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Muh. Zakky Al-Masykuri


This study analyzed the translation strategies of Rich Brian’s song found on internet to gain
better understanding of its meaning by comparing the translated lyrics from two websites,
taking into account: syllables vs. words, word-for-word translations, addition/omissions,
metaphors, paraphrases, rhymes, and reorganization of text. Qualitative method through
content analysis approach applied in this research. The data is taken from selected song lyrics
entitled “Dat Stick” sung by Rich Brian. Based on the analyzing data, the results of this study
were: 1) there are 17 strategies of word-for-word translation, 1 literal translation, 2 faithful
translation, 20 semantic translations, 32 adaptation translations, 14 free translations, 20
idiomatic translations, and 14 communicative translations. 2) By the analysis of comparing
two websites, the translation is considered as acceptable and readability for readers.

Keywords: Translation strategy, translation qualities, song lyrics



Penelitian ini menganalisis strategi penerjemahan lagu Rich Brian yang ditemukan di internet
untuk menigkatkan pemahaman yang baik dari arti lirik tersebut dengan membandingkan
hasil terjemahan dari dua situs web. Mempertimbangkan: suku kata dengan kata-kata,
terjemahan kata demi kata, penambahan/pengurangan kata, penggunaan majas metafora,
penggunaan paraphrase, sajak, dan pengorganisasian teks. Metode kualitatif melalui
pendekatan analisis isi diterapkan pada penelitian ini. Sumber data diambil dari lirik lagu
pilihan berjudul “Dat Stick” yang dinyanyikan Rich Brian. Berdasarkan analisis data, hasil
dari penelitian ini adalah: 1) terdapat 17 terjemahan kata-per-kata, 1 terjemahan harfiah, 2
terjemahan tepat, 20 terjemahan makna, 32 terjemahan adaptasi, 14 terjemahan bebas, 20
terhemahan ungkapan, dan 14 terjemahan komunikatif. 2) menurut analisis hasil
perbandingan dua situs web, terjemahannya bisa dianggap berterima dan dapat dibaca bagi

Kata kunci: Strategi penerjemahan, kualitas penerjemahan, lirik lagu

English is one of worldwide language which has a big impact for everyone. Not only
used to communicate but also English language used in entertainment world especially music.
Almost every day, people are listening to music. Moreover, some people consider that music
is part of a life as a medium to express feelings. Music becomes internationally spread due to
progression of technology and the development of music is also runs dynamically along with
When listening to the popular music outside of their mother language, consciously or
unconsciously, they are just following the tone and rhythm of the music without knowing
what is the meaning of song lyrics of the music. This caused people are motivated to find the
meaning of the song lyrics. Various ways are taken to know the meaning of the song lyrics
whether find on the internet or they just translated the song lyrics by themselves. For those
who listens English songs, especially for Indonesian people, they are spontaneously tend to
find the song lyrics through internet because internet is lots easier and provides some kinds of
translation on the websites which is accessible for everyone without trying very hard to
translate which even have to find the word equivalency to get understandable meaning of the
song lyrics. However, because of every people used various translation method and strategy,
then the results of every translator’s translations is different. The results of some translation
song lyrics are understandable and the other is not understandable even it’s far from what is
called a good translation.
To translate the song lyrics is not as easy as translating daily communication
translations because of song lyrics are mostly constructed by various features such as
metaphor, well-ordered phrase, elegant syntax, rhyme, alliterations and more which deliver
the aesthetics elements which made the listener is well enough knowing what the
songwriter’s feel. Translations is not as simply as translating text from Source Language (SL)
into Target Language (TL) as Nida and Taber (1982) said that translating is related to consist
reproducing natural equivalent of the language message in terms of message and terms of
style. From that statement, it can be said that translations must produce an equivalency both
Source Language and style. However, translation style is rather difficult as Nababan (2008)
said that the complexity of stylistic is one of factors why the process of translating is
complicated. As the object of this study, the song lyrics, usually expressed with noun phrase
in which the translator must find the equivalency from Source language (SL) into target
language (TL) accurately and does not ruin the aesthetic element of the song lyrics.
According to Molina and Albir (2002) there are five characteristics of translation techniques
as procedure to analyze and classify how the equivalency of translations works: 1) They
affect the result of the translation, 2) They are classified by comparison with the original, 3)
They affect micro-units of text, 4) They are by nature discursive and contextual, and 5) They
are functional. It’s obviously that the techniques of translation are not the only categories
available to analyze a translated text. Cohesion, coherence, thematic progression, and
contextual dimensions are also intervening in the analysis.
From all kinds of music genres, Rap music is one of popular style among people
developed by disc jockeys and urban blacks recurring beat pattern provides the background
and counter point for rapid, slangy, and often boastful rhyming patter glibly intoned by a
vocalist. Rap music usually made the listener could not follow what the singer sings because
the tempo is fast enough and has tongue-twist characteristics. One of the singers who sing a
rap song is Rich Brian, well known as Rich Chigga. He is a rapper, record producer, and
songwriter from Indonesia. His songs become viral because of his first debut song entitled
‘Dat Stick’ which is released in 2016 which this single was certified gold by the RIAA.

This study is conducted because: 1) the difficulty of translating song lyrics, for those
who is not linguists, 2) the translated song lyrics is confusing the readers. So, the questions
raised in this research are the comparison analysis of translation strategy from two well-
known websites which found on Google search engine. Also, the assessment of translations is
required to find how acceptable the translation is.
The purposes of this study are to distinguish the technique and method by comparing
two websites’ translations descriptively of ‘Dat Stick’ sung by Rich Brian. Based on the
results of this study, it can be shown that is the translation acceptable or not by means of it’s
understandable by readers.
The significances of this study are: 1) for academic, this study is expected to give
contributions of linguistics especially in translation studies, 2) for the readers and internet
users, this study is expected to become references and the comparison of translation song
lyrics which found on website, 3) for the translator, this study is expected to giving feedback
of their translations therefore the translator can improve their skill in translating song lyrics.

A qualitative research was adopted as the method of this study to explore and
described the research results. According to Bogdan and Taylor (2015) stated that qualitative
method refers in broadest sense to research that produces descriptive data – people’s own
written or spoken words and observable behavior. Moreover, Richard (2006) stated that a
common feature of qualitative research is aimed to create understanding from data as analysis
There are six steps in the process of the research based on Creswell (2013), it begins
with identifying a research problem which consists of reviewing literature; advancing
direction through research questions and statements; and collecting, analyzing, and
interpreting the data. Hence, to solve the problems of the research every research required
The data are taken with content analysis approach which is one of variations from
document analysis. Hancock (2001) stated that content analysis is used to find and understand
the message or expression in the text, painting, song, literary works, article, and symbol. By
using content analysis approach through qualitative method, the researcher is capable to
analyze the translations in objectively, systematically and relevantly. This approach is used in
order to provide deep focus for the study. The source of data in this research is the
translations of ‘Dat Stick’ song lyrics which translated by two popular translation websites:
Arlindo and Lirikliriksini. The technique of data collecting is used as follows: 1) look online
for the website Arlindo and Lirikliriksini, 2) collecting the data from both translated of ‘Dat
Stick’ song lyrics, 3) analyzing and comparing data with proper theories, 4) draw conclusion
and giving suggestions.


Based on the unit analysis of this research, this study analyzes: 1) the comparison of
translation strategy from two websites between the Source Laguage (SL) of ‘Dat Stick’
English song lyrics and the Target Language (TL) Indonesian song lyrics, 2) the assessment
of translations in order to find how acceptable the translation is.
The analysis has been done by writer using Newmark’s theory which stated that
translation is rendering the meaning of the text into another language in that way that the

author intended the text. There are eight methods given by Newmark which divided into two
sides. The first is the translation method emphasis on the Source Language (SL). The second
is the translation method which emphasizes the Target Language (TL). As described below:
1. Word-for-word translation
The word-for-word translation often demonstrated as interlinear translation. The SL
word-order is preserved and the words translated singly by their most common meanings, out
of context. The cultural words are literally translated. This method is either to understand the
mechanics of Source Language or to construct a difficult text as pre-translation process.
2. Literal translation
The Source Language grammatical constructions are converted to their nearest Target
Language equivalents, the lexical words are translated singly, out of context. This translation
method is attempting to keep the form of the Source Language.
3. Faithful translation
Faithful translation attempts to reproduce the precise contextual meaning of the
original within the constraints of the Target Language grammatical structures. The cultural
words preserved the degree of grammatical and lexical deviation from Source Language
norms in the translation.
4. Semantic translation
Semantic translation must take more account of aesthetic value which is beautiful and
natural sounds of the Source Language text, compromising on meaning where appropriate no
assonance, and word-play repetition. It may translate less important cultural words and may
make other small concessions to the readership. The distinction between faithful and
semantic translation is the uncompromising and dogmatic, while the semantic is more
flexible, admits the creative fidelity and allows for translator’s intuitive empathy with the
5. Adaptation
This translation method gives the emphasis on Target Language. Adaptation
translation used mainly for plays such as poetry; the themes, characters, plots are preserved,
the culture converted to the TL culture and the text is rewritten.
6. Free translation
The free translation emphasis on target language which reproduces the matter without the
manner, the content without the form of the original and usually it is paraphrased much
longer than the original.
7. Idiomatic translation
Idiomatic translation method reproduces the ‘message’ of the original but tends to
distort nuances of meaning by preferring colloquialisms and idioms which are not exist on the
8. Communicative translation
The communicative translation attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the
original in such a way that both content and language are readily acceptable and
comprehensible to the readers.
The results of translations strategies dealing with translation strategies are found on
‘Dat Stick’ song lyrics are shown on the table below:

No Translation Strategies Total

1 Word-for-word translation Source 13
2 Literal translation Language 1
3 Faithful translation emphasizes 1

4 Semantic translation 11
5 Adaptation translation 26
6 Free translation 7
7 Idiomatic translation 14
8 Communicative translation 0
Table 1.1 Translation Strategies by Artilirikindo Website

No Translation Strategies Total

1 Word-for-word translation 4
2 Literal translation 0
3 Faithful translation 1
4 Semantic translation 9
5 Adaptation translation 6
6 Free translation 7
7 Idiomatic translation 6
8 Communicative translation 14
Table 1.2 Translation Strategies by Lirikliriksini Website
From the analysis above, the researcher compared the two translated song lyrics by
theory of Pickvance. As Pickvance (2005) said that comparative analysis has two
conventional types of comparative analysis, the first is focus on the explanation of differences
and the second is the explanation of similarities. Since the starting point of comparative
analysis as define here is the explanation of similarities and differences, so the conclusions to
draw are: 1) universalizing comparative analysis is used to make sense of similarities; 2)
universalizing comparative analysis is used to explain differences.
After analyzing the song lyrics the researcher draw conclusions from the results of
analysis. The comparison of song lyrics of two websites are:
1) Artilirikindo’s translator applies adaptation translations strategy but none of
communicative translations strategy applied and rely the on the word-for-word translation
strategies. The translations are more focused on emphasizing the Target Language. Through
these strategies, the translations attempt to express words in Source Language which does not
exist on Target Language but the translation seems to be clumsy and less readability. As we
can see that in the song lyrics that there are many words which is not a culture of the Target
Language. The translator used semantic strategies to translate the meaning as close as
possible to the Target Language. As the example below:

SL: I’ma hit you that 45, bullet hit yo neck round the bow tie
TL: Aku akan menembak mu dengan 45 (pistol 45 ACP), peluru memembus
lehermu di sekitar dasi kupu-kupu

The researcher is interested in discovering what level translators follow the English
text exactly and translate word-for-word the English lyrics. Using word as a basic of
comparison, the source texts were compared to the translations. Because of English and
Indonesian language are two closely related languages, the translator chose word-for-word
translations are relatively common. Another strategy of translator is that the translator applies
neutral/ less expressive word. Sometimes, it is possible to retain expressive meaning by
adding modifier.

2) Lirikliriksini offers different technique from Artilirikindo. The way they choose the
strategies can be seen on the table above that Lirikliriksini used more communicative
translation strategies to render the exact contextual meaning of the original in such a way that
both content and language are readily acceptable and comprehensible to the readers. There
are 14 occurrences in translating ‘Dat Stick’ song lyrics. This enable the translator avoid
word-for-word translation and the results is the translation is more comprehensible to the
readers. It can be seen from one of example below:

SL: Man, I don’t give a fuck about a motherfuckin’ po

TL: Bung, Bodo amat tentang polisi

From the example above, the translator translated the word ‘man’ as Bung. The word
Bung according to KBBI is abang (panggilan akrab kepada seorang laki-laki) which is made
the translation is natural and understandable to be read. The sentence ‘I don’t give a fuck’ is
translated bodo amat which used adapted translation strategies to express it in Target
However, there are some similarities strategies in translating the song lyrics. The
translator applies translation strategies dealing with non-equivalence at word level because
Source Language is not lexicalized in the Target Language, for example: the word ‘bitch’ is
translated as menyebalkan on the lyrics ‘Lookin’ like a thriller, film a bitch’. Thus the
translator might translate it in general word to be better but the context in this lyrics is in
Source Language which means translator must follow the contextual of the text.
All the professional translators agree that the translated text categorized a good
translation if: 1) the translated text is accurate from its meaning, the message from Source
Language as same as Target Language, 2) the translated text is expressed with some
principles which exists in Target Language and it’s not contradicted with norms and cultures
of Target Language, 3) the translated text can be easily understand by target readers. Those
three parameters are also known as accuracy, acceptability, and readability. According to
Nababan (2012), accuracy is a term used in evaluating translations to refer the Source
Language text and Target Language Text are already matched or not. The term accuracy is
refer to the translation which is appropriate with rules, norms, and cultures which is occurred
in Target Language whether it is micro or macro translations. On the other hand, the term
readability refers to how easy or hard the translations to be understood. In this context, the
term readability it’s not only about Source Language, but also the readability of Target
Equivalence refers to the case where languages describe the same situation by
different style or structural. Equivalency is one of the keys to determine where the translation
is good or bad. Catford (in Hatim and Munday, 2004) said that a translation is equivalent in
different degrees (equivalent in context, semantics, grammar, lexis, etc) and different ranks
(word-for-word, phrase-for-phrase, sentence-for-sentence). Another opinion comes from
Nida and Taber which the equivalency is divided into two, formal equivalency and dynamic
equivalency. The formal equivalency is focuses on the message itself both form and content.
Formal equivalence consists of Target Language which represents the closest equivalence of
Target Language either words, phrases, or sentence. Therefore, the formal equivalency will
not easily understand by readers. Different from formal equivalency, the dynamic
equivalency is the relation between receptor and the message which should be substantially
same as the original receptors and the message. In other words, the dynamic equivalence is
the contextual translation which follows the rules of the Source Language.
According to the analysis of the translated ‘Dat Stick’ song lyrics, the translations by
Artilirikindo are categorized as acceptability and readability. This categorized is based on the

applied strategies they used from Source Language to Target Language. The most
contribution techniques to make the translation are acceptability is the use of idiomatic,
semantic and adaptation strategies. The readability of this translation is good enough; the
whole translations can be understood even though some lyrics are not understandable.
However the accuracy of this translation is far from good. There are many missed translations
which made the translated song lyrics seems clumsy.
Based on the comparison above, translation from Lirikliriksini can be categorized as
acceptable and readability. The clarity of the translations, mostly, is comprehensible and well
written, regardless of the aesthetics value. The use of adaptation strategies, for example: the
pronoun is adapted to Indonesian culture which is translated as lu, gue, bung and etc whereas
the Artilirikindo is translated as aku, kamu, dia. The translation by Lirikliriksini seems to be
natural and sounds like the Target Language. The uses of communicative strategies are the
key of the naturalness which this translation become more readability for readers. However,
this accuracy of translation is not good enough but it is not as bad as Artilirikindo. The
translations need to be improved and rewritten in Target Language. The translator needs to
know both culture in Source Language and Target Language.

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