Translating Tarkan’s “Yolla”
As I teach myself Turkish I am trying to watch television shows and music videos in Turkish to get a good sense of the rhythm and flow of the language. Because of the mention of “Tarkan” in the lessons I looked him up and found the song, “Yolla”, which I really like.
I am learning to sing with the YouTube video in Turkish and decided to also have a go translating it into English so I would truly understand what I am singing.
What follows are what I believe to be the original lyrics, followed by my “artistic” translation. Which is to say, I took the literal words into account as well as trying to paraphase in a way that sounded nice in English.
I’m not certain that I got everything right and I may have misunderstood some concepts but I’m hoping someone who knows both Turkish and English well enough to comment can correct me where I’m wrong or add some insight into the meaning.
Bir de baktım ki, o da ne? Sürü sürü bir sürü çile. Toplanmış geliyorlar, Güle oynaya yönüme.
Hani sözdü bundan böyle, Gülecektin yüzüme? Yazıklar olsun sana, Çelmeni taktın ya yine.
Ooooooooooooof! İçime içime ata ata. Pat, diye patlayacağım valla! Ooooooooooooof! Bu gidişle sonunda, Salacağım aklı çayıra
Yolla Yolla kaderim Yolla Acıları bana Yolla Ne de olsa, Dert babasıyım, ya ben
Vur ya Lafı mı olur Vur ya Düşene bi de sen Vur ya Ne de olsa, Sabır taşıyım, ya ben
Bendeki de can insanım en nihayetinde Tut, çek elimden ümidim, Uçurumun eşiğinde
Ah benim şu bağrı yanık kalbim Bir türlü gün yüzü göremedi Feleğin elinde oyuncak garibim Bir türlü saadet ne bilemedi
I look around me, what is all this? Masses and masses of troubles. Here they come to gang up on me. Gleefully they all come my way.
Didn’t you tell me that from now on, You would smile upon my face? Shame on you, You played me again.
Ugh! It’s all building up, bottled up inside. Boom, I swear I will explode! Ugh! At the end of this journey, I will lose my mind.
Bring it! Serve up my fate! Bring it! Bring on the pain! Bring it! After all, I am the father of pain, that’s me!
Hit me! Don’t mention it! Kick me when I’m down. Hit me! After all, I am the patient one, yeah, that’s me.
I am only human after all. Take hold of my hand, I’m about to go over the edge.
Ah, my dear, broken heart, Somehow it never saw the light of day. I’m nothing more than your plaything, All the happiness I’ll never know.
Thanks. I’m hoping it’s also reasonably correct.
There was a lot I had to suss out from looking up words in a number of different dictionaries and various online discussions since I am very early on in my studies of the language.
I also have some confusion over the fact that the original lyrics, which I found in several online sources, varied a bit.
For instance for the first line I found 3 different transcriptions;
Bide baktım ki o da ne.
Bi de baktım ki o da ne.
Bir de baktım ki o da ne.
I don’t really understand enough Turkish to discern which is correct. While I was able to figure out what the line probably means, I’m not sure which is the right way to say it in Turkish.
Perhaps they are all saying the same thing with some forms being a sort of contraction. These are the areas of speech a native speaker could help me to understand.
Bide baktım ki o da ne. (Street language) Like (Let's go or I'm goin')
Bi de baktım ki o da ne. (Street language)
Bir de baktım ki o da ne. (Gramatically correct)
Bu all of these phrases have exactly the same meaning. Turkish pop songs use idioms too much. Maybe Tarkan's songs from 90's is more simple to understand.
This song is really really hard for a foreigner to understand. There are so much idioms like "İçime içime ata ata" or "Dert babasıyım, ya ben". Your translation is really good. If I have the time I will correct the wrong parts.
Thanks for the explanation. I rather like that there are so many colorful phrases. You don’t get to understand these common phrases in Duo’s lesson on Turkish.
“Dert babasıyım” was an easy one for me because in English we often say “the mother of all _” You can fill in the blank with any word you wish to emphasis or make grander.
“İçime ata” was a struggle for me so I read the next line and figured out that he was going to “explode” so I figured out that it must be from so much being “taken in” or “bottled up”. So I made an educated guess there.
The one phrase that I want to understand better is, “salacağım aklı çayıra”. I understood “aklı çayıra” as “weak tea” or quite possibly hot water that is being served as tea.
So it is clearly another idiom. I found someone who suggested that it meant to go crazy but I wanted to understand the reason for the idiom.
A couple ideas come to mind, either it suggests someone who boils water for tea, forgets to add tea leaves and serves it up as tea - therefore acting like a crazy person or the tea bag could represent the speaker’s sanity which has come under so much usage that it is like tea leaves that have been used too many times and are now weak.
I would love to hear about this expression.
The word "Çayır" has nothing to do with the "Çay".
But “salacağım aklı çayıra” as you said maybe means "to go crazy" or "i will stop too much thinking from now on". The logic behind it is hard to tell. There is no book explanation for this. I looked up.
Literally: "I will loose my mind to the grasslands"
In Turkish we say "aklımı kaçıracağım" (lit. my mind will run away") to express "I am going crazy". In another song "Aklımın iplerini saldım" phrase is used. Like this I think, the writer made it up on himself.
Think that the mind attached with a rope to your brain, and you loose the rope and voila "Aklımın iplerini saldım" :)
My English is not as good as to explain that kind of phrases I think :)
Wow! I was really off on that translation.
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain it to me.
You had translated really good. I am surprised that you are that good at understanding Turkish. If you continue you will get better. I can help you anytime.
Çok iyi tercüme etmişsin. Türkçeyi anlama konusunda bu kadar iyi olmana gerçekten şaşırdım. Eğer devam edersen daha da iyi olursun. Her zaman yardımcı olabilirim.
If I have enough time I can use a dictionary and work back and forth on a text to get a basic understanding but when I listen to Turkish I probably understand as much as a toddler. Basically I understand a few words here and there Most of the conversation flies over my head.
I have a neighbor who came here from Turkey and she is the reason I decided to try and learn Turkish. She has been in Turkey since April (visiting her mother) and will return in a week. My hope is that I can help her improve her English while learning her language bit by bit.
They all mean the same thing actually (like you said), but grammar wise the last sentence is the correct one. We native speakers sometimes drop the letter "r" in "bir" while speaking and some people do it in writing too. While not proper, it's not really a big deal I guess? Oh, one more thing, you can write it as " bi' ", with a single apostrophe to show you dropped the letter at the end. Then it's proper grammar wise.
Next thing is the "-de" suffix. It's written separately if it means "also", here's a link about it. https://ielanguages.com/turkish-particle-de-da.html
Hope I was able to help. I've just realized I don't really know the English equivalents of linguistic terms :) I liked your translation by the way, must have been difficult, considering he uses a lot of phrases & sayings in the song.
Thanks for that explanation! I suspected that they might all mean the same thing as in English we might say: “It is not” or “It isn’t” both correct English but also “It ain’t” which isn’t correct usage of the contraction, “ain’t” but popular nonetheless.
Thanks for the link, that information will help a lot.
Thank you. I see that your first language is Turkish and you are studying English.
I have been listening to this song a lot too, and it's interesting reading the translation (especially done by a fellow non-Turkish person)! Well done, I hope to one day listen to popular songs and derive their meaning like you did :)
Are you also a Tarkan fan or just the one song? I looked him up out of curiousity and then found myself watching music video after music video. He is quite the entertainer.
But please don’t get me wrong. There is no way I listened to that song and understood the meaning. It was because I liked the song that I went on a mission to slowly and painfully work on translating it.
I know I will do this again when I have time because it’s a great learning exercise and very rewarding. I’m trying to memorize the song in Turkish and sing it as well. I think that is also good language practice.
I like Tarkan, Yolla is definitely my favorite song by him though. But I listen to a LOT of Türkpop right now... Gülşen, Ayşegül Coşkun, Onurr, Bengü and Murat Boz to name a few.
I have used lyricstraining.com to translate a Gülşen song (bangır bangır) as well so I know what you mean .. sometimes I catch a few words in songs but mostly I have to look it up :)
Thanks for your list of Türkpop artists and the link. I’m going to look them up and have a listen.
You could also listen to Edis (I love Yalan and Cok cok)
Simge (Ben bazen and Yanki)
Aleyna Tilki (Sen olsan bari, Yalniz cicek and Cevapsiz cinlama as well as Dipsiz kuyum)
Ilyas Yalcintas- he has a beautiful voice (Yagmur, Sehrin yolu and Gel be gokyuzum)
I have load more that I love listening to but I cant seem to remember them right at this moment:L