The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151871   Message #3549902
Posted By: GUEST,Grishka
16-Aug-13 - 02:45 PM
Thread Name: French songs in English translation
Subject: RE: French songs in English translation
English has many short words, and often longer alternatives exist in reasonably common usage. Also, normally several grammatical constructions can be chosen from, some of which are very brief. On the other hand, suitable rhymes and rhythms are harder to find than in French.

As an example of rhythm problems, it is not a good idea to sing "Let us drink, knights of the round table" for "Chevaliers de la table ronde", because of the stressed "the". Moreover, the word "knights" demands the longest note. "All ye knights of King Arthur's table, let us taste if the wine is good!" might be a better solution, if a singable translation is desired at all.

Some songs would fail to work in a different cultural context even if translated in perfect craftsmanship. The song in the OP may be such a case. Commercial lyricists often prefer to write entirely new lyrics when they smell a hit melody. Some such products have become classics in their own right - many others have become objects of ridicule or at least deprecation. —

Those of us who consider performing translated songs publicly should be very cautions indeed. If authenticity is the main point, insist on a close and meaningful translation; for entertainment purposes, insist on entertaining lyrics.