I'm trying to learn something about song structure. Reading the Wikipedia article about the subject I came across two terms that looked somewhat similar: chorus and refrain. There seemed to be a debate about the definitions for both words. The Wikipedia articles says:
"The difference between refrain and chorus is not always cut-and-dried; both refer to passages of unchanging music and text providing a periodic sense of return." [...] "The chorus contains the main idea, or big picture, of what is being expressed lyrically and musically. It is repeated throughout the song, and the melody and lyric rarely vary." A refrain is, "a repeated line or musical phrase that ties a song together... A refrain is only a phrase, or a word, while a chorus contains many more words."
Then I went to the refrain article:
While the terms 'refrain' and 'chorus' often are used synonymously, it has been suggested to use 'refrain' exclusively for a recurring line of identical text and melody which is part of a formal section —an A section in an AABA form [...]— whereas 'chorus' shall refer to a discrete form part [...].
I take as an example of 'refrain' the song The sound of silence, as it does not contain a typical 'chorus' but every verse ends with the song title being mentioned. That repeating line would be a 'refrain', whereas a 'chorus' would be the "We all live in a yellow submarine" part in the Beatles' song.
So I want to understand if there is really such distinction between both terms in music theory or not, and what that difference is (motivation: I'm trying to translate both terms into Spanish, but both seems to translate as 'estribillo' making no distinction). I am not sure if the terms overlap (e.g. a 'chorus' is a particular type of 'refrain') or distinct (e.g. a 'refrain' is a repeated theme or line outside the 'chorus'). Or are they just used as synonyms, as the definition for 'refrain' suggests? (Merriam-webster: "a regularly recurring phrase or verse especially at the end of each stanza or division of a poem or song : chorus".)