For my first assignment this week, I decided to complete the “Buffalax!” assignment in the DS106 Assignment Bank. This assignments calls you you to take a video in a language other than English and give it English captions. I knew from the start I wanted to used the music video for Nena’s “99 Luftballons” since it one of my favorite non-English songs. “99 Luftballons” is a song from 1983 that became a hit in the United States. It actually peaked #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1984, which I know from listening to old reruns of American Top 40 on the radio. I’ve known this song for years and consider it to be one of my favorite ones from the 1980s. There’s an English version too, “99 Red Balloons,” but I personally don’t think it’s as good. Plus the English version isn’t a direct translation of the German version.
“99 Luftballons” is an antiwar song based on events during the Cold War. The gist of the song is someone released ninety-nine balloons into the air and a missile target defense system mistook them for enemy missiles and fired on them, destroying the country in the process. It’s a very dark song once you know the meaning behind it, but it’s still a favorite of mine. For this assignment, I choose to translate the German lyrics into English using Google Translate. After downloading the original German music video from YouTube, I then captioned the video with the translated lyrics. This was actually a bit harder than I originally thought it would be because I’m not fluent in German. I had to listen to the song over and over again to understand the German words enough to put certain translated lyrics in. On the plus side, I learned some German while doing this assignment! I can probably sing it in German now, which makes me happy!
The final product is posted on Vimeo since the YouTube copyright police shut me down before I even got done uploading the video. Thankfully Vimeo is a bit more lenient. Please check it out, and let me know what you think down below!