romanian, and she’s actually a bigger star both on social media and in real life outside Romania.
I much prefer the Romanian dance group DJ Project. Their songs (more…)


Somewhere in the Balkans 09/06/2013

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You’re more likely to find biting social commentary in Romanian hip-hop than in the newspapers, so it’s said. The rapper Puya is one example of this phenomenon. Here’s my attempt to translate his hit “Somewhere in the Balkans“. I’m much indebted to the Romanians on YouTube and elsewhere who have provided their own translations.

We drink beer and wine
Not whiskey or gin
We love bribery, corruption with all our hearts
We don’t know much, no kidding!
It’s a tradition here since we were kids
We love having dollars, we hate having jobs
What do I care about global warming
We want dollars, dollars, let the whales starve to death
Many problems, mess-ups on our minds, babes
Do you think we like
Knocking up against them all the time? Translation of “Somewhere in the Balkans”

Translating Romanian songs 30/03/2012

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My tutor at Aston University Christina Schäffner said once that “People don’t really translate pop songs anymore”. To which I say: Shakira. And follow up with: Tatu.
Now, I don’t claim that I can turn Romanian songs into “Hips Don’t Lie”. I’m not saying that I do a particularly good job at it. But I still think it’s worth a try.
Why? Well, I’m doing it for those English-speaking YouTube surfers who happen upon a catchy Romanian song. Sure, they don’t need to know the story, the words, in order to appreciate it. But I’m sure that one day, some of them – a few of them – might want to know what lies behind “Nu vreau banii tăi” (“I don’t want your money”) or similar.
Translation is something that few people feel passionate about. As a language undergraduate, I used to agree with other students who said that translation was the boring bit. (I’d like to re-assure Professor Schäffner that I’ve changed my mind.) But music people do get passionate about. So I hope that these song translations will spark comments and maybe even a few online debates about Romanian rock and pop.

In the shadow of the Great USSR 24/03/2012

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Under Ceausescu, Phoenix fled Romania and sought refuge in Germany. In 2000, they released “In the Shadow of the Great USSR” (In umbra marelui U.R.S.S.), which became “In the Shadow of the Great Bear” (In umbra marelui urs) due to a printing error.

I stand alone and ask myself
Why I left home
Could it be the curse
That has been oppressing us for ages? (more…)

I don’t want your money 22/01/2012

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Why translate manele? Because I can. It’s true: aside from commercial Romanian pop, song lyrics are beyond me. But manele I can just about manage. And because the world needs to know that the lyrics are so bad – even when it’s such fun.

Sorinel Copilul de Aur si Laura Vass feat. Susanu – I don’t want your money (Nu vreau banii tai)

2005 .. Guess who has returned to smash the charts… The Golden Boy… Laura Vass… And Susanu… And
Come on, let’s start the nervous system, maestros…
[Laura Vass]:
I don’t want your money, I’m not on the make
If you had been poor, I still would have chosen you Read the full lyrics for

Coming soon: Ceauşescu tours! 22/10/2011

Posted by allthingsro in places, translations, travel, Uncategorized.
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Romanian Tourism Minister Elena Udrea proposes to organise tours of the country’s communist past. These tours – which couldn’t be offered anywhere else in the world  – could be a hit. So says Ştefan Liuţe, co-founder and strategy director at Grapefruit, one of the largest branding agencies in Romania. Read more about Ceauşescu tours

Chickens’ Paradise 28/08/2011

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Chickens’ Paradise (Raiul găinilor) – a humorous, bittersweet slice of life in post-communist Romania by sociologist and author Dan Lungu. Read on

Who is my heart? 26/08/2011

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Ah, manele! Sometimes it’s so bad, it’s good, especially when you have drama, passion and a duet from top-notch manelisti Sorinel “The Golden Child” and Laura Vass. You’ll find the video on YouTube, but comments have been disabled, probably due to the commentators’ foul language and vitriolic anti-gypsy tirades.

Sorinel Copilul de Aur (Sorinel “The Golden Child”) & Laura Vass – Cine e inima mea? (Who is my heart?)

What has happened, why don’t you want me anymore?
I know you love me, I can see in your eyes
Even if I cheated on you, today I’m sorry
I wish from my soul to be yours again

I believed in you but I deceived myself
I saw you with another girl when you were kissing
I’m not worthy of that, I loved you too much
I listened to your fake whispers of love

Who is my heart? Who is my love?
Tell me what made you leave my life
You’ve lied to me since I’ve know you, and I realised too late
Go on, go to her forever, I can’t put up with you any longer
I know that I’m your heart, I know that I’m your love
I will never ever leave your life my love
I’m asking for your forgiveness, my life, I’m asking for your forgiveness before you
And from my heart I promise you that I will not lie to you again
(Repeat chorus)

For whole nights I cried and my eyes burnt
Now you’re crying too and asking me to come back
You know that I loved you, but I can’t forgive you
You can say anything to me, but I no longer believe you

Why are you behaving so badly towards me now?
Do you want me to end up crying like a madman?
I know I messed up and I want you to forgive me
I’m guilty and you can (forgive me) so that you can scold me


Translation by Daisy Waites

Post-communist bizarreness 28/12/2010

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The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes in Romania has published the results of a new opinion survey about the regime described as “illegitimate and criminal” by President Traian Băsescu.1 Commentators have described the position of public opinion on the communist dictatorship as thoroughly “bizarre” and “ambivalent”. Read analysis of Romanian attitudes to the communist past

“Good bye, Elena Udrea!” 23/12/2010

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The resignation of state counsellor Elena Udrea has been accepted. Today President Traian Băsescu will sign a decree releasing her from her functions. Asked yesterday to comment on his counsellor’s gesture, the head of state did not make any statement. He only said a polite “Good bye!”. Journalists have translated this as: “Good bye, Elena Udrea!”. Read more on Elena Udrea’s resignation