The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #37073   Message #516246
Posted By: Maryrrf
27-Jul-01 - 04:15 PM
Thread Name: Translations mutilating songs
Subject: RE: Translations mutilating songs
I couldn't agree more ! But I think theres no help for it. Jaques Brel comes immediately to mind - "Le Moribund" is lovely and moving - "Seasons in the Sun" is trite. Other Brel songs have not translated very well - "Quand on n'a que l'Amour" is beautiful, but "If we only have love" sounds treacly. I think "If you go Away" translates pretty well from "Ne me Quittes Pas". Last night I was singing a well known tango called "Cuesta Abajo" and thinking how beautiful, how moving it was, and it evoked all kinds of images in my mind. Then I considered how it would sound in English and it would translate awfully - let's see:

"I dragged through the world the shame of having been something, and of no longer being anything. Beneath the shadow of my hat - how many times I concealed a tear that welled up that I just couldn't contain...If I walked the streets like a pariah that destiny delighted in crushing, if I was lazy, if I was blind.. I only want them to understand the courage that it took to love!"

It sounds very melodramatic in English. It's melodramatic in Spanish too, but it's beautiful.