The High Five Challenge

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High Five Challenge

¡Dame cinco! or… ¡Chócala!

When we were recording our last session of Habla Blah Blah music in Mexico, some of my previous “translating” errors became glaringly embarrassing causes for continuous chuckling at the studio. I turned to Maria (Sánchez Lozano), one of our female Spanish singers, and I said in my coolest purr, “¡dame cinco!” She, honestly, just looked at me. In perfect English, she said, “What do you mean?”

It turns out that “Give me five!” doesn’t translate! The intention does. The meaning does, but the words? No. The phrase is a colloquialism. It’s slang that differs by region and culture, though all people in the world practice some form of this casual communication… bumping knuckles, slapping skin, etc. After laughing at my naiveté, we translated, or better termed, we deciphered the correct phrase for it in Spanish and then French.

Tope là, in French, loosely translates to ‘touch this’, but it’s slang, so don’t try to find it in the dictionary. Fascinating, right? I started getting really excited… how would this translate in Greek? Russian? Chinese? Hindi? How cool would it be if you knew how to say the equivalent of “Slap me some skin, brother” or “Give me five” in any language. You could travel the world with your children and instantly offer signs of peace to strangers in a casual way. It would be a gateway phrase into another culture, another family, a new friendship!


Flash forward about a year later, and here we are. We want to do this, but we need help. We need people. We need YOUR expertise and connections. It gives me goose bumps (another phrase that I love to translate across languages because it doesn’t translate verbatim) to think of the possibility of assembling a collection of HIGH FIVEs across as many languages as possible. Send this to all of your friends! Go viral!! Let’s translate this song to as many languages as possible and put together a HIGH FIVE album that celebrates world peace and communication.

Here is a link to all of the downloadables that you’d need in English, Spanish, French – the music, the lyrics, and the instrumental.

Can you translate? Or do you know someone who can? Can you sing it in another language? Please, please send it in… written, recorded, or filmed, and we will publish you. I treasure the nuances of any language, and I love that some meanings just don’t translate perfectly.

Help us make the HIGH FIVE project come to life and take the challenge!

{First photo by  TheModernGypsy. Second photo courtesy of Amy Conroy}

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