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Example: Bilingual musicians as translators

Watch Guto Pryce, member of Welsh bilingual band the Super Furry Animals, explore his experiences of composing songs as a bilingual speaker.
Text on screen : What languages did you speak growing up? I grew up in Cardiff mother was a welsh speaker speaker father’s from Mid Wales and he learnt Welsh his first language is English. So at home we’d speak whoever I was looking at I would speak that language my father could always follow conversations, but if you speaking with him he turned to English. My brother speak Welsh I went school I spoke Welsh in school.
Text on screen: What language do you sing in? We always knew we wanted to sing in English, but we also sang Welsh as well because that’s what we knew.
Text on screen: Do you change language for different audiences? When we were singing in Welsh we’d be able to play Wales a lot and we’d also be able to play in Germany and former Eastern block Czechoslovakia and those sorts of countries they didn’t mind what language you spoke in. England we would it’s still a strange you know people really didn’t take it seriously as this, I guess England is a quite a you know, not such a bilingual culture so when so I guess we wanted to play more around the world. If I guess if you were band from the Los…. California we may have done it in Spanish
Text on screen: If you tour now do you mix in your programme some English and some Welsh? Well most of the songs we’ve recorded have been in English; but we always play just one or two songs in Welsh just that happened to we don’t really make a point of it. And but last year was an anniversary we made one album entirely in Welsh called ‘mwng’ which came out in 2000 and last year we re-released that record and on its 15th anniversary and we played a lot of songs off that record.
Text on screen:do audiences react differently to different languages? It’s funny when people learn songs in a language they don’t understand they kind of learn noises, and we noticed that this little catchy bits there people just. We sing predominantly in English but ‘Bing Bong’ for example is which isn’t the Welsh word, it’s just you know a noise. That’s about the Welsh football team so there’s a reason for it to be in Welsh
Text on screen: What does it mean for you to sing in Welsh? I think what we’ve always tried to do is normalize the Welsh language in our use not not just shout about it but just have it there you know in equal a line of notes will be in Welsh and English. We try to do our social media in Welsh & English but then the reality is sometimes you know promoter in England doesn’t speak Welsh so you know we’re not going to demand everything is in you know were realistic about it but where we can we try and use Welsh
Text on screen: What made you decide to sing in English as well as your native Welsh? We felt that we were want to look out to the world we thought that maybe there is a very difficult history with the Welsh language where a lot of people have protested and done some very serious things for the language to to be alive and it’s not a thing to be joked about you know thankfully i’m a product of the next generation and I was able to go to a Welsh school because these people protested.
I think we felt there were, were times when they was going a bit too far it’s and it just no English at all and we were possibly trying to embrace a bilingual culture and it was our when we went to play the eisteddfod we weren’t allowed to sing our songs in English we thought was just a little bit ridiculous and yeh being the rebellious type that we were we kicked up fuss about it and I don’t know if you were right or wrong actually because you know it’s like I say it’s a very serious business keeping with language alive.
But it also needs to be challenged I think and with its especially it’s relationship with England and the UK and Europe

Multilingual speakers are often oblivious of translation because they themselves live ‘in translation’, forging their identity and relationships in a constant tension between different languages and cultural allegiances.

In this interview, Guto Pryce, member of Welsh bilingual band the Super Furry Animals, explores his experiences of composing songs as a bilingual Welsh/English speaker, and the multiple cultural and often political implications of choosing to sing in Welsh or English.

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Working with Translation: Theory and Practice

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