Robert Burns - Scots Wha Hae (French translation)

Proofreading requested
English (Scots)

Scots Wha Hae

Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled
Scots wham Bruce has aften led
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victorie!
Now's the day, and now's the hour
See the front o' battle lour
See approach proud Edward's power
Chains and slaverie!
Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn, and flee!
Wha for Scotland's King and Law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw
Freeman stand, or freeman fa'
Let him follow me!
By Oppression's woes and pains
By your sons in servile chains
We will drain our dearest veins
But they shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low
Tyrants fa' in every foe
Liberty's in every blow
Let us do or dee!
Submitted by evfokas on Sun, 08/03/2015 - 07:47
Last edited by michealt on Sun, 17/06/2018 - 23:16
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French translation

Écossais qui avez saigné

Écossais qui avez saigné avec Wallace,
Écossais que Bruce a souvent entraînés,
soyez bienvenus à une fin sanglante
ou à une victoire !
Le jour et l'heure sont arrivés,
voyez le front renfrogné de bataille.
Voyez s'approcher la puissance d'Édouard le fier
des chaines et de l'esclavage !
Qui veut être une canaille perfide ?
Qui peut remplir la tombe d'un trouillard ?
Qui est assez vil pour être esclave ?
Qu'il fasse demi-tour et s'enfuisse !
Celui qui pour le roi et la loi d'Écosse
dégainera résolument le glaive de la liberté,
Pour survivre en homme libre ou tomber en homme libre
qu'il me suive !
Contre les malheurs et les souffrances de l'oppression,
contre les chaines serviles qui retiennent vos fils,
nous viderons nos veines les plus chères
mais il faut quíls soient libres !
Terrassons les usurpateurs orgueilleux,
un tyran tombe avec chaque ennemi,
chaque coup sert la liberté.
Que nous réussissions ou mourions !
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Submitted by michealt on Sun, 17/06/2018 - 23:16
Last edited by michealt on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 18:05
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Klou    Wed, 20/06/2018 - 12:04

I don't speak Scots but it's quite close to English. Regular smile

qui ont saigné -> qui avez saigné (you're talking to them, not about them)
sanglant -> sanglante

why "voila" instead of "Voyez"?
refrogné -> renfrogné
Voyes -> Voyez
"orgueilleux" rather means "arrogant", I think "Édouard le fier" would sound better.
I'm not sure about what "approach" here means, is it about Edward approaching?

Qui veut être canaille perfide ? -> Qui sera une canaille perfide ?
le tombe -> la tombe
dún -> d'un

Qui pour le roi et la loi d'Écosse -> Celui qui pour le roi et la loi d'Écosse
fortement -> "avec force", "fermement" or "résolument". "Fortement" means "beaucoup".
typo: livre means book Tongue smile
you can't start your sentence with "soit", it has to be "qu'il soit". But there's already "qu'il" at the beginning of the next line.
I suggest you to rephrase a bit, like this:
"Pour survivre en homme libre ou tomber en homme libre". What do you think?

soufrances -> souffrances
maybe "seront libres" instead of "devront être libres"

usurpatueurs -> usurpateurs (this typo is quite funny :D)
tombent -> tombe
chacque -> chaque
enemi -> ennemi

michealt    Thu, 21/06/2018 - 17:50

Thanks, Klou. Your comments are very useful, especially when you mention something I accidentally left out: "approach" - I should have included it in the translation (as "s'approcher"). basically Edward's army is approaching (getting closer) but but the concept has been transferred from army to his power (which is fair enough, as his army is the source of his power). I seem to have lest a lot of silly typing errors too.

Actually it's not clear to me whether this song is in Scots (a Germanic language that started diverging from English 1600 years ago) or in Scottish English (any of the dialects of English spoken in Scotland). Some people claim that Burns always wrote in Scots, but I don't believe he did. LyricsTranslate doesn't recognise Scots, so we classify lyrics in Scots as being in Scottish English.

There is one point ("will be") where I disagree with you, and one where you don't appear to be sure and neither am I sure what is the ight way to express it in French. These two points are "will be" and "shall be":
I think your apparent desire to translate them using the French simple future indicative tense comes from the the horrible myth that such constructions with those two auxiliary verbs always represent future tense. In fact "will" often indicate intent, preference, desire, or probability and here it definitely indicates desire or intent, not future. And usually "shall" indicates neccessity or obligation, not future. Unfortunately school children are often taught (in Britain as well as in France) that the "will" construction is the thing in English which corresponds to French future, whereas in fact English has a non-compound past tense and a non-compound non-past tense and the latter is as often used for the future as for the present (English has no simple present tense, just a simple past and a simple non-past).
It's easy to translate "will" as "veut" in the relevant line.
But "shall" is more difficult: What Burns was suggesting in his line "But they shall be free" was that Bruce was stating that he and his supporters had an obligation to ensure the freedom of the next generation of Scots. Maybe "Mais il faul qu'ils soient libres"? I would appreciate any input you have on this.

Klou    Fri, 22/06/2018 - 16:55

You've forgotten to correct "le tombe".
You cannot write "qui survive [...] ou qui tombe", "qui" just doesn't fit here. You may write "qu'il" instead but it won't sound nice because the next line starts with "qu'il" too. If you don't like the suggestion from my previous comment then you can repeat again "Celui qui survivra [...] ou qui tombera".

I did know that "will" could mean "want", but as you said I assumed "will be" should always be translated into future tense in French. My bad. Thank you for your explanations, it's very interesting.
"mais il faut qu'ils soient libres" seems perfect Thumbs up

michealt    Fri, 22/06/2018 - 18:15

Thanks Klou.

I keep on wanting to write something like "condition qu'il soit homme libre et que peu lui importe la difference entre survivre et tomber" but it feels too clumsy and I can't work out how to make it work properly. So I'll go with your "pour ... tomber" suggestion, which is closer that anything I can think of that isn't clumsy or ungrammatical or both.