I think words are useless

Portuguese

Acho Inúteis as Palavras

 

Acho inúteis as palavras
Quando o silêncio é maior
Inúteis são os meus gestos
P'ra te falarem de amor

Acho inúteis os sorrisos
Quando a noite nos procura
Inúteis são minhas penas
P'ra te falar de ternura

Acho inúteis nossas bocas
Quando voltar o pecado
Inúteis são os meus olhos
P'ra te falar do passado

Acho inúteis nossos corpos
Quando o desejo é certeza
Inúteis são minhas mãos
Nessa hora de pureza

Try to align
English

I think words are useless

Versions: #1#2#3

I think words are useless
When silence is bigger
I think words are useless
when silence is bigger

My gestures to say that I love you
are useless
My gestures to say that I love you
are useless

I think smiles are useless
when night search for us
My penalties to talk you about
tenderness are useless

I think our mouths are useless
when the sin returns
I think our mouths are useless
when the sin returns

My eyes are useless
to talk to you about the past
Useless my eyes are
to talk to you about the past

Ι think our bodies are useless
when the desire is certain
I think our bodies are useless
when the desire is certain

My hands are useless
in this time of purity
my hands are useless
in this time of purity

Submitted by indiespyllak on Mon, 06/02/2012 - 09:41
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More translations of "Acho Inúteis as Palavras"
Portuguese → English - indiespyllak
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Comments
Kamran     February 6th, 2012

Indiespyllak, thank you very much.

MauriceV     December 31st, 2012
3

The translation does not match the metre of the original lyrics and there is variability in the translation. In the original lyrics there are four stanzas each beginning with "Acho inúteis" and the original should be changed to this with the translation adjusted accordingly.

shisa     December 31st, 2012

I don't think that's a fair thing to ask of the translator. How many translations do you see here that match the metre of the original lyrics? It does make sense to ask for it to be changed to "I think our bodies are useless" to preserve the parallel structure and the poetry of the original.

If the translation is incorrect, that is another matter which you can address more specifically.

MauriceV     December 31st, 2012

Thanks for your comments Shisa but the issue is more complex than that. The original structure (layout of the lyrics) is wrong. In addition, some of the translations are too loose and do not adequately translate what the lyrics are saying. If I were to present my case, I would have to enter another layout for the original lyrics and provide a translation. Is that was is normally done on this website?
Furthermore, particularly with Fado, it is important to understand the structure of the song, the metre and the phraseology and this is an entirely fair thing to ask of the translator.

indiespyllak     February 13th, 2013

MauriceV, my level on portuguese is less than intermediate and I just translate some songs to help other people who like them understand the lyrics. If you think I didn't accomplish this goal sufficiently, you are free to write a post, or even a new translation, with the ideal translation of the song. Smile
So, I could also see my mistakes and correct them in the future.
Thanks

MauriceV     February 14th, 2013

Sorry if my comments are seen as judgemental. This is not the intention. I find that with fado there is a lot of structure so even before commencing the translation, I look at various transcriptions of the fado or sometimes as in the case of Mafalda Arnauth, the singer puts the original lyrics on their website. Secondly the structure of Portuguese sung in fado is a little like the structure of old English and an English-speaking person constantly has to decide where to use the old structure or modernise it with a possible change in the feeling of the song. For example in your fifth stanza you translate the first line as my eyes are useless but in the third line useless my eyes are. There is a constant questioning for a translator about structure of the translation and trying to maintain this consistency. Then there is the problem of understanding the structure of the sentences intended by the singer. For example the first stanza (your second stanza) ends, "My gestures to say that I love you are useless" which I would translate as "My actions are useless, were they to talk to you of love" I would tend to try to keep the structure of the language and keep the focus on the gestures or the actions rather than the individual involved.
I will see if I can put another version up but I don't like to add further versions of the same song.
My concerns are that as translators of structured songs with the history that fado has, we have to pay attention not only to the meaning the the singer wants to express, but also the structured form within which they are singing. I hope this is not too long-winded a response.