‘Joy to the World’ in Spanish

Translation uses poetic word order

Cathedral in Chiclayo, Peru, at Christmas.
The cathedral in Chiclayo, Peru, at Christmas.

Chiclayonortea / Creative Commons

For a joyful lift to your holidays, here's a Spanish-language version of Joy to the World, the classic Christmas carol. The hymn was originally written in English by Isaac Watts. A literal translation and translation notes are provided for Spanish students.

¡Regocijad! Jesús nació

¡Regocijad! Jesús nació, del mundo Salvador;
y cada corazón tornad a recibir al Rey,
a recibir al Rey. Venid a recibir al Rey.

¡Regocijad! Él reinará; cantemos en unión;
y en la tierra y en el mar loor resonará,
loor resonará, y gran loor resonará.

Ya la maldad vencida es; la tierra paz tendrá.
La bendición del Salvador quitó la maldición,
quitó la maldición; Jesús quitó la maldición.

¡Glorias a Dios cantemos hoy! Señor de Israel,
la libertad tú le darás y tú serás su Dios,
y tú serás su Dios, Señor, y tú serás su Dios.

Translation of Spanish Lyrics

Rejoice! Jesus was born, Savior of the world;
and each heart turn to receive the King,
to receive the King. Come to receive the King.

Rejoice! He will reign; let us sing in unison;
and in the the land and in the sea praise will echo,
praise will echo, and great praise will echo.

The evil now is conquered; the earth will have peace.
The Savior's blessing removed the curse,
removed the curse. Jesus removed the curse.

Today we sing glories to God! Lord of Israel,
You will give her liberty and You will be her God,
and You will be her God, Lord, and You will be her God.

Grammar and Vocabulary Notes

Regocijad: This is the familiar second-person plural imperative form (the vosotros form) of regocijar, which means "to rejoice." It isn't a particularly common verb. In everyday conversation, you're unlikely to hear familiar plural imperative forms of verbs much outside of Spain, as in Latin American the formal "you" (ustedes) is used even in informal contexts.

Nació: This is the third-person plural preterite of nacer, which has no one-word equivalent in English, meaning "to be born." Nacer is conjugated the same way as conocer.

Del mundo Salvador: In everyday speech or writing, you'd be much more likely to say "Salvador del mundo" for "Savior of the world." In music, however, there's considerably more latitude with word order to get the desired rhythm.

Tornad: Like regocijad, this is a plural-you command. Tornar typically means "to convert" or "to turn into," and it is used most frequently in a religious context. As you may have noticed, the vosotros imperative form of the verb is made simply by changing the final r of the infinitive to a d. And this is always true — there are no irregular verbs for this form.

Al: Al is one of only two contractions in Spanish, shortening a and el. The a here is the personal a, used because the direct object is el Rey, a person. (The other contraction is del, for de and el.)

Venid: From the verb venir.

Cantemos: From the verb cantar (to sing). This is the first-personal plural imperative form.

En unión: Although this phrase could be translated as "in union," "in unison" is used because of the context of choral singing.

Loor: This word is rare enough you won't find it in smaller dictionaries. It means "praise."

Resonará: Resonar means "to resound" or, more poetically, "to echo" or "to ring."

Gran: Gran is an example of apocopation, the shortening or clipping of certain adjectives when they immediately precede a noun. Although some adjectives are shortened only before masculine nouns, the singular grande is shortened whether masculine or feminine. Its meaning also changes from "large" to "great."

La maldad vencida es: This is another case of poetic word order. In everyday speech, you'd more likely say, "La maldad es vencida, "evil is overcome." This sentence is in the passive voice, not directly stating what overcomes evil.

Bendición: Blessing (ben- = good, -dición = saying, from the verb decir).

Quitó: Past tense of quitar, to remove.

Maldición: Curse (mal- = bad)

Señor: Although this word is often used as a courtesy title meaning the equivalent of "Mr.," it can also mean "Lord."

La libertad tú le darás: This and the remainder of the song is an example of personification. The pronoun le usually isn't used to refer to things, only to people. But here it refers to Israel, which has been personified. Le is an indirect pronoun; the direct pronoun here is libertad, that which is being given.