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I need an English translation for a song lyric I have only in French
April 26, 2004 10:55 AM   Subscribe

ForeignLanguageFilter: What tools (if any?) are available on the Internet for translating materials that are not prose into English? Specfically, I need an English translation for a song lyric I have only in French. Neither my pathetic high school slacker French nor the usual suspects are producing anything useful... Any suggestions?
posted by JollyWanker to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
 
Why don't you, er, post the lyric?

it's not 'La Fille Danse' from the end of Damien Rice's 'The Professor' is it?
posted by armoured-ant at 11:06 AM on April 26, 2004


I'm with armoured-ant. Post it. It'll give me an excuse to exercise some neglected French skills.
posted by emelenjr at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2004


I don't know of any machine translation tools that can convey idioms or figures of speech very successfully. I think you're going have to pore over some French Idioms lists, or get some human help.
posted by scarabic at 11:57 AM on April 26, 2004


If you do, er, post the lyrics, I'd also be glad to translate it. Though I speak French, I have also used google and Intertran (found via omniglot) to translate songs in other languages with pretty good success. Words that it has a hard time with I've taken to google, google images (for nouns, in particular), and to online or paper dictionaries.
posted by whatzit at 2:18 PM on April 26, 2004


The song is called "Je Lui Dirai"; the lyric and the music are by Jean-Jacques Goldman. I'm told the source of it is a (recent?) recording by singer Celine Dion. What I need is not an "English version" that can be sung (with the attendant pain of rhyming in English), but rather a translation of the sense of the thing from French to English. Any help you guys can give me on this would be very much appreciated.

Je lui dirai qu'il est de ce pays
Où son grand-père était bûcheron
Que dans son sang l'Orient coule aussi
Que les mélanges font de beaux enfants
Qu'il est fort et bien vivant

Je lui dirai qu'il est né de l'amour
Que nous l'attendions passionnément
Que chaque nuit s'efface au nouveau jour
Qu'il sera grand mais qu'il a bien le temps
Oh dieu qu'il a bien le temps

Et que la vie l'appelle que le monde l'attend
Que la terre est si belle et le ciel est si grand
Qu'il est beau, que je l'aime, qu'il est ma vie, ma joie
Qu'il est un parmi des millions d'humains
Mais bien l'unique pour moi

Je lui dirai qu'ici bas tout s'apprend
Le bien le mal et même le bonheur
Qu'il ne perde jamais ses yeux d'enfant
Devant trop de malheurs et de laideur
Qu'il regarde avec son coeur

Je lui dirai d'être sage et prudent
D'aller frôler les glaces et les feux
Qu'il goûte à tout mais sans jamais dépendre
Que trop peut être pire que trop peu
Oh bien pire que trop peu

Et que la vie l'appelle que le monde l'attend
Que la terre est si belle et le ciel est si grand
Qu'il est beau, que je l'aime, qu'il est ma vie, ma joie
Qu'il est un parmi des millions d'humains
Mais bien l'unique pour moi

Je lui dirai les chansons les poèmes
Qu'il n'y a pas d'amour sans histoire
Que le bonheur est un grain que l'on sème
Qu'amour et santé ne s'achètent pas
Et qu'on n'est riche que de ça

Je lui dirai qu'un jour une autre femme
Viendra l'aimer et qu'il l'aimera
Que j'en mourrai de bonheur et de larmes
Mais que nous serons là pas après pas
Que c'est la vie et sa loi

Et que la vie l'appelle que le monde l'attend
Que la terre est si belle et le ciel est si grand
Qu'il est beau, que je l'aime, qu'il est ma vie, ma joie
Qu'il est un parmi des millions d'humains
Mais bien l'unique pour moi

Qu'il est beau que je l'aime
Qu'au-delà du mystère
Il est ma plus belle raison de vivre
Ma réponse à l'infini
posted by JollyWanker at 7:09 AM on April 27, 2004


It's still early. Hopefully this catches the sentiment:

I'll tell him he's from this country
where his grand fater was a logger
That the Orient also runs in his blood
That mixture makes beautiful children
That he's strong and quite alive

I'll tell him he was born of love
That we waited for him eagerly
That every night was erased by a new day
That he will be big but it will take time
Oh god, it'll take time

And that when life calls, the world waits
That the earth is beautiful and the sky so big
That he's beautiful, that I love him, that he's my life, my joy
That he's the one in a million
Just for me

I'll tell him that here we learn from everything
The good, the bad, and happiness
That he'll never lose is child's eyes (innocence, perhaps?)
Before too many misfortunes and too much ugliness
That he'll always look with his heart

I'll tell him to be wise and prudent
To pass very close to the ice and the fire
That he tastes everything but never depends on anything
That too much can be worse than too little
Oh, quite a lot worse than too little

And that when life calls, the world waits
That the earth is beautiful and the sky so big
That he's beautiful, that I love him, that he's my life, my joy
That he's the one in a million
Just for me

I'll tell him stories and poems
That there is no love without history
That happiness is a seed that one sows
That love and health can't be bought
And only these can make you rich

I'll tell him that one day another woman
Will come to love him and that he will live her
That then I will die in happiness and in tears
And we will no longer be together
That that's life, and its law

And that when life calls, the world waits
That the earth is beautiful and the sky so big
That he's beautiful, that I love him, that he's my life, my joy
That he's the one in a million
Just for me

That he's beautiful, that I love him
That beyond the mystery,
He's my most beautiful reason to live,
My answer to infinity
posted by whatzit at 8:18 AM on April 27, 2004


Whatzit that's precisely what I needed! I cannot thank you enough for not only doing this but doing it in such a timely manner. I hope I can repay this someday, someway.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:50 AM on April 27, 2004


Uh, and that should be a grand father on the second line. Just noticed that. Glad to have been helpful.
posted by whatzit at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2004


Humans are indispensable for this sort of thing. Good going, whatzit.
posted by hairyeyeball at 3:29 PM on April 27, 2004


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