Some of you may have Japanese editions of Queen albums, and wondered about the Japanese text in the track listings. Most of the time, it's a phonetic approximation of the English song title using Japanese; so, for example, "The Hitman" is written out as "Za Hittoman" in Japanese characters.
Other times, however (and almost randomly, it seems), the song title is given a new Japanese title that is not simply a phonetic double of the English. For example, the "It's a Hard Life" has a Japanese title which means "Vow of Eternity". In a minority of cases, a song has a phonetic approximation as its main title, and then a secondary title in Japanese written between two "~"s. An example of this is One Vision, which is listed as "One Vision [written phonetically] ~Only One World~ [translated from Japanese]".
I've always been interested in this, so I decided to go through the album and song titles that have original Japanese translations, and translated them back to English. Here you go:
Queen (debut album) - The Princess of Horror
Keep Yourself Alive - Rock'n'Roll of Flames
Seven Seas of Rhye - The Shining Seven Seas
Father to Son - From Father to Son
The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke - The "Fairy Feller"'s Divine Skill
Sheer Heart Attack
Lily of the Valley - Lily of the Valley (literally, as in a lily that is found in a valley, and not the name of the flower)
In the Lap of the Gods - The Work of the Gods
Bring Back that Leroy Brown - "Leroy Brown"
A Night at the Opera - Night of the Opera House
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon - An Empty Sunday
The Prophet's Song - The Prophet's Song
A Day at the Races - The Splendid Races
Somebody to Love - Everything to/for Love
Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy - Dear "Lover Boy"
Drowse - Wandering Around
Teo Torriatte - Holding Each Other's Hands
News of the World - Dedicated to the World
We are the Champions - Legendary Champions
Spread Your Wings - Wings of Eternity
Fight from the Inside - Flames Hidden Within
Sleeping on the Sidewalk - A Hollow Life
Who Needs You - The Whereabouts of Love
If You Can't Beat Them - Beaten
Leaving Home Ain't Easy - The Home that's Hard to Let Go
Another One Bites the Dust - Take Them to Hell
Need Your Loving Tonight - Angel of Night
All translations are literal (ex. Execution of Flash - Execution of Flash), with the exception of Battle Theme - Space-war Theme
Life is Real (Song for Lennon) - "Life is Real" ~Dedicated to Lennon~
Las Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love) - "Las Palabras De Amor" ~The Words of Love~
It's a Hard Life - Vow of Eternity
Machines (Or 'Back to Humans') - "Machine World"
I Want to Break Free - "Break Free" ~Setting Off for Freedom~
Keep Passing the Open Windows - Everything Especially for/to Love
Is This the World We Created...? - A Sad World
A Kind of Magic - "Kind of Magic"
One Vision - "One Vision" ~Only One World~
A Kind of Magic - "Kind of Magic"
One Year of Love - The Days With Love
Pain is Close to Pleasure - The Path to Happiness
Friends Will be Friends - The Bonds of the Heart/Spirit/Soul
Who Wants to Live Forever - "Live Forever"
Khashoggi's Ship - Khashoggi's Ship
Was it All Worth It - A Magnificent Rock'n'Roll Life
I'm Going Slightly Mad - An Overture to Madness
All God's People - Gods' People [yes, as in belonging to more than one God, even though the placement of the apostrophe in the English title indicates one God; the translation could have been an error, mistaking "God's" for "Gods'", perhaps due to the "All" in front]
These Are the Days of Our Lives - Shining Days
Delilah - My Dear Delilah
The Show Must Go On - "Show Must Go On"
Made in Heaven
No translation. I Was Born to Love You is sometimes seen as "Born To Love You".
The Cosmos Rocks
Time to Shine - Now is the Time to Shine
Small - "Small" ~Tranquility of the Heart~
Warboys - Boy-Soldiers' Battlefield
I took a look at the Japanese lyrics for the talky bit in Keep Yourself Alive, and found that it was a spot on translation of the English. Do you remember where you saw a more interesting version?
Well, I guess it'd be pretty impressive to have an exact translation with the same number of syllables in both languages for ease of singing. The full line is "Te o toriatte kono mama ikou" which translates to "Let's keep going like this while holding hands" or "Let's hold hands and keep going like this". I guess "Let us cling together" sounds better than "Let's hold hands."
LOL. This reminds me of lists that I've seen of Star Trek episode titles translated back into English from various foreign versions of the show. IIRC Japan and Germany had the most hilarious translations.
I'm glad you guys enjoyed that. My personal favourite is "A Sad World."
I accidentally missed two from The Game:
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - A Desire Called Love
Don't Try Suicide - Suicidal Thoughts
Here are a few more, from solo careers:
Your Kind of Lover - The Bridge of Love
Man Made Paradise - Man's Paradise or Paradise of Men
There Must be More to Life Than This - The Proof of Existence
Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow - Love Without a Tomorrow
Back to the Light - "Back to the Light" ~Head towards the Light~
Resurrection - The Splendid Resurrection
Too Much Love Will Kill You - "Too Much Love Will Kill You" ~Love's Conclusion~
Nothin' But Blue - Blue Feelings
Last Horizon - Towards the Distant Horizon
Let Your Heart Rule Your Head - Follow Your Thoughts/Feelings
All tracks from Another World are transliterated, and not translated.
I can't find Roger Taylor Japanese stuff, except for Electric Fire, and all track titles are transliterated.
Tracks from Paul Rodgers's career performed with Queen were all transliterated.