Still Alive in Engrish

By JoCo November 2, 2007

Here’s a video of a Japanese “virtual idol” singing Still Alive. This is a computer voice doing a cover of a song that was originally done by another computer voice. My head hurts.


Frith Ra says

She isn't even moving much less singing. Its just a picture with a kinda creepy mix thingy added to it.

All I can really say about this is W... T... F...

PonderousMan says

Oh my oh my. WTF indeed!

So I gather that this is done using some japanese voice synthesizer?

Which leads to the question, what other voice synths could we program to sing the song?

Hmmm... this has some very interesting potential, but it also raises a non-trivial legal/ethics issue... while "still Alive" is NOT covered under JoCo's standard Creative Commons licensing, "parodies" of it are just an exercise of free speech, right?

JoCo, any chance we'll see this work released to Creative Commons or any sort of flexible licensing at any point? Or is that all up to Valve at this point?

Janet says

Those don't sound like computer voices to me. They sound like Japanese teenagers.

Molly says

That just broke my brain.

mark says

that is the goddamn cutest thing i've ever seen in my life!

Natascha says

I too got a headache from the sheer concentration it took to understand 5 words (if that many).

pattay says

what a world :)

i'm grinning my ass off at 'zah wuzajoe hahah fuh shanse!'

Ewen says

If I'm not mistaken, it was done with Vocaloid, a voice synthesizer program that's become popular with otaku in Japan. There are zillions of other songs made with it on YouTube too. Of course, it's made for singing in Japanese, so English (and most other languages) comes out... weird.

Janet says

So what's the input for Vocaloid? Is it written lyrics?

Tsujiku says

The input is probably Japanese hiragana/katakana characters, which would work fairly well, considering their phonetical representation is pretty much standard. It may have extra options for non-standard phonetics in Japanese as well.

Jeremy Williams says

Sure, I was only catching roughly 1 in every 4 words, but considering how much of that song is made up of sounds like.. l... and v.. that don't exist in japanese..
At least it held a tune?

bearfoot says

Just for the record, the orginal was not a computer voice. They actually had, I hear, a classicaly trained singer do all the voicework for the computer.

Just a FYI..

It was however, digitally altered ot make it sound more like a computer.

Nycteris says

And THIS is when I realized I'm so happy I read your blog.

Radien says

Congratulations, mister JoCo, you now have a fanbase in Japan.

So, planning on doing a concert in Tokyo anytime soon? *grin*

Carrie says

Oh wow. Hey, so was this done by a Japanese fan or did someone stateside manage to snag a copy of Vocaloid 2 ... do you know? (I've been sort of wanting to get my hands on it myself, haha...)

Anyway.. Yes. The original voice is a rather popular voice actress whose name I can't recall for the life of me. As is to be expected from a Japanese program, her simulated Japanese is fairly fluid.. but her english pretty much sounds like this. Still pretty neat,though.

Jon Who says

If I remember what JC said correctly the song is *currently* under Valve's control so....

However I don't see why if-since he wrote it-JoCo was to release his own version of the song, under the CC license, why parodies wouldn't be legal. So long as they claim that they were parody-ing the JoCo version.

Hehehehe, potential loopholes.

Radien says

Japanese is a very syllable-based language, and it's possible to boil most of its pronunciations down to a series of sounds consisting of only one-, two-, and three-letter combinations, all (except one) of which end in vowels. That being the case, English words written in Japanese tend to get pretty weird.

Still Alive -> sutiru alaivu

(and even that is assuming the reader pronounces the T, L, and V correctly)

As for releasing his own version, I'm willing to be JoCo thought about that before making the deal. Whether or not he is free to do so depends on the nature of his agreement, I guess. If anything, though, it'd be a promotional for the game. I probably wouldn't have known jack about Portal if it weren't for this song.

Stacey Leggieri says

As far as I know, you can't release another version of the same song under a different copyright scheme. You'd be violating the original copyright.

This is a somewhat hilarious problem. JoCo has stumbled upon another relative hit, but he can't advertise it as he normally would. And I can only assume that Valve hasn't responded to any requests to release it himself or let him release his own version.

So what does the internet do? Obvious! Everyone in the world except JoCo is ripping off the song anyway. Strikes me as a bit sad, really.

Gazeteler says

Great performance;) Watchin again and again.

Maurice J. says

Holy dog shit! Wow....


Jon Who says

It is a crying shame. What if JoCo rips it and someone else steals the glory. Copyright I think is just far too confusing because technically most covers shouldn't be allowed.

Nanashi says

Hatsune Miku (the Vocaloid here) is very hard to configure to sing in English properly, so this is as good as it gets really.
Sweet Ann, the English counterpart, will probably be more fit for the job :)

Also, the the maker of the original video uploaded on Nico Nico saw this blog entry apparently.

Markus says

"Those don’t sound like computer voices to me. They sound like Japanese teenagers."

Same thing.

Steve Mansell says

Oh , I'm laughing so very hard right now but that was also very unsettling at the same time.