Mickey 3D - Les vivants (English translation)

English translation

The living

I lie all the time, just like breathing.
I’ve just got over it.
I beg “mea culpa” shamefully.
Then I decided to laugh about it.
It seems I don’t often smile.
Well, that makes a change.
That changes my attitude
and I regain altitude.
In the year two thousand BC
there were already people on the earth.
I remember the summer camp
in Le Monastier near the river.
A wasp got into my boot.
When it stung me I grew taller.
I got spots on my bum
but the nurse wasn’t gentle.
She lacked finesse
so my spots got bigger.
In the year ten thousand BC
there were already people on the earth.
The living with the living,
the dead with the dead,
and the children with their mother.
It’s time for the regular check-up.
I refused the MOT.
My tyres are bald, sometimes they slip
and my joints battle each other.
We’d all like to break the bank,
to open up the rib-cage and the thorax
and return the volleys
with the crumbs of our plexus
the one called solar and on the moon.
We’ll end up amongst our own.
All those who left too soon,
who took the vessel or rather flight,
who watch us behind the glass
and call “cooee” to our souls.
In the year one hundred thousand BC
there were already people on the earth.
The living with the living,
the dead with the dead,
and the children with their mother.
In the year one thousand thousand BC
there were already people on the earth.
The living with the living,
the dead with the dead,
and the children with their mother.
In the year one thousand thousand BC
there were already people on the earth.
Submitted by Gavin on Wed, 21/02/2018 - 11:36
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Les vivants

Idioms from "Les vivants"
See also
petit élève    Wed, 21/02/2018 - 22:21

Sorry, I have no idea what he's talking about either.

Je m'en viens juste d'atterrir -> that's a kind of spoken variation of "je viens juste d'atterrir"

Gavin    Wed, 21/02/2018 - 22:43

Baffling eh?

Ok - so just a simple "I've just landed" then Regular smile

3oudicca    Wed, 21/02/2018 - 23:36

Yes, the French isn't great in the lyrics - atterrir? mes genoux se tire? - and the meaning is even more "folkloric".

You've done a fair ould job translating this crazy song. Congrats.

In terms of those first two lines, boh, I think the songwriter is going for the same sound at the beginning of both lines, nothing more complex. So... you could go for a more neutral option if you wanted - "I'm just getting over it/coming down from it /realising" type of thing.

You could use "shamefully," at the start of the line to render honteusement more idiomatically.

For "ça change les habitudes." - we need to avoid using "one's". Any way, even a little looser so it's more natural in English, e.g. "well, that makes a change" Regular smile

I wouldn't say "arse" for "fesses" - too strong. You'd go for something more neutral which gives the English equivalent... something you can print on a packet of baby-wipes, hehehe Teeth smile - like bum, bottom...even butt might work.

who watch us behind the glass => small thing, but if we say, "from behind the glass" it's more natural.

go “peek-a-boo” at our souls.=> you "play peek-a-boo with", rather, says the mom of three kids Regular smile

Lots of compliments,

Gavin    Thu, 22/02/2018 - 09:57

Thanks very much and thanks for the input Regular smile

It's certainly a confusing song - Some of it is easy to follow but this whole business with magical stinging wasps and spotty buttocks feels like it's inspired by some tale or other but without that missing piece it's hard to know where he's coming from.

I did originally think about "just getting over, just coming down from" but stuck with the most literal in the end. I might have another think...

"se tirer la bourre" is another idiom - to compete with. But these competing knees made little sense to me so I made it into battling joints to keep it in the car/MOT/body metaphor that he's stretching there Wink smile

To my mind it doesn't make a lot of difference where shamefully is placed - I do it shamefully, shamefully I do it. Honestly I prefer it at the end myself but either's good.

Ah yes, "that makes a change" is certainly a more natural line! (although I don't generally have a problem with using "one's" but then I am quite old-fashioned)

Yes, "fesses" is always a problem tone wise. "Buttocks" is too literal and is an ugly word, arse/ass can be a bit strong. "Bum" can feel a bit childish...but maybe it is the best one here...
/edit - in light of Batay's comment below "Bum" now seems apposite! Regular smile

Behind the glass - well I read it as it is "us" that is behind the glass but the English is a bit ambiguous. I don't think the French is though.

Yes, "peek-a-boo at" is a bit unsatisfactory but I'm trying to get the sense that they are saying it "to us" rather than playing with us. I'll have another think.

Thanks for suggestions - I'll give it another going over in a moment... Regular smile

3oudicca    Wed, 21/02/2018 - 23:29

Good work considering it's not your first language, and the song is not an easy one... really well done!!

Gavin    Thu, 22/02/2018 - 08:53

Merci mille fois! Regular smile

batay    Thu, 22/02/2018 - 08:52

Just one point if I may, when he talks about a 'colonie', he does not mean colony, but colonie de vacances, which may be translated as 'summer camp'. That's what the story is all about

Gavin    Thu, 22/02/2018 - 08:54

Ooh thanks - that would make sense. I was imagining him thinking of himself in some medieval setting in a previous age. That changes things a bit Regular smile

batay    Thu, 22/02/2018 - 08:56

It does ! :-)