Lost in Translation

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The objective of the first assignment was to manually mashup a text, whether through traditional text mashup techniques - text cut ups, n+7, etc - or through a method of our own devising. 

I thought about translation, about how the meaning of words and phrases can get lost as we transfer from language to language. Example: there are phrases in Oriya, the dialect my family speaks in India, that don't translate correctly to English, nor are there equivalents for some English/American English idioms in Oriya. Additionally, auto translation services such as Google Translate don't always get the translations correct - thus, the original piece's meaning can be lost. 

So I decided to mashup different translations of a Japanese song I've loved since high school - the title in English is A Town in Blue, by Asian Kung-Fu Generation. I searched for translations and found two of them, and line by line I alternated between the two to build a mashed up set of lyrics based on the cut up technique. Frequently I'd get a line-to-line matchup, but sometimes I ran into the problem where the lyrics were rearranged to make sense in English. I was forced to make some alterations, but for the most part I was able to directly alternate lines between translations.

Programmatically this would be tough to do unless the user were to upload two different translations, but then there would be no correcting the translation problems that I manually handled when there isn't a 1:1 line correlation in the translated lyrics. My purpose was to show how the meaning can get lost, but causing confusion is a layer of complexity that I would need to figure out