10:09 Sep 1, 2019
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Music / Copyright provisions
German term or phrase: Subtextdichter
Context: publishing agreement regarding copyright for music artists (composers, song writers).
Meaning: the person who writes the lyrics in another language when a song is translated for a foreign audience.

Discussion: I've been using "lyrics" for "text" throughout this agreement so far (though, depending on this term, I might have to revise this to "text" throughout...).
Anna Morvern
Local time: 07:39

Summary of answers provided
4 +1Song lyric translator
Bernhard Sulzer
3 +1sub-lyricist
Alison MacG
3 +1lyrics translator
Michael Martin, MA



12 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
lyrics translator

"The joy and agony of translating song lyrics
...Lyrics translators are faced with a painful trade-off: do you go for accuracy or strive to make the translation singable?.."

"Subtextdichter ist, wer zu einem fremdsprachigen Text einen deutschen Text unter Weiterverwendung der Originalmusik verfasst."

Michael Martin, MA
United States
Local time: 02:39
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks for this answer. I think both this and sub-lyricist are good translations of my term so I will leave it to the community to decide. I appreciate your input.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gordon Matthews: The "lyrics" are the text of a song, are they not? So I think "lyrics translator" is better than "song lyric translator" which sounds a bit doppeltgemoppelt.
10 hrs
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1 day 2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1

You may find this term appearing in the context of a contract or agreement.

Distribution cycles and concepts
Translations of Lyrics and Addition of Amended or Substituted Lyrics
Where an authorised translation of copyright lyrics is made, or lyrics are changed or substituted with the authority of the copyright owner, the share allocated to the Translator/Sub-Lyricist is 16.67% (or 12.5% if the Translator/Sub-Lyricist is American).
[The relevant section of the Distribution Policy can be downloaded here]

SUBVERLEGERANMELDUNG/Sub-publisher registration

Textbearbeitungen / Vertonungen
Wer ein geschütztes Gedicht vertonen möchte, bedarf zur Veröffentlichung oder Verwertung seiner Vertonung der Einwilligung des Dichters bzw. des Verlegers. Entsprechendes gilt für den Fall, dass der Liedertext übersetzt wird, oder dass der bisherige (originale) Text durch eine Neufassung ersetzt werden soll. Auch Nachtextierungen, also die Textierung eines bisher instrumentalen Werkes, bedürfen der Einwilligung des Urhebers bzw. Verlegers des Originalwerkes. Entsprechendes gilt für die Sub- und Spezialtextierungen (Übersetzungen, Textbearbeitungen, weitere Textfassungen).
Arrangements of lyrics / musical settings
Anyone wishing to set a protected poem to music needs to obtain the authorisation of the poet and/or publisher in order to publish or exploit his/her musical setting. The same shall apply in cases where the lyrics are translated or the previous (original) lyrics are to be replaced by a new version. Subsequent lyrics, i.e. adding lyrics to a work that had previously been instrumental, require the authorisation of the author and/or publisher of the original work. The same shall apply for sub-lyrics and special lyrics (translations, arrangements of lyrics, additional lyrics).

Der Sonderfall «Subbearbeitung»
Mit dem Subverlagsvertrag wird häufig auch das Bearbeitungsrecht vom Originalverlag an den Subverleger weitergegeben. Der Subverleger ist somit berechtigt, Bearbeitungen zu erlauben bzw. in Auftrag zu geben. In diesen Fällen wird der Bearbeiter als «Subbearbeiter» oder im Falle eines neuen Textes, z.B. in einer anderen Sprache, als «Subtextautor» registriert. Das SUISA-Verteilungsreglement sieht auch hier vor, dass die Anteile der Subbearbeiter nicht höher sein dürfen als die reglementarischen Schlüssel.
Special case: “sub-arrangements”
Sub-publishing agreements generally provide for the transfer of the arrangement rights from the original publisher to the sub-publisher. The sub-publisher is thus entitled to authorise or commission arrangements. In these cases, the arranger is registered as a “sub-arranger” or, with regard to new lyrics, e.g. in another language, as a “sub-lyricist”. Here too, SUISA’s Distribution Rules provide that the sub-arranger’s share may not exceed the share set in the regulatory distribution key.

Alison MacG
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:39
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks for this answer. I think this is also a good translation of my term so I will leave it to the community to decide. I appreciate your input.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gordon Matthews: Having already agreed with "lyrics translator", I think I should also agree with "sub-lyricist", which I think is equally good, if not better.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Gordon
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Song lyric translator

Song lyric translator is one choice although the study cited below warns against using the term translator because the task is so much more than a "simple" translation of words.

Keeping in mind the creative skills needed and applied to this task, here are a few other suggestions. But to pin it down, song lyric translator would work for me.

Song lyric arranger
Song lyric interpreter
Song lyric transcreator

Taking the findings into consideration it could be said that the word ‘translation’ should be avoided in reference to the act of transferring the song lyrics of a musical in one language into another language. More apt descriptive phrases for this process would probably be ‘text arrangement’ or ‘interpretation’.
... The time needed for translating a song lyric could be some hours up to a couple of days.
In the latter case, Rudolfsson recommends that you put the translation aside for a while and then resume the work.

Note added at 13 hrs (2019-09-01 23:22:09 GMT)
Song translation
The song-lyric translator is challenged by a poetical text that
has to be rendered in the target language and culture and, at
the same time, is limited by the various constraints presented
by the music to which the lyric is set (Surugiu 2010:120).

Note added at 1 day 3 hrs (2019-09-02 14:05:58 GMT)

Regarding writeaway's comment: before I looked for a quote, I thought song(-) lyric translator/transcreator would sound better than lyrics translator and also add the dimension of the song itself - the fact that it's something that has to be adapted for the music; it's not just the translation of the text. The word song(-)lyric(s) is used in English - you can google some more and we use it a lot to refer to the words of a song here.
I guess song-lyrics translator would also be possible.

Bernhard Sulzer
United States
Local time: 02:39
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Michael Martin, MA: I think this is fine and you got here first
1 hr
  -> Thank you Michael!

neutral  writeaway: song lyrics. the song-lyric reference wasn't written by a native English speaker
13 hrs
  -> Thanks for the comment writeaway; see my added note above.
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