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translation of a piece of poetry (song)

English translation: Agree with colleagues, plus:

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08:43 Jan 16, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary
English term or phrase: translation of a piece of poetry (song)
Dear Colleagues!

Please find below a translation of a very good Russian song. I wonder how it is perceived by an Englishman. Any comments, suggestions or objections will be greately appreciated !

===========

Night, and stars would ¦ drift along sky rivers
Morning, ¦ and the stars ¦ would fade in blue
Only song will ¦ always stay with human beings
Song is ¦ always ¦ a true friend for you

Refrain:
Through the years ¦ and through any distance
On whichever road, in whichever land
Song will always stay to your assistance
Song is never coming to an end

Song's with us from very early years
Song is such a valuable thing
How many ¦ songs ¦ we've sang to our dears
How many ¦ more ¦ we're gonna sing !

Refrain.

When it's ¦ frosty ¦ song would warm the people
When it's ¦ thirsty ¦ song would water thee
Those ¦ people ¦ who don't like to sing or listen
Hardly ¦ ever ¦ happy could they be !

Refrain.
Alexander Onishko
Local time: 03:02
English translation:Agree with colleagues, plus:
Explanation:
I agree with Chris about "to your assistance" and "dears."

Leah makes a good point about the odd use of "would" in the first 2 lines, although I might avoid the continuous form - makes it sounds more like a one-time event and not something that happens repeatedly.

I find the very informal "gonna" does not go well with the later use of "thee" (although second person familiar, sounds very formal/awkward to American English ears). Saying "thee" just to rhyme with "be" is not the best solution I think.

Even though it's a song, I find the word order of the last line a bit awkward.

The use of "would" in the last stanza is mysterious to me. Why not "song (it) warms the people"?

I'm not sure "It's frosty" is ideal. You might try other words from a thesaurus.

"It's thirsty" is problematic. Also, I'm not sure you can really "water" people- plants, yes.
Selected response from:

Michele Johnson
Germany
Local time: 02:02
Grading comment
Dear Colleagues!

Thank you all for your invaluable comments !

4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5Original text?
rene_teews
5Songs
Monica Colangelo
5BeautifulAlxGr8
5..
Leah Aharoni
4 +1It´s quite nice but the English isn´t perfect.Chris Rowson
5...xxxAlex Zelkind
3Consistancy of Formalitykipruss3
3Agree with colleagues, plus:
Michele Johnson


Discussion entries: 8





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5

11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
It´s quite nice but the English isn´t perfect.


Explanation:
E.g. "Song will always stay to your assistance", which is more than a little strange, and "we´ve sang to our dears", where "we´ve sang" should presumably be "we´ve sung", and "to our dears" is at least questionable.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2004-01-16 16:45:28 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

There´s quite a lot more than these examples which is not really natural. Some of it has been pointed out in other answers. If a translation of this song is required for professional purposes you really need a native speaker to write it, not just to proof it.

Chris Rowson
Local time: 02:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 243

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nancy Arrowsmith: hear, hear
8 hrs
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
...


Explanation:
Íî÷ü! È çâ¸çäû ïðîïëûâóò â íåáåñíûõ ðåêàõ
Óòðî! Çâ¸çäû ðàñòâîðÿòñÿ â ñèíåâå
Òîëüêî ïåñíÿ îñòà¸òñÿ ñ ÷åëîâåêîì
Ïåñíÿ íàâñåãäà ïðèíàäëåæèò òåáå!

×åðåç ãîäû è ÷ðåç ðàññòîÿíüÿ
Íà ëþáîé äîðîãå è â ëþáîé çåìëå
Ïåñíÿ áóäåò äëÿ òåáÿ òîâàðèù
Ñ ïåñíåþ íå ïðîïàä¸øü âî ìãëå!

Ïåñíÿ ñ äåòñòâà ñ íàìè, äîáðàÿ ïîäðóãà,
Ñêîëüêî ïåñåí ñïåëè ìû óæå ñ òîáîé?
Íî ó ïåñíè íåò êîíöà è íåòó êðàÿ
Ïîêà áóäåøü ðÿäîì òû ñî ìíîé

Êîãäà õîëîäíî - íàñ ïåñíÿ ñîãðåâàåò
Êîãäà æàæäà ìó÷èò - ïåñíÿ íàïîÈò
Òå, êòî ïåñåí íå ïî¸ò - íå ïîíèìàåò
Òîò, êòî èõ íå ñëóøàåò - òîò ñïèò!


Ïåðâûé, ÷åðíîâîé íàáðîñîê :)



xxxAlex Zelkind
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 18
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40 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
..


Explanation:
Very good. I would make the following changes

Night, and stars ARE¦ driftING THROUGH sky rivers
Morning, ¦ and the stars ¦ ARE fadING in THE blue

Song will always COME to your assistance

How many ¦ more ¦ we are going sing !


When it's ¦ frosty ¦ song WILL warm the people
When YOU'RE ¦ thirsty ¦ song WILL water thee



Leah Aharoni
Local time: 03:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 1
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53 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Original text?


Explanation:
This is one custom job/delight for a friend of mine especially if you can quote the reference of the source or paste it here.

And also to find a rhyme to "rivers" by replacing "human being" is quite the challenge.

Much appreciated.

rene_teews
Local time: 17:02
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Agree with colleagues, plus:


Explanation:
I agree with Chris about "to your assistance" and "dears."

Leah makes a good point about the odd use of "would" in the first 2 lines, although I might avoid the continuous form - makes it sounds more like a one-time event and not something that happens repeatedly.

I find the very informal "gonna" does not go well with the later use of "thee" (although second person familiar, sounds very formal/awkward to American English ears). Saying "thee" just to rhyme with "be" is not the best solution I think.

Even though it's a song, I find the word order of the last line a bit awkward.

The use of "would" in the last stanza is mysterious to me. Why not "song (it) warms the people"?

I'm not sure "It's frosty" is ideal. You might try other words from a thesaurus.

"It's thirsty" is problematic. Also, I'm not sure you can really "water" people- plants, yes.

Michele Johnson
Germany
Local time: 02:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 32
Grading comment
Dear Colleagues!

Thank you all for your invaluable comments !
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Songs


Explanation:
I agree with Chris's comments and would like to add "song" alone does sound a bit queer. You may choose between "songs are..." and "a song is..."

Monica Colangelo
Argentina
Local time: 21:02
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 59

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Catherine Bolton: Yup, just "song" without an article sounds funny. Guess you could use "singing", but it tends to include the singer and not the listener.
1 hr
  -> Thanks, C.

agree  Patricia Baldwin
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, Patricia

disagree  Leah Aharoni: Both in the original and in the translation the song is a concept and not an individual entity, and therefore is uncountable, similarly to music.
1 day2 hrs
  -> You cannot change the grammatical nature of a word. "Song" alone is grammatically incorrect.

disagree  agtranslat: Leah is right, just think of Ministry of song, traditional song, contemporary song, Festival of song and dance, etc. where "song" is used alone.
1 day19 hrs
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Consistancy of Formality


Explanation:
Several times in this poem, you shift formality levels. "thee" indicative of a highly formal and styalized english, yet "gonna" is very slang, and the contraction on "Song's" lay somewhere between.

Also "fade in blue" should be "to blue".

"Stay to your assistance" really makes no sense as worded. If assistance is the better rhyme, perhaps "stay for your assistance", though that, too sounds odd to my ears.

I'm glad to see people attempt translation of Russian Poetry, cause it's the best way for me to learn the subtal meanings of words based on Russian Word Order. - kip



kipruss3
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  rene_teews: Calm down Kip... breathe deeply and think positive thoughts... ;-)
6 hrs
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