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Misheard Lyrics / Phonetic Translations / Buffalaxing

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Updated Jun 10, 2022 at 03:19PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 01, 2009 at 01:49PM EDT by Chris Menning.

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Phonetic Translations, also known as Misheard Lyrics, are song lyrics that have been transcribed in mondegreen, or misinterpreted translations from other languages. Various music videos featuring animations and slideshows of the transcribed songs have been widely shared online since the early 2000s.


The earliest known flash animation featuring phonetically translated lyrics was titled "Hatten är din" and posted online[2] on January 18th, 2001 (shown below). The animation included the Arabic song "Habeetik" by the Lebanese musician Azar Habib accompanied by phonetically translated lyrics in Swedish.


In February of 2001, animutation creator Neil Cicierega uploaded a flash video titled "Hyakugojyuuichi!" (shown below) to the website Albino Blacksheep.[1] The animation consists of an audio track from the Japanese version of the Game Boy role-playing game Pokemon accompanied by English phonetic translations of the Japanese lyrics.

After the launch of YouTube in 2005, many users began uploading phonetically translated music videos to the video-sharing site. On July 11th, 2006, YouTuber Kewen uploaded a slideshow of misheard lyrics for the 2000 song "WishMaster" by the symphonic metal band Nightwish (shown below, left). Within the first seven years, the video received upwards of 11.8 views and 25,000 comments. On September 20th, 2007, YouTube YooTomb uploaded a video titled "Sit and Fart in my Duck," featuring an English phonetic translation of a song from a Dutch children's television show (shown below, right).

On February 7th, 2008, YouTuber K SB uploaded a video titled "Benny Lava," featuring a musical scene from a Bollywood film with phonetically translated English subtitles (shown below, left). In the following six years, the video received over 4.4 million views and 7,900 comments. On September 4th, 2009, YouTuber Robert Ian Hawdon uploaded a captioned phonetic translation of Joe Cocker's performance of the song "With a Little Help From My Friends" from the 1969 Woodstock festival (shown below, right), which accumulated upwards of 3.03 million views and 2,300 comments in the next four years.

On December 18th, 2010, YouTuber coldmirror uploaded an English phonetic translation of the song "Ljepota Ti Carigrad Valjase" by the Croatian pop star Senad Nikocevic (shown below, left). In four years, the video gained over 2.07 million views and 5,000 comments. On December 11th, 2011, YouTuber Snoopey0 submitted a video containing phonetic captions for a trailer for the game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (shown below, right), accumulating more than 700,000 views and 4,800 comments in the first three years.

On January 31st, 2012, Redditor jweese submitted a post to the /r/AskReddit[5] subreddit asking users to share their best misheard song lyrics, which gathered over 480 up votes and 1,600 comments prior to being archived. On May 11th, YouTuber FamishedMammal uploaded an animated phonetic translation of the musical version of the poem "O Fortuna" by composer Carl Orff (shown below). In the next 15 months, the video accumulated more than 4.13 million views and 7,800 comments. Three weeks later, Redditor L3bkuchen submitted the video to the /r/videos[4] subreddit, where it garnered upwards of 3,200 up votes and 200 comments prior to being archived.

Notable Examples

Search Interest

External References

[1] Albino Blacksheep – Hyakugojyuuichi

[2] Wayback Machine – Hatten ar Din

[3] Wikipedia – Hatten ar din

[4] Reddit – O Fortuna Misheard Lyrics

[5] Reddit – Whats Your Best Misheard Lyrics

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