Ne strelyaj (Не стреляй) (English translation)

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Russian

Ne strelyaj (Не стреляй)

 
Не стреляй в воробьёв, не стреляй в голубей,
Не стреляй просто так из рогатки своей
Эй, малыш, не стреляй и не хвастай другим,
Что без промаха бьёшь по мишеням живым
Ты все тиры излазил, народ удивлял
Как отличный стрелок призы получал
Бил с улыбкой, не целясь, навскидку и влет
А кругом говорили: «Вот парню везет!»
 
Не стреляй!
 
И случилось однажды, о чем так мечтал, —
Он в горящую точку планеты попал,
А когда наконец-то вернулся домой,
Он свой старенький тир обходил стороной
И когда кто-нибудь вспоминал о войне,
Он топил свою совесть в тяжёлом вине
Перед ним, как живой, тот парнишка стоял,
Тот, который его об одном умолял
 
Не стреляй!
 
Submitted by KonanVCZ on Fri, 17/03/2017 - 19:34
Align paragraphs
English translation

Don't You Shoot!

Versions: #1#2
Don’t you shoot at grey sparrows, don’t shoot at white doves
Don't use your slingshot shooting the clouds above
Hey you, boy, don’t you shoot and don’t brag to your friends
That you bring living targets down to their ends
Bein' a shooting clubs' goer, surprising the guys,
As a perfect crack shot, you won prize after prize
Shot with pleasure, at random, as like in the dark
And they all kept exclaiming “What wonderful luck!”
 
Pray don’t shoot!
 
And it happened one day – all of what he had dreamt, -
He had finally got to the Earth’s burning end,
And when he then returned to soothe his mother’s blubs
He began steering clear of all shooting clubs
And when someone remembered the past days of war
Then his poor oppressed conscience could stand it no more
He'd drink hard just because he was seeing that guy
Standing in front of him begging for his dear life
 
Pray don’t shoot!
 
Submitted by Brat on Sun, 15/04/2018 - 17:53
Last edited by Brat on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 16:49
Author's comments:

It's an equirhythmic and singable translation.

Comments
petit élève    Mon, 16/04/2018 - 21:03

I understand rhyming has its constraints, but this particular song tells a fluid and simple story, so dragging it through hoops is a bit perilous.
Besides, it's an incredibly straightforward song for Shevchuk. Personally, I would not endeavour to make it sound like the rest of his poetry Teeth smile

Using "fire" spoils the fun. That's used for big weapons, like a machinegun or a mortar. Besides, someone staring down a gun would never say "don't fire". "shoot" is really the way to go all along, in my opinion.

Don’t you catapult if shooting’s one of your loves -> huh? How did you get from "don't you use your slingshot so casually" to that?

living aims -> targets. "aim" as a noun means "the act of aiming", sometimes "shooting accuracy" (a good aim)

the bods -> mmm... that rather evokes a gaggle of blondes in tiny swimsuits.

excellent deadeye -> I think "deadeye" as "sniper" is US military lingo. That seems out of place here. He's still a civilian at that point. "crack shot" would sound nice though.

навскидку и влет -> again, how come "without thinking and fast" became "as like in the dark"?
Besides, "as like" implies a comparison with a real thing, so "as if" would be more logical.
And anyway, I don't see why shooting in the dark should be faster than in broad daylight. The main effect would rather be on accuracy, I guess Regular smile

keep distance to -> that doesn't work. "keep his distances with", "stay away from", "keep clear of", "give shooting ranges a wide berth"...

just on a sudden -> all of a sudden / unexpectedly
reminded of -> recalled / remembered
Frankly, why not just simply start from "and when someone reminded him of the war" and twist it as gently as possible to cram it into the rhythm?

make his conscience withstand -> whitstand what?
"he drowned his conscience in heavy wine" -> "he drowned his conscience in strong booze". Back to the basics

‘Cause that guy, as alive, haunted standing ahead that who begged for the positive option he had-> ?!?!?!? Take a breather and reconsider, Brother Regular smile

Brat    Mon, 16/04/2018 - 16:58
petit élève wrote:

I understand rhyming has its constraints, but this particular song tells a fluid and simple story, so dragging it through hoops is a bit perilous.
Besides, it's an incredibly straightforward song for Shevchuk. Personally, I would not endeavour to make it sound like the rest of his poetry Teeth smile

Using "fire" spoils the fun. That's used for big weapons, like a machinegun or a mortar. Besides, someone looking down a gun would never say "don't fire". "shoot" is really the way to go all along, in my opinion.

Well, as you've already noticed, it's done for the sake of singability, mainly. I agree that 'fire' is much less common than 'shoot' in English but nevertheless I consider it as being plausible. You see, in Russian we also have a couple of 'modern' verbs meaning 'to fire (using firearms)' - "палить", "пулять". But they are much less common than the English 'fire'. Wink smile Again, the first phrase hints to the Russian proverb "стрелять из пушки по воробьям" (to fire at sparrows using a cannon) that doesn't have a close equivalent in English (the closest one is 'to break a fly up the wheel'). At least at the chorus "Don't fire" looks much better than "Don't shoot". We may need a second native's opinion but I suggest to play around that "don't fire" Wink smile Though it could be changed into something like "Don't you shoot at grey sparrows, don't shoot at white doves"

petit élève wrote:

Don’t you catapult if shooting’s one of your loves -> huh? How did you get from "don't you use your slingshot so casually" to that?

Well, having used the 'fire' instead of the most common 'shoot', I decided to compensate this by using other synonyms, like 'catapult', 'shoot'... But it may be changed into "Don't use your slingshot shooting the clouds above"... That plays well with the general sense, I hope. Wink smile

petit élève wrote:

living aims -> targets. "aim" as a noun means "the act of aiming", sometimes "shooting accuracy" (a good aim)

It's used as a metonymy here. Wink smile As well as "einen Zuckerguss" stands for a bun or cake covered with sugar icing. Wink smile BTW, having browsed through some dictionaries, I found an entry saying about that exact meaning of the 'aim' -> https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/aim (you'll need to scroll a while, but then it appears, that means I'm not the first one to use such a metonymy). Nevertheless, I could make something like "That you bring living targets down to their ends". This would be pretty close to the original in your opinion, I hope.

petit élève wrote:

the bods -> mmm... that rather evokes a gaggle of blondes in tiny swimsuits.

And why not? Having in mind that there might be a shooting range on a beach... A proper place to show off, indeed... Teeth smile (But AFAIK, 'bods' could also mean 'buddies' in British English, but it's again a subject which needs a native's opinion).

petit élève wrote:

excellent deadeye -> I think "deadeye" as "sniper" is US military lingo. That seems out of place here. He's still a civilian at that point. "crack shot" would sound nice though.

Here I should agree with your "crack shot". It sounds better, indeed. Teeth smile

petit élève wrote:

навскидку и влет -> again, how come "without thinking and fast" became "as like in the dark"?
Besides, "as like" implies a comparison with a real thing, so "as if" would be more logical.
And anyway, I don't see why shooting in the dark should be faster than in broad daylight. The main effect would rather be on accuracy, I guess Regular smile

Regular smile Oh, you've noticed that intentional clumsiness. But it seems you missed the point. Sad smile That's because you are so attached to the original Russian text. Maybe [@Gavin] could guess it.

petit élève wrote:

keep distance to -> that doesn't work. "keep his distances with", "stay away from", "keep clear of", "give shooting ranges a wide berth"...

Ah, well, I'll change it to 'keep distance with'... Wink smile Or "He began to give wide berth to all shooting clubs" would sound better?

petit élève wrote:

just on a sudden -> all of a sudden / unexpectedly
reminded of -> recalled / remembered
Frankly, why not just simply start from "and when someone reminded him of the war" and twist it as gently as possible to cram it into the rhythm?

make his conscience withstand -> whitstand what?
"he drowned his conscience in heavy wine" -> "he drowned his conscience in strong booze". Back to the basics

‘Cause that guy, as alive, haunted standing ahead that who begged for the positive option he had-> ?!?!?!? Take a breather and reconsider, Brother Regular smile

Well, I don't know what's "whitstand", may it be a standing whit or something like this, but again I'd like to mention that the verb "withstand", as well as its Russian equivalent "выдерживать" could sometimes withstand the lack of object, though only when it's obvious enough (especially in spoken English). Wink smile Again, Gavin could probably enlighten us on the subject. Regular smile
And finally, because I'm already tired of typing, I'll suggest a new variant of these lines' translation:

And when someone remembered the horrors of war
And his judge-sober conscience could stand it no more
He drank hard just because he was seeing that guy,
Who begged for the one thing as if he was alive

Wink smile

petit élève    Mon, 16/04/2018 - 18:03

I'm a bit uneasy with this particular rhyming version, since the story is so free-flowing in Russian, and that's what gives the song its strength. The first time I read it, the last line hit me like a punch in the face. Of course Shevchuk is a true poet so he can make it rhyme too, but for an English audience I think it is really important to keep it fluid.
I mean, there are scores of Shevchuk's lyrics much more suited to that kind of work, For instance the beautiful but cryptic "Новая жизнь" or the symbol-laden "Последная осень".
Don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing the effort, but I think you really should, if possible, stick to simple words and sentences, possibly taking liberties with the exact meaning or settling for a simple singable version with a less constrained rhythm. After all this rigid pattern is a Russian thing to begin with. You can very well sing along in English with a more relaxed stress pattern.
At any rate, fancy metaphors, exotic English or stretching of meaning are not the way to go for this particular song. See what I mean?

Brat    Mon, 16/04/2018 - 18:18

Oh, I see... I hope you'll point out the certain places of 'exotic English' in the lately suggested amendments. Regular smile

petit élève    Mon, 16/04/2018 - 19:11

The first thing I would do is revert to "shoot", because "don't shoot!" is what you say when you're staring down the barrel of a gun and don't want to die. That's the whole point of the song, isn't it? Don't play with guns if you don't want to end up a murderer.
Of course you can replace it with "don't fire [your gun]", but it would be like "[someone come to my] rescue!" replacing "Help!"
Besides, English has little problems with repetition. Even more so in that case. "Don't shoot" is the leitmotiv of the song, so I think "shoot" should be repeated just as often as in the original.

And when someone remembered the horrors of war
And his judge-sober conscience could stand it no more
He drank hard just because he was seeing that guy,
Who begged for the one thing as if he was alive ->

sounds a lot better to me.
I would not say "the horrors" because the horror is the climax of the song, it should not be spoiled in advance. "the times of war" or "his days as a warrior" or something like that ?
I would do away with "judge-sober", replacing it with whatever filler (and his overburdened conscience would stand it no more)

as if he was alive -> that's a typical Russian saying, but in English it's just a not especially common metaphor. I would replace it with "standing in front of him" or something. (he was seeing that guy [standing] in front of him, begging for just one thing...)

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 14:23

Ok, and what about this?
And when someone remembered the past days of war
Then his overpressed conscience would stand it no more
He'd drink hard just because he was seeing that guy
Begging in front of him for his veriest strive

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:16

"overpressed conscience" sounds a bit odd to me. "oppressed conscience" would be ok though. "poor oppressed conscience" to fill the meter maybe?

"veriest strive" is mighty odd. "strive" already means "doing one's best", so that would mean "doing the utmost of his very best" or something. That would rather sound ironic than tragic.
I would rather work from "begging for (just) one thing". Surely that can be fit into the meter?
"standing in front of him and begging..." ? "right in front of him, begging..."? "begging for his very life"? "begging for dear life"?

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:24
petit élève wrote:

"overpressed conscience" sounds a bit odd to me. "oppressed conscience" would be ok though. "poor oppressed conscience" to fill the meter maybe?

Ah, that's good! I mean, completely OK. Regular smile

petit élève wrote:

"veriest strive" is mighty odd. "strive" already means "doing one's best", so that would mean "doing the utmost of his very best" or something. That would rather sound ironic than tragic.

Ok, what about "his evident strive"?

petit élève wrote:

I would rather work from "begging for (just) one thing". Surely that can be fit into the meter?
"standing in front of him and begging..." ? "right in front of him, begging..."? "begging for his very life"? "begging for dear life"?

Ok, considering the above said...

And when someone remembered the past days of war
Then his poor oppressed conscience would stand it no more
He'd drink hard just because he was seeing that guy
Begging in front of him for his evident strive

doesn't seem too ironic now, does it?

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:34

I don't like this "strive" to begin with. "I strive to do something" is like "I devote all my efforts to something". It's not something you do in a brief moment of terror.
Or maybe I got the wrong notion of the word?

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:40

Oh, it's used as a noun here, but the meaning is close to what you said...
Maybe "Standing in front of him begging for his dear (poor, lame - or whatsoever - ) life"?

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:42

"for dear life" would be really nice, since it's a fixed expression meaning "desperately" and it could be read literally too.

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:54

OK, adopted.
Then the last stanza should read as follows:

And when someone remembered the past days of war
Then his poor oppressed conscience would stand it no more
He'd drink hard just because he was seeing that guy
Standing in front of him begging for his dear life

And what about the previous ones? Taking into consideration the earlier discussed matters...

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 15:56

Sounds pretty good to me. What about updating your translation first, to judge from the whole picture?

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 16:03

Ok, I'll revise the discussed lines now.

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 16:13

Done!

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 17:04

Ok, now for pass two:

Don't You Shoot -> that sounds like an order or a threat (don't you shoot, or else...). That could work in the first lines, but not in the end. As I understand it, Shevchuk is not threatening, he's rather begging clueless kids to stop playing with guns.
To fill the meter, I'd rather use "please, don't shoot"

"bring down to their ends" is understandable but maybe a bit exotic. That sounds close to "the means to their ends" too. [@Gavin] would be a better judge of that

Shooting clubs’ the best patron -> the inversion sounds strange, like the shooting club itself was the best patron. At any rate that would be "the shooting club's best patron" or possibly "shooting clubs' best patron".
Not sure "patron" applies to shooting clubs though. "member" would sound more likely, but maybe "patron" is more ironic.
Again [@Gavin] should have the last say on this.

I still have my doubts on "the bods" Regular smile

excellent crack shot -> that might be a bit too superlative. "amazing" maybe?

Shot with pleasure -> that would mean he's the one being shot at Regular smile "shooting" seems more like it

as like in the dark -> I still don't get the idea

A wonderful luck! -> "what a lucky guy!" ? ("what a..." sounds more natural to express amazement)

all of what he had dreamt -> not sure that works. "all his dreams came true" or something?

returned met -> "returned and met" or "returned to meet"

met with his mother’s blubs -> "met his crying/sobbing mother"?
That's a rather bold departure from the Russian. Maybe a tad bit ironic for the mood, but on the other hand that would picture him as a grown-up kid, so why not?
Still I don't think "his mother's blubs" would carry the idea.

give wide berth -> "give a wide berth". I don't think you can do away with the article there

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 18:07
petit élève wrote:

Ok, now for pass two:

Don't You Shoot -> that sounds like an order or a threat (don't you shoot, or else...). That could work in the first lines, but not in the end. As I understand it, Shevchuk is not threatening, he's rather begging clueless kids to stop playing with guns.
To fill the meter, I'd rather use "please, don't shoot"

OK. You're right. Wink smile

petit élève wrote:

"bring down to their ends" is understandable but maybe a bit exotic. That sounds close to "the means to their ends" too. [@Gavin] would be a better judge of that

I still think it could go, but let's wait for another opinion.

petit élève wrote:

Shooting clubs’ the best patron -> the inversion sounds strange, like the shooting club itself was the best patron. At any rate that would be "the shooting club's best patron" or possibly "shooting clubs' best patron".
Not sure "patron" applies to shooting clubs though. "member" would sound more likely, but maybe "patron" is more ironic.
Again [@Gavin] should have the last say on this.

Oh, that comes like some gibberish, though introduced intentionally. My first variant was "Shooting clubs were your havens", but I didn't like it for some reason. Regular smile

petit élève wrote:

I still have my doubts on "the bods" Regular smile

Let Gavin judge. Though I could switch it into guys/prize in no time. Wink smile

petit élève wrote:

excellent crack shot -> that might be a bit too superlative. "amazing" maybe?

It would not get into the metre : ( Maybe "the steadiest"?

petit élève wrote:

Shot with pleasure -> that would mean he's the one being shot at Regular smile "shooting" seems more like it

as like in the dark -> I still don't get the idea

It's supposed to be the continuation of the previously started sentence: [And he] shot with pleasure... Wink smile So we'd better wait for Gavin's opinion here, as well as about "the dark".

petit élève wrote:

A wonderful luck! -> "what a lucky guy!" ? ("what a..." sounds more natural to express amazement)

I don't think it's a true problem here, but it might need to be changed together with the above to keep rhyming.

petit élève wrote:

all of what he had dreamt -> not sure that works. "all his dreams came true" or something?

Ok, it may require some changes to the following line, though...

petit élève wrote:

returned met -> "returned and met" or "returned to meet"

Oh, that grammar sometimes pisses me off. If it's too clumsy for a song, I'll surely change it into something "returned to soothe his mother's blubs"

petit élève wrote:

met with his mother’s blubs -> "met his crying/sobbing mother"?
That's a rather bold departure from the Russian. Maybe a tad bit ironic for the mood, but on the other hand that would picture him as a grown-up kid, so why not?
Still I don't think "his mother's blubs" would carry the idea.

Well, it's said "наконец-то" that would rather mean the family was missing him badly, so did the guy, I suppose. That's why I used such an expression here...

petit élève wrote:

give wide berth -> "give a wide berth". I don't think you can do away with the article there

Oh, I heard it not once without the indefinite article, hence it would probably be OK. May Gavin enlighten us on these subtleties... Regular smile I can insert another phrase here, though..

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 18:14

Yep, I think Obi wan Gavin is the one we need to restore balance to these lyrics now.

I meant "amazing crack shot" btw. "amazing" and "excellent" have the same length, haven't they?

Brat    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 18:19

Yep, but the prosody differs somewhat...

petit élève    Tue, 17/04/2018 - 18:22

indeed the stress would move down one syllable....

Gavin    Wed, 18/04/2018 - 14:57

So much to catch up on! I'll have a go...

I'll just read the translation as it is and see what you've said about anything that jumps out at me. First impression though is that it's looking pretty good!

Right, "Bods" to mean "buddies" - no not really. It could just about be used to mean "people" - e.g. "There are one or two bods I get on with at work" but not sure it's a good fit here.

How about:

The shooting clubs’ best patron, surprising your pals,
As an excellent crack shot, you won your medals

Note the moved 'the' as well - that makes more sense to me that way.

I'm afraid I don't get "as like in the dark" either - what's the intention here?

they'd be more likely to exclaim "What wonderful luck"

Then his poor oppressed conscience would stand it no more - "Could" better than "would" here.

yeah - give "a" wide berth - you can't do with the "a"

I'm not crazy about "blubs" but I can't really see a reason not to use it especially as you are aiming for the rhyme with "clubs"

Regular smile

Brat    Wed, 18/04/2018 - 16:00
Gavin wrote:

Right, "Bods" to mean "buddies" - no not really. It could just about be used to mean "people" - e.g. "There are one or two bods I get on with at work" but not sure it's a good fit here.

I meant "buddies too". Wink smile The original says "people". Meaning all the folks hanging around yelled "WOW"! So I wonder about which pair would be preferrable in this light: pals/medals (the stress in the "medals" would be unusual in this case, but I think, it's not critical), or guys/prize, or should I leave those "bods" in their place?
And I'm going to get rid of that unusual gibberish "Shooting clubs' patrons" somehow...

Gavin wrote:

I'm afraid I don't get "as like in the dark" either - what's the intention here?

And if you read the line again from the beginning, will it remind you something? Especially when paying not very much attention to the middle part of it. Wink smile I mean, "like" stands here for the purpose of introducing some unusualness.

Gavin wrote:

they'd be more likely to exclaim "What wonderful luck"

OK, let them exclaim exactly this way. Regular smile

Gavin wrote:

Then his poor oppressed conscience would stand it no more - "Could" better than "would" here.

Oh, that was my first variant, I'll switch it back. Regular smile

Gavin wrote:

yeah - give "a" wide berth - you can't do with the "a"

OK, I'll use some other expression to render keeping distance. Regular smile

Gavin wrote:

I'm not crazy about "blubs" but I can't really see a reason not to use it especially as you are aiming for the rhyme with "clubs"
Regular smile

OK, let there be "blubs&clubs".

Gavin    Wed, 18/04/2018 - 19:51

Really not liking "bods" but guys/prize is great.

This shot in the dark... my only guess is maybe sexual? In which case fair enough but I can't say it jumps out at me. Otherwise I'm in the dark too...

petit élève    Wed, 18/04/2018 - 20:37

btw. Gavin, you might like this one. It's a really funny little song and a big hit in France, apparently. Lots of pretty good puns, which I struggled to render.

Brat    Wed, 18/04/2018 - 16:21

Shooting clubs’ the best patron->Bein' a shooting clubs' goer, surprising the mobs ??
He began to give wide berth to all shooting clubs ->He began steering clear of all shooting clubs ???

Brat    Thu, 19/04/2018 - 15:39
Gavin wrote:

This shot in the dark... my only guess is maybe sexual? In which case fair enough but I can't say it jumps out at me. Otherwise I'm in the dark too...

Well, you almost got it. My intention was to hint that his whole life was as like a shot in the dark. BTW, accordingly to the Russian text, it should actually be "He was shooting with a smile, at random, making snapshots, hitting targets on the fly" or "He's smiling while shooting..." or even "He would shoot with a smile..." but I started with that preterite "Shot" for some reason and now I'm wondering whether it would be better to change this "shot" into "shooting", either being the gerund or a noun, or even a part of adverbial construction...

Gavin wrote:

Really not liking "bods" but guys/prize is great.

Ok, what about
Bein' a shooting clubs' goer, surprising the guys,
As a perfect crack shot, you won prize after prize
??

Gavin    Fri, 20/04/2018 - 12:54

Ah ok - well I guess that makes sense then. Regular smile

Yep, guys and prize is a winner!

Brat    Fri, 20/04/2018 - 16:54

Ok, I updated the translation. Regular smile
And what about these lines

Shot with pleasure, at random, as like in the dark
And they all kept exclaiming “What wonderful luck!”

that Pierre seemingly doesn't like?

Maybe I should replace them by the following ones:

He w/could shoot without aiming, with nary a miss,
And they all kept exclaiming "Wow! Wonderful! Bis!"

???

Brat    Thu, 19/04/2018 - 15:44

BTW, in the line about blubs my first variant was "And when he rolled back home like a vanishing slub/He began steering clear of his shooting club". But then I thought it would be a too Russian metaphor. Teeth smile But maybe it's better than blubs, I dunno... Regular smile