The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #37073   Message #518791
Posted By: Mark Cohen
31-Jul-01 - 10:44 PM
Thread Name: Translations mutilating songs
Subject: RE: Translations mutilating songs
Wolfgang, I was glad to see you mention Le Moribond/Seasons in the Sun in your first post, because that was what instantly jumped to mind when I saw your thread title. I think that in "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris", Mort Shuman did some excellent Brel translations and some so-so ones. For example, "Crazy Carousels" has the flavor of "La Valse a Mille Temps", but lacks the cleverness of the idea and all the little internal puns. While I think "Brussels" captured the original very well. But others may differ. Of course, seeing Elly Stone perform in the show helped make up for any deficiencies in the translation, but not everyone had that privilege.

You (and perhaps one or two others!) may appreciate this rendition I did of a line from another Brel song: In "Le Prochain Amour", there is the line "Un homme averti en vaut deux," which I suspect is a proverb. It means, roughly, "a man who is alert ("warned") is worth two [men]." My translation of that would be, "Forewarned is four-armed."