Sunday, June 22, 2014

English translation for "Placentero nos es trabajar"

As a missionary in Guatemala in 1995-1997, I wrote an English translation of the popular Spanish LDS hymn "Placentero nos es trabajar". This version is as literal as I could figure out how to make it while retaining rhyme and meter. I have to admit that even using recent Internet information, I have some trouble finding even the best translation ignoring the musical concerns for a few parts, but I've done my best anyway. The version here is updated some from my original effort. I'm actually working from memory right now, so it might vary some even from previous versions.

There seems to be some additional background on the song here and here.

Anyway, I hope this turns out to be of value to someone someday:

In the vineyard of Jesus our King,
Working hard is for us a delight,
And in honor we'll preach and we'll bring
To his people his law and his light.
For his light, for his light,
In the vineyard of Jesus our King,
For his light, for his light,
We will die in his work as we sing.

Listen ye to the word of the Lord,
With the loy'lty and fervor thereof,
And fore'er in your hearts do record
All his purity, truth, and his love.
With his love, with his love,
Listen ye to the word of the Lord.
With his love, with his love,
Take ye hold of the banner of God.

Oh, dear brothers and sisters, farewell,
For the moment to go now impends.
If in God we by faith persevere,
Past the veil we shall still meet again,
Meet again, meet again!
Oh, dear brothers and sisters, farewell!
Meet again, meet again.
With our God in his love we shall dwell.


  1. Thanks so much for this. My son is serving in a Spanish speaking mission here in the states and wrote us that this is his favorite hymn. It is so nice to know what the translation is.

  2. You're very welcome! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Came in handy for me today. Thank you, Tom.

  4. Thanks, Tom. I'm using your English lyrics for the opening hymn in our Consejo de Lideres in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mision. Love your translation.

  5. I am so thankful to have found this. My daughter is a missionary serving in Mexico City and just sang this in sacrament meeting with 3 other sisters. She also said that this is her favorite hymn. I wanted to know if there was an English translation, and you have done that for me beautifully!

  6. I'm very happy you enjoy it!

  7. You know of course this is a popular Protestant hymn "In the Sweet Bye and Bye"
    But I like your translation too.

    1. Thanks for adding that detail here! I've read the history on Wikipedia and other referenced pages. If correct, it's a very interesting story. Placentero is derivative in the nature of the text (and the music), but it has poetic structure beyond the original, and some of the messages are different, too.

  8. This is wonderful. I also served in Guatemala and loved singing this hymn. I hope you will submit your work for consideration in the new hymn book. I would love to see it there: