Lost in translation? Here’s what some of your favourite foreign-language songs are actually about

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You’d struggle to find someone who hasn’t heard Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s ‘Despacito’. 2017’s song of the summer, it’s also the most streamed song of all time, racking up 4.6 billion plays. But not even Justin Bieber himself, whose guest verses turned this into a monster hit, knows the lyrics.

Translated into English, ‘Despacito’’s lyrics are surprisingly steamy. Obviously this is a love song – it doesn’t take a linguist to work that out. But reinterpreted into English, the most streamed song ever asks: “Let me trespass your danger zones,” and claims: “I want to breathe in your neck slowly.”

Foreign-language crossover hits are great – there’s nothing quite like falling in love with a song in which you know absolutely none of the words. But ‘Despacito’ isn’t the only smash hit to pack surprises when translated.

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