French translation of a song in English

Lavoisel   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 07:15 GMT
Why, yes! I'd be willing to translate it. I have never tried to translate a song, but Ginny's work has made me want to give it a try.
A collective work would be better though. So I'd be glad if Ginny and Nic were willing to work on it as well.
Nic, Ginny, are you interested?
nic   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 07:17 GMT
Why not? But i think Lavoiseel speaks english better than myself
nic   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 07:35 GMT

When has it been writen, the title looks like a song from the past like 19th or 18th century.

Let see your post...
mjd   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 07:43 GMT
Translation is a lot of fun. Good luck, you guys.
nic   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 09:23 GMT
Thank you Mjd, to translate a soung from your native language to another language does not seem logic. Should not it be the opposite, i mean for a french for example : english to french?

Anyway, i will try to contribute.
mjd   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 09:34 GMT

It's always easier to translate into your native language, but I think you guys will do okay. Translation has always interested me. It's fun trying to tweek a language so as to relate (or at least try to relate) the feeling or meaning of what was originally being said. Poetry is probably some of the hardest stuff to translate. It's difficult and often impossible to capture the meter or rhythm of the original language in translation.
nic   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 09:49 GMT
I think it's impossible to translate and having at 100% the same meaning, look at Shakespeare is it really possible to translate it for example. There are things you will miss if you read it into french, things the native english speakers won't never miss.

You're true for poetry but what about philosophy, some german philosophers are really hard to translate into french, some words does not have any equivalent?
Lainie   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 21:19 GMT
The song's actually recent. It came out in his CD last year, but i just got it a couple weeks ago. I can more or less understand it since I'm studying french in school right now, but I wanted to see what you guys would say.

Here goes:

Ô Compagnons

Ici-bas sur la terre noire
A celui qui pisse la plus loin
C'est à se crever les yeux ô compagnons
On n'en voit pas la fin

Mais avant de monter au ciel
Je te montre mes dents
Tu vas avaler les tiennes
Ô compadre
Encerclés dans l'horizon
Ô compagnon
Tu es bien un bon con
Ô compagnon
Et ta mère c'est rien qu'une pute

Et silence à l'arrière
Et à tous les coins du globe
Et j'irai en riant parler aux cochons
On mangera comme des lords

Et advienne que pourra
Avant la résurrection
On p'ra des embardées ô compadre
Encerclés dans l'horizon
Ô compagnons
On rira pour de bon
Ô compadres
Avec Ti Jean et les autres
Ô compagnons
Bien au-dessus du pont.

Thanks in advance. I think the song may be slightly offensive but not very.
nic   Friday, April 16, 2004, 08:04 GMT
Where does it come from. There are a few words which are "rudes" and spanish influences like "compadre".
Lavoisel   Friday, April 16, 2004, 09:44 GMT
Thanks, mjd. :-)

Here is a first attempt to translate the song. Some corrections will surely be needed. I have put between brackets the parts I am not too happy with or not too sure of. I'll explain at the end of this message why they don't seem completely good to me.

O companion

Down here on the black earth
(To the one who pees the farthest)
(That's enough to make your own eyes blind)
It seems to be endless

But before I go up to Heaven
(I show you my teeth)
You'll swallow yours
O compadre
Surrounded in the horizon
O companion
You're really a good moron
O companion
And your mother is but a whore

And shut up (behind)
And at every corner of the globe
And I'll go and speak to the pigs/hogs, laughing
We'll eat like lords

And come that may
Before resurrection
We will swerve, o companions
Surrounded by horizon
O companions
We will laugh for good
O compadres
With Little John and the others
O companions
Far above the bridge

- The end -

So here are the parts of the translation which I don't find satisfaying:

"To the one who pees the farthest"

I not sure it is correct at all.
Beside, I'm not even sure of what the author meant there because a part of the sentence seems to be missing. This is a very vague song, tell you. Is he saying that good things happen only to the one who's good at pointless things? Or is he merely addressing the song to that person?
Usually, the phrase "c'est à celui qui est le plus [put an adjective here]" means that only that sort of people is considered or that only that sort of people will have a good life. Well anyway, when you hear this somewhat incomplete sentence, you know the person in question is in a confortable position.
But whether this was what was implied here, I couldn't tell.

"That's enough to make your own eyes blind"

"se crever les yeux" really means that you burst your eyes, that you destroy them, like simple spots on a teenager face. I am not sure if the translation conveys all the violent flavour of the original sentence.

"I show you my teeth"

In French, it usually means that you show some hatred and aggressiveness. I can't think of an equivalent.

"And shut up behind"

In French, if you don't care about being pleasant to people, you can speak to them by refering to where they are rather than their name. Some people also do so if they want to speak to someone of whom they don't know the name. That's why you may hear weird sentences the likes of "poussez pas, derrière", "silence, au fond", "montre-toi, derrière la machine!", "ça avance, là-devant?" or "c'est pas bientôt fini, la haut?!".
However, I'm not sure this can be used in English. That's why this "behind" may not be a very good translation.

I'd be glad if any one could give me some advice about these sentences or about some other mistakes I am not aware of.

Lainie, Nic, Ginny, what do you think?
nic   Friday, April 16, 2004, 09:58 GMT
for compadre i suggest "Godfather(Buddy)". This is not simple because if you want to keep the spanish "taste" so it's necessary to not translate it.
nic   Friday, April 16, 2004, 11:13 GMT
Et ta mère c'est rien qu'une pute

why not : And your mother is nothing else than a bitch ?
Simon   Friday, April 16, 2004, 11:47 GMT
Oh my companion

Down here on the black earth
The ones who can pee furthest rule
It does your eyes in, my companions
There seems to be no end to it

But before I rise to heaven
I will show you my teeth
You will swallow yours
Surrounded on the horizon
My companion
You're a complete moron
My companion
And your mother's no more than a whore

And quiet at the back
And in all the corners of the world
Laughing, I will go to talk to the pigs
We will eat like princes

And come what may
Before the ressurection
[don't know]
Surrounded on the horizon
My companions
We will have the last laugh
My compadres
With Little John and the others
My companions
Far above the bridge
Simon   Friday, April 16, 2004, 11:51 GMT
For the teeth bit, maybe "bare one's teeth" is good. This is what a dog or a monkey does to be aggressive.
Simon   Friday, April 16, 2004, 11:59 GMT
Part of me wants to translate "compagnons" as "merry men" because I think there's a Robin Hood allusion going on in the last stanza. But it wouldn't work for the first bit.