Disney Songs in Different Languages
Disney is one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world, and many of their movies have been translated into countless languages. For example, 'Let it Go' from Frozen has been translated into 42 languages and dialects worldwide. Languages such as French, German, Japanese and Spanish are popular for many classic Disney songs. Here's a list of songs from various animated classics that sound just as good, if not better than the original English versions.
Be Prepared (The Lion King) - German
Jeremy Irons and Jim Cummings sang the original version of 'Be Prepared'; Jeremy Irons' voice gave out after the line 'you won't get a sniff without me!' / 'kein Krümelchen gibts ohne mich!' (2:10 on the video), and Jim Cummings took over.
The German version of this song, "Seid Bereit", is just as good, if not better, than Irons and Cummings'. It sounds deadly, scary and the vocalist does a great job of acting out Scar's evil intentions.
I Won't Say (Hercules) - French
They say that French is the language of love. Many people fell in love with Meg's character upon the release of Hercules in 1997, and her song about not wanting to admit she's in love with the hero is a popular tune that many girls (and even women) feel that they can relate to. The French version of this song seems to match Meg's sassy personality perfectly, and the vocalist has an undeniably beautiful voice. Have a listen.
A Whole New World (Aladdin) - Japanese
'A Whole New World' is an insanely popular Disney song in Japan, and it's easy to see why. Both Aladdin and Jasmine's actors have pleasant voices, making it a great duet.
There's something extremely sweet about the Japanese version - it's less corny than the English, but still with the romance.
Hellfire (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) - Norwegian
Norwegian is a gorgeous language with the toughness of German and also the linguistics of romantic languages. They mix to make an excellent version of one of the coolest (and most underrated) Disney songs ever - Hellfire. Frollo is agonising over his obsession with Esmeralda, a gypsy girl, and sings about either taking her for himself, or burning her for being a witch. A deliciously twisted and evil song that is doubly great in Norwegian.
When Will My Life Begin? (Tangled) - Mandarin Chinese
'When Will My Life Begin' is an upbeat, modern-sounding tune with a very dark underlying meaning - Rapunzel is stuck in her tower, and carries out different activities to pass her endless time until she can finally leave her prison and experience a free life. The soft, pleasant voice of the Chinese actress delivers the song very well, and also portrays one of the cutest Disney girls ever.
Savages (Pocahontas) - German
Another great German version of a dark but catchy song by Disney - "Savages", featured in Pocahontas, when the English and the native Americans decide to go to war, much to the dismay of Pocahontas herself and her lover, John Smith. It's a beautiful movie with some moving lyrics and great animation. This pre-war song, featuring many talented singers, sounds fantastic in German. Give it a listen.
One Jump Ahead (Aladdin) - Spanish
Another song from Aladdin is 'One Jump Ahead', which Aladdin sings when he's escaping the guards after snatching a loaf of bread. This version in Spanish, and sounds even more fun, carefree and cheeky than the English original.
Aladdin sounds great in other languages, but it's doubtful that there are any versions that can beat Robin Williams as the Genie.
Belle (Beauty and the Beast) - Swedish
More of our scandinavian cousins blew a Disney song out of the water - this time it's "Belle" (the first song with vocals in the film) featured in one of the most critically acclaimed Disney movies of all time, Beauty and the Beast. Belle sings about her boredom in the tiny town where she and her father live, and how she'd like a big adventure one day. The Swedish vocalist has a lovely voice, and the song is delivered very well.
If you love 'Let it Go' from the 2013 production Frozen, check out the video below, where the song is performed in full sequence in 25 different languages. It's extremely well-edited, and shows how many countries wanted to participate in the production of the movie.