As Walt Disney Animation Studios likes to remind us, the company’s films are shown all over the world. This poses a particular problem for a musical – the studio not only has to find singers from all over the world who sound credibly like the original English-speaking performers, they have to translate all of the song lyrics in a way that not only keeps the meaning intact, but keep the rhythms and rhymes of the original version.
Since 2013 Frozen, Disney has released videos of some of their biggest hit songs that show what those songs look like in their various incarnations across the world. Quick changes between different language soundtracks on songs like Frozen‘s “Let it go,” Moana‘s “How far will I go”, Frozen 2‘s “Into the Unknown” and “Lost in the Woods”, and CGI 2019 Lion King‘S “Hakuna Matata” shows how much the international versions resemble the American version, from the intonations of the singers to the cadence of the lyrics.
The latest song to get official multilingual video processing from Disney is “We’re Not Talking About Bruno,” the Lin-Manuel Miranda hit topped the list on Spotify. CharmThe Billboard 100 soundtrack topped the list. The song is a summary of the weird and frightening experiences people have had with Bruno Madrigal, the black sheep from a family where almost everyone has magical powers. Bruno’s power is to see the future, but as the song suggests, knowing about future tragedies (even small and personal like male pattern baldness) doesn’t make them any easier to overcome, and the Madrigal community ended up dreading Bruno’s dire predictions. When he disappeared, talking about him became taboo – except, apparently, in dramatic song form, which sounds even more dramatic in 21 languages from the versions of Charm around the world.
Fans of this treatment who want to hear more than a sample of the song in different languages - or CharmOther musical numbers, by the way, should check out the Disney Plus language menu. American viewers, for example, have the option to watch the entire film in 19 other languages. So if you want to know what “Surface pressure” looks like in Italian, Dutch or Norwegian, this is also an option.