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Spanish Pop Study - An Attempted Translation of Dollar by Becky G and Myke Towers

During my ongoing vacation, I spent 2 hours on a youtube video bender listening to Spanish pop songs. I heard refined music performed by: Becky G, Bad Bunny, Natti Natasha, Ozuna, Rosalia, J. Balvin, Anuel AA, Jhay Cortez, and more. I went from song to song, picking the next video from one of youtube's recommendations. Working through the lyrics supplemented my usual studies1 - grammar exercises and speaking with my older Catholic landlord faltan slang practice. 2

Without further ado, my attempted translation of Dollar by Becky G and Myke Towers :


Becky G begins with the hook, letting Myke Towers know that she is not interested in the words-only-type.

Si tuviera un dólar cada vez (Cada vez)
Que tú me dices que me amas (¡Shoo!)
Estaría tomando té con la reina Isabel (La queen)
No pago mi renta con palabras, no valen nada (Ah)

If I had a dollar each time (each time)
That you told me you love me (shoo!)
I would be drinking tea with Queen Isabel. (The Queen)
I don't pay my rent with words, they're not worth anything.3

Tú tienes fama de picaflor (Pica, pica)
Pero conmigo eso no sirve, mi amor (No)
Tengo entrenado (Ey), el corazón (Corazón)
Y tus promesas no me llaman la atención (¡Shoo, shoo!)

You're known for being a player4 (playa, playa)
But that doesn't serve me, my love (No)
I trained (ey) my heart (heart)
And your promises don't call my attention. (shoo! shoo!)

Les dices lo mismo a las que se te atraviesan
Árbol que nace doblao nunca se endereza
No puedes tenerme (No, no)
No soy una de esas y eso a ti te jode la cabeza

You say the same to the girls who pass by you
A tree born bent never straightens
You can't have me
I'm not one of them, and that fucks with your head

Hook x2

Myke Towers responds to Becky G

Si te pagaran por cada vez que te hablaran
Ya tú fueras billonaria, tu rutina diaria
Seria ignorar todos los babosos
Que te van con la misma labia, los tienes con rabia

If you were paid for each time they talked to you5
You'd already be a billionaire,6 your daily routine
Would be to ignore all the creeps
That come to you with the same talk, you have them mad.

Si cobraras por foto
Hasta Donald Trump pidiera préstamo
Ella los DM no contesta, no
Puso que se separó de su novio
Y el Internet se cayó
Le tiran hasta los que no hablan español

If you were to charge for photos
Even Donald Trump would ask for a loan7
She doesn't answer DMs, no
She posted that she broke up with her boyfriend
And the internet fell down
They thrown themselves at her, even those that don't speak Spanish.

To be continued

  1. I listened to the songs while simultaneously reading the lyrics. A future exercise would be to try to transcribe the song before confirming the lyrics. []
  2. I learned las cinco doce (the 512) refers to Percocet 512, a muscle relaxant. And un picaflor (a hummingbird) is slang for a player. []
  3. The lyrics as reported by Google are "no vale nada" but this is likely incorrect because valer should be conjugated in the plural third person as valen, since it is "las palabras - the words" that are worth nothing. []
  4. Literally: You have the fame of a hummingbird. []
  5. Instead the correct translation may be "If you were paid for each time they talked about you" []
  6. I am uncertain about whether Ya tú fueras billonaria is translated correctly. Fueras is the imperfect subjunctive of "to be" so the line is literally translated to "Already you were (a) billionaire." But this does not make sense. So I chose to translate fueras in the indicative conditional. The point of confusion may be on 'ya'. Ya is loosely translated as "already." But it is really a different time adverb that has no equivalent in English. []
  7. Pidiera is another example of a verb where I'm confused as to why it is conjugated in the subjunctive imperfect. []

5 Responses to “Spanish Pop Study - An Attempted Translation of Dollar by Becky G and Myke Towers”

  1. whaack says:

    Corrections from looking at someone else's translation:

    "That you told me you love me" "That you tell me that you love me"
    (Wrong tense for to tell)

    "That doesn't serve me" "That doesn't work with me."
    (I translated me sirve literally, but the meaning is better captured as "work with me")

    "They thrown themselves at her, even those that don't speak Spanish." "They throw you to those who do not speak Spanish"

    I considered the other translation, "They throw you to those who do not speak Spanish" but that did not make sense to me. So I concur this is likely the correct translation, but I would like to figure out the meaning.

  2. BingoBoingo says:

    re: footnote 3, this is one of those things where how the language is used in practice gets ambiguous. One of the more common evaluations I see the locals here taking with regularity is whether something is going to "Vale la pena" or not. I suspect, if pressed on grammar Becky G would either advance one of three lines:

    1. The mass of words you are taking for a plural is a singular.

    2. You're confused because you haven't mastered this part of the language.

    3. Omitting the 'n' was a lyrical necessity.

    In practice, with respect strictly to the audio channel for conveying information, few people are going to notice whether the 'n' is there or not. Their brain's error correcting code will paper over it.

  3. Spanish has subjonctive/future in the past, as a sort of conditional tense. "You would already have been".

  4. whaack says:

    @ BingoBoingo

    Listening to the song it is quite hard to tell whether or not she is saying vale or valen. Also, I've seen mixed results from posted lyrics - some write "vale" and others write "valen"

    @ Mircea Popescu

    I see. So the translation of the "imperfect subjunctive" is quite different based on context.

  5. [...] Continued from part 1 Yo sé que hay muchos en fila Y que te cansaron las mentiras, deja que el destino decida Tú estás por encima, siempre por mi mente desfilas No hay otra parecida, que tú eres única La foto viral a la que la haces pública Vámonos de vacaciones pa' la República Con una como tú uno lo que quiere es turistear, Pero ella me tumba el plan Myke Towers, baby [...]

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