Friday, April 28, 2006

U.S. State Department's National Anthem in Spanish

There is a lot of recent controversy over the Star Spangled Banner, the U.S. National Anthem, being sung in Spanish. The latest public figure to weigh in on it was none other than George W. Bush, as this BBC News article explains:


George Bush has entered a row about the US national anthem, criticising a Spanish version featuring Wyclef John and Gloria Trevi.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," he said when asked at a news conference.

However, the U.S. State Department gives the Spanish-speaking world help by translating the U.S. National Anthem into Spanish:

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Himno nacional - La Bandera de Estrellas



Amanece: ¿no veis, a la luz de la aurora,
Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?
Sus estrellas, sus barras flotaban ayer
En el fiero combate en señal de victoria,
Fulgor de cohetes, de bombas estruendo,
Por la noche decían: "!Se va defendiendo!"

Coro:
!Oh, decid! ¿Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada?

En la costa lejana que apenas blanquea,
Donde yace nublada la hueste feroz
Sobre aquel precipicio que elévase atroz
¡Oh, decidme! ¿Qué es eso que en la brisa ondea?
Se oculta y flamea, en el alba luciendo,
Reflejada en la mar, donde va resplandeciendo

Coro:
!Aún allí desplegó su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada!

¡Oh así sea siempre, en lealtad defendamos
Nuestra tierra natal contra el torpe invasor!
A Dios quien nos dio paz, libertad y honor,
Nos mantuvo nación, con fervor bendigamos.
Nuestra causa es el bien, y por eso triunfamos.
Siempre fue nuestro lema "¡En Dios confiamos!"

Coro:
!Y desplegará su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada!

(Versión en español de Francis Haffkine Snow. Copyright 1919)

You would think that if there is a problem with singing it in Spanish, the song wouldn't be translated multiple times and posted on a website run by the U.S. government. The truth is that it is indeed "Nuestra Himno", and that means all of us, no matter what langauge we speak or where we come from. It is a song for all Americans. Either that, The Star Spangled Banner is just a remake of a British drinking song named To Anacreon in Heaven.

20 comments:

Hoosier X said...

The first thing I heard when I got to work this morning:

"Did you hear they're changing the national anthem?"

This from a lady who really hates Bush.

She and another co-worker were just shocked that I couldn't understand why they were outraged that the "Star-Spangled Banner" had been translated into Spanish. They were quibbling over the way the translation departs from the original, but they couldn't come up with any examples that changed the song in any substantial manner. Then they started mentioning God, and the way God meant for the anthem to be, and how it was all wrapped up with the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

Jesus de Christo! Imagine if they put half as much energy into something relevant. As if there aren't plenty of REAL outrages to be upset about, now we have to deal with more wingnutty political correctness.

(They got a little peeved when I said I couldn't understand their outrage. They weren't outraged. They were offended. There's a difference. Then they fled the room and I went back to the sports page.)

theboz said...

They think that God meant the national anthem to be in English? :-D

I would have guessed Hebrew or Latin if anything.

Tatra restorer said...

What is it about the phrase "illegal immigrant" that you don't understand? To spell it out for you: Few Americans are against legal immigration; illegals start their life in this country with a criminal act.

Stanley Sandler

Texan said...

Part of the process of naturalization is understanding a few things about America's history. And in general, the State Department wants others to have information about us. That's why the State Department puts information on their website in Spanish (and other languages). Hence the translation of our National Anthem.

To suggest that this means that Spanish is now an officially accepted language for singing our National Anthem in public is quite a stretch of the imagination. Please take note: the URL with that translation starts as "USINFO.state.gov" NOT as "USPOLICY.state.gov".

What next? Will the red, white, and blue in the American flag get replaced by Mexico's colors?

(Well, in one school in California they actually did yank down the US flag and put up a Mexican flag, but that's a different story...)

These are our National symbols. They should not be reconfigured to suit some other nationality.

Texan said...

I would add something to my previous comment.

Changing/altering a country's national symbols is an extremely inflammatory thing to do. This should be patently obvious.

Throughout history, when an invading force conquers a territory, they replace the flag with their own.

The National Anthem is a symbol of a country's national identity, arguably on par with the flag. True, translating it isn't the same as outright replacing it. But nonetheless, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Americans will perceive any attempt to alter or mutate their national symbols, especially to more closely resemble a different nationality, as a provocation.

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Anonymous said...

Ok, when I heard about this, I was so incredibly pissed off. How dare they try to change our National Anthem. That is OUR History. They have NO right to change it in ANY way. Even saying it in another language is unacceptable. You want to live in our country? Then learn English, and sing out Anthem the way it is supposed to be sung...or go back to where you cam from