Canzone del maggio (English translation)

  • Artist: Fabrizio De André
  • Song: Canzone del maggio 7 translations
  • Translations: Croatian, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Turkish
Proofreading requested

Song of May

Even if our May
did it without your courage
if the fear of confronting yourself
makes your bow your chin
if the fire has saved
your car
even if you consider yourself absolved
you are nonetheless involved.
And if you have told one another
that nothing is going on,
they will reopen the factories,
arrest some students
convinced it must be a game
that we don't play often
try to consider yourself absolved
you are nonetheless involved.
Even if you have closed
your gates in our big face
the night when the cops
bite our ass
we let ourselves be massacred
in good faith on the pavement
even if you give a damn now
you, in that night, you've been there.
And if in your quarters
everything stayed the same,
without the barricades
without casualties, without grenades,
if you have taken for good
the „truth“ of TV
even if you have absolved yourself at that time
you are nonetheless involved.
And if you now believe
that everything is like before
because you have voted
for security, discipline,
convinced to have dismissed
the fear of change
we will come again to your gates
to shout even louder
because even if you consider yourself absolved
you are nonetheless involved,
because even if you consider yourself absolved
you are nonetheless involved.
Submitted by matilda2340matilda2340 on Fri, 01/05/2015 - 06:06
Last edited by matilda2340matilda2340 on Sat, 30/03/2019 - 16:10
The author of translation requested proofreading.
It means that he/she will be happy to receive corrections, suggestions etc about the translation.
If you are proficient in both languages of the language pair, you are welcome to leave your comments.

Canzone del maggio

Idioms from "Canzone del maggio"
See also
lylaphoenixlylaphoenix    Mon, 15/06/2015 - 19:14

Great song! ♥
Some suggestions:
"ha fatto a meno del vostro coraggio">"did without your courage" ("fare a meno" is almost impossible to translate: in this case it means that the revolutions of May had been done even if some people didn't take part to them)
"Millecento" is actually the Fiat 1100! Teeth smile
3rd stanza 3rd line "he" instead of "the"
"ci mordevano il sedere"> "bit our ass"
"anche se allora vi siete assolti" I'd say "even if you have absolved yourself at that time"

cconticconti    Thu, 17/12/2015 - 04:30

Matilda, you did a very good job. lylaphoenix has made the same comments I would have made. There are a few more things I would change further, but I think you captured 90% of the song's meaning.

1100 (or Millecento) I would translate as "family car" or Compact car" or Sedan (Saloon if you are on the other side of the pond from me)

"la notte che le pantere
ci mordevano il sedere"

"Le Pantere" were at the time (and maybe today, I haven't been back to Italy in a long time. Long story) the Carabinieri Cruisers or Police Car. They are called "Pantere" because they were black like the Carabinieri uniform.

The actual Police cars were called "La Volante" as in the "Flying One". Short for "Squadra Volante" or Flying Team.
But the "pantere" reference here is about the Police cars chasing the demonstrators and biting their ass.
You can loosely compare the Carabinieri to the FBI or the Marshall Service in the US, but with elements from the Highway patrol, etc. It's a quite unique Military force. Yes, they are also Military Police. Their members are Armed forces.

Funny story: I was a Lieutenant in the Army. As an officer I was the lowest of the low. But in the Carabinieri a Lieutenant is a really big shot. Most of the hierarchy are NonComs like Sergeant, etc. So I loved to get stopped by the Carabineri when I was out in civilian clothes and see how they would quickly change their tune and start throwing sharp salutes at me as soon as I gave them my Military ID Regular smile What can I say, I am easily amused. I was 20 years old. Some of them were in their late 30's.

If you are not a native speaker, I am very impressed by your work.
Maybe I'll give it a shot someday and you'll be more than welcome to borrow whatever you want for yours if you think I might have done it better.

matilda2340matilda2340    Fri, 08/01/2016 - 16:14

Grazie mille! I am so happy about your encouraging words.
In fact I started to study Italian at the University in September per la grande amore che sento per questa lingua. And I am happy about learning more and more and more, so I appreciate your comment!
PS: Besides - living abroad you might not have heard of Natalino Balasso who's work you might enjoy.... youtubewise ;-)