China's got talent! Young Shanghaiers sing Chinese pop songs in English
Updated 16:33, 09-Jan-2019
Han Peng
Music is a universal language, but now, a young group of music and language talents in Shanghai are taking this to a new level.
Dozens of students, either studying or recently graduated from the prestigious Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), have spent three years translating nearly 100 Chinese pop songs into English and then posting their performances online.
Their work has become increasingly popular around the world. Nearly 300,000 people followed them on WeChat alone.
23-year-old SISU graduate Pan Jianghao was a founder of a student association MelodyC2E (meaning melody Chinese to English) in 2016. “It was originally my obsession that we should rhyme to let our English version of the lyrics rhyme like the Chinese poems to have poetic beauty in both words and sounds,” Pan told CGTN.
Students say they'll listen to the same song  60 to 70 times before completing a translation. “At first, you need to listen to the song again and again. You must be really familiar with the melody, so that you can match the lyrics into the melody,” Zhou Yue, an SISU student and a MelodyC2E member, explained.
 A  combined photo of Zhou Yue singing a song and a lyric being translated. /CGTN photo

 A  combined photo of Zhou Yue singing a song and a lyric being translated. /CGTN photo

But of course, the most challenging part is language. “Sometimes we have to scratch our head or search on the Internet to use many different ways to come up with the right words,” Lu Jiayi, another team member, said.
The SISU is one of China's top foreign language institutes, and is known as being a cradle for Chinese diplomats.
“I consulted with an intellectual property lawyer about what we are doing. The professional advice is that as long as we keep it pure, educational and non-profit, we are safe,” Pan told CGTN.
Students say they see great significance in their work. "We want foreigners to echo what we feel when we hear high-quality Chinese pop songs," Zhou said.
With a great passion for music and high language proficiency, these future diplomats are bridging different cultures in their own shining way.
(Top image:  Zhou Yue, an SISU student and a MelodyC2E member, records a song in Shanghai. /CGTN photo)