Malinda Kathleen Reese

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Malinda Kathleen Reese
Personal information
Bornc. 1994 (age 27–28)[1]
Washington, D.C., United States
EducationVassar College[2]
  • Youtuber
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Instrumentalist
  • Actress
YouTube information
Also known asMALINDA[3]
ChannelsTwisted Translations
Years active2014–present (Twisted Translations)
2018 – present (MALINDA)
Subscribers1.2 million (Twisted Translations)[4]
287,000 (MALINDA)[5]
Total views
  • 198 million (Twisted Translations)[4]
  • 18 million (MALINDA)[5]
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2014 (Twisted Translations) 2019 (MALINDA)
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2019 (Twisted Translations)
Musical career
Years active2018–present
Associated actsPomplamoose[6]
Updated September 14, 2020

Malinda Kathleen Reese (born c. 1994) is an American YouTube personality, singer-songwriter and stage actress.[6] She is best known as Twisted Translations on YouTube, in which she and her team creates songs and performances from song lyrics and other texts that have been translated through multiple languages and back into English using Google Translate, which has over one million subscribers.[4] She releases original music and vlogs on her secondary channel, MALINDA. Her debut is a 2018 EP, Love Letter. In addition, she has performed in numerous theatre plays in the Washington DC area, including playing Girl in the musical Once, for which she won a Helen Hayes Award in 2020.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Malinda Kathleen Reese was born in Washington DC, where she was also raised.[8]  She is the only child of Mary Hall Surface, a teacher and playwright, and Kevin Reese, an actor.[9] She recalls spending much of her youth backstage during theater performances, and spending time in costume shops. As a teenager, she went to Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and Broadway Artists Alliance in New York City.[8][9]

She learnt to play the Irish flute at the age of thirteen, having been "drawn" to the instrument from a young age.[6] She is also able to play guitar, ukulele, electric piano, cajón and classical flute.[6]

Reese attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. and attended at Vassar College, New York; she initially studied cognitive science,[9] before switching to Drama, which she majored,[8] and Religion, which she minored. She also studied drama in London in 2014.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Malinda Kathleen Reese has lived in New York City since 2019.[11]

She describes her relationship with religion as "complicated", and connects with religion through music, having sung in a church choir for twelve years.[12] She was born and raised Episcopalian, but attended a Quaker school, so considers herself to be a "combo thereof".[12]

In a 2020 video, she revealed that she has Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).[13]



Twisted Translations[edit]

Twisted Translations (formerly Google Translate Sings and Translator Fails) is Malinda Kathleen Reese's initial YouTube channel, in which she inserts song lyrics and other texts through many different languages within Google Translate, which has been subjected to memes in Internet culture, before translating it back into English, to produce unusual and humorous alternate phrases. She then uses these phrases to create a parody of the song or text.[10][2]

She came up with the idea of Twisted Translations while she was a student at Vassar College. After watching a video of "Let It Go" sung in various languages, she noticed that the Spanish translation wasn't exact. Her college friends began using Google Translate to create humorous alternatives to famous works of literature, inspiring Reese to do the same with song lyrics.[9][14] Her first translation video was uploaded on February 10, 2014, and quickly went viral, amassing one million views within a week.[15] On February 14, she announced on YouTube that she would create more translation videos. Other Twisted Translations songs include songs from Mulan,[16] "One Day I'll Fly Away" from Moulin Rouge![9] and "Hello" by Adele.[17][18] In her Twisted Translations song videos, she often dresses as the character or singer of the song.

MALINDA channel[edit]

In 2018, she launched another YouTube channel, MALINDA, which contains vlogs,[19] song covers, and comedic songs, as well as her original songs.[8] In March 2019, the channel surpassed 100,000 subscribers.[5]


In 2018, Reese launched her singing career. Her debut EP, Love Letter, was released on September 14, 2018.[8][20]

On May 15, 2020, she released the single "More With You", which involved a collaboration of more than 50 musicians from 17 countries.[3]

In 2021, she produced a cover of Wellerman as part of the ‘ShantyTok’ trend on TikTok. She had previously created a shanty-style song about puffins on her YouTube channel, featuring user-submitted lyrics.[21]

Singing in empty churches[edit]

Iglesia de la Incarnación, the church that Reese sang in.

In 2018, during a trip to Montefrío, Spain, she sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" impromptu in Iglesia de la Incarnación when it was empty, so the sound resonated.[19][22] Footage of the singing was uploaded to YouTube and went viral, to Reese's surprise. It was shared by Spanish news outlets and artists, including Alejandro Sanz.[23]

In 2019, she sang "How Can I Keep from Singing?" in Washington National Cathedral while empty.[24][25]


Malinda Kathleen Reese frequently performed as a child actor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.[8]

In 2017, Reese played the titular character in Ella Enchanted, a stage musical adapted from the book of the same name.[26][27] The play was directed by her mother, Mary Hall Surface.[28] DC Theatre Scene praised Reese's performance, calling it "truly enchanting".[29]

In 2019, she starred as "Girl" in the stage production Once at the Olney Theatre Center.[9][30] She received positive reviews. DC Metro Theatre Arts called her and Gregory Maheu, who portrayed "Guy", "standouts" and commented they "bring depth to both their solos and duets"[31] while Washington Post said she was "effectively direct".[32] Her performance won her a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress in a Musical[7][33] and a BroadwayWorld Washington, DC Awards for Best Actress in a Musical - Large Professional Theatre.[34]



Year Title Role Location
2016 The Second Shepherd’s Play Sheep/Ensemble Elizabethan Theatre, Folger Shakespeare Library,

Washington D.C.[33]

2017 Ella Enchanted Ella Adventure Theatre, Glen Echo, Maryland[33][26]
2017 Back to Methuselah: As Far as Thought Can Reach Ecrasia Undercroft Theatre, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Washington DC.[33]
2017 Drumming with Dishes Child Lab Theatre at Convergence, Arlington, Virginia[35]

Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington D.C.[33]

2018 The Skin of Our Teeth Gladys Source Theatre, Washington, D.C.[33]
2019 Once Girl Olney Theatre Center, Olney, Maryland.[33]


  1. Richman, Simmy (November 16, 2014). "Mind your language: Song lyrics literally lost in translation". The Independent. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Matthews, Cate (November 2, 2014). "'Let It Go' According To Google Translate Is A Hilarious Mess (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 19, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Translator Fails's YouTube stats". Social Blade. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "MALINDA's YouTube stats". Socialblade. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Customer Spotlight: Malinda Kathleen Reese". Sweetwater. December 25, 2019. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Floyd, Thomas (September 26, 2020). "As D.C. theater honors the best of 2019, actors long for a return to the stage". Washington Post. Retrieved November 23, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 "MALINDA". Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Himes, Geoffrey (February 7, 2019). "A locally grown YouTube star returns to the stage in Olney's 'Once'". Washington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Richman, Simmy (November 16, 2014). "Mind your language: Song lyrics literally lost in translation". The Independent. Retrieved May 18, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Reese, Malinda Kathleen (November 9, 2019). "I moved to New York (story + music + apartment tour)". YouTube. Retrieved May 27, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Reese, Malinda Kathleen (December 7, 2019). "the story of my most viral video (crazy acoustics church)". YouTube. Retrieved July 13, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. Reese, Malinda Kathleen (August 29, 2020). "My eating disorder you've never heard of". YouTube. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Reese, Malinda Kathleen (2014-02-10). ""Let It Go" from Frozen according to Google Translate (PARODY)". YouTube. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  15. "Malinda Kathleen Reese '16: Singing a New Tune". Vassar Info. Vassar College. July 29, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. Kennard, Koster (October 4, 2016). "UTubers: Mulan gets Google translated". Deseret News. Retrieved June 4, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  17. Locker, Melissa (February 19, 2016). "Google's Translation of Adele's 'Hello' Is Gloriously Weird". Time. Retrieved June 4, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  18. "How Not to Use Google Translate". Learning English. VOA News. April 19, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Megan, Briggs. "Hear What It Sounds Like to Sing in a Church With Perfect Acoustics". Church Leaders. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  20. "Love Letter". Genius. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  21. Hendler, Micah. "Meet The Wellermen Taking TikTok Sea Shanties To The Top Of The Charts". Forbes. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  22. Macdonald, Kyle (August 10, 2020). "Vocalist sings an ancient hymn in an empty Pantheon-style church, with awe-inspiring 6-second acoustic". Classic FM. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  23. "El Ave cantado en una iglesia vacía que pone los pelos de punta [in Spanish]". La Voz de Asturias. November 24, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  24. Hugue, Juston (January 24, 2020). "Woman Sings 'How Can I Keep From Singing' In An Empty Church And It's Hauntingly Beautiful". Retrieved June 2, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  25. "Girl Singing Gospel Song In Cathedral Will Cover You In Chills". April 16, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Quattlebaum, Mary (February 7, 2017). "'Enchanted' novel comes to life in a new musical". Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  27. Minter Jackson, Debbie (February 9, 2017). "Exciting. Electric. Enchanting. Ella Enchanted at Adventure Theatre MTC (review)". Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  28. Press, Allie (February 6, 2017). "Review: 'Ella Enchanted' at Adventure Theatre". DC Metro Theatre Arts. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  29. Jackson, Debbie Minter (February 9, 2017). "Exciting. Electric. Enchanting. Ella Enchanted at Adventure Theatre MTC (review)". DC Theatre Scene. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  30. Abramson, Andra (February 10, 2019). "Review: 'Once' at Olney Theatre Center". DC Metro Theatre Arts. Retrieved June 3, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  31. Abramson, Andra (February 11, 2019). "Review: 'Once' at Olney Theatre Center". DC Metro Theater Arts. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  32. Pressley, Nelson (February 13, 2019). "Review | The musical 'Once' sounds fit as a fiddle at Olney Theatre". Washington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 33.6 "Malinda Kathleen Reese". Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  34. BWW News Desk (January 17, 2020). "Winners Announced For 2019 BroadwayWorld Washington, DC Awards". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  35. Aymar, E.A (October 10, 2017). "Review: 'Drumming with Dishes' at Arts on the Horizon". DC Metro Theatre Arts. Retrieved January 14, 2021.

External links[edit]

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