Lía (English translation)

English translationEnglish


Versions: #1#2#3#4
Weave me a velvet quilt from your hair,
that would cover me,
if the sunrise found me naked.
Grasping my mouth with yours
gasping like a fish out of water, I’ll learn how
the fish dies and kills with its mouth.
You weave the web that entangles my consciousness
and I die for your love, for no particular reason.
You bind each day with the following one,
and day after day, you bind and bind...
Tangle your arms,
make them the two loops
that would tie me to your breast, my love.
Entangle with your kisses
the part of my brain
that controls my heart.
You bind my glances at your shoulders,
underneath your skirt, if you don’t mind me saying that,
to direct my eyes intentionally there.
Tie me to the post of your bed,
don’t be left with the desire to learn
how much love fits in us this one single time.
Without paper you roll cigarettes of affection
so that I could smoke them on your skin.
You tangle the crosspiece of this poor marionette
and between affair and affair you tangle, tangle, tangle...
Tangle your arms,
make them the two loops
that would tie me to your breast, my love.
Entangle with your kisses
the part of my brain
that controls my heart.
Tie me to the post of your bed,
don’t be left with the desire to learn
how much love fits in us this one single time.
Without paper you roll cigarettes of affection
so that I could smoke them on your skin.
thanked 4 times

Copyright®: Andrzej Pałka.

All translations are protected by copyright law. Copying and publishing on other websites or in other media, even with the source link, is not allowed without a written permission of the author.

Todas las traducciones son protegidas por la ley de derechos de autor. Es prohibido copiar y publicarlas en otros sitios o en otros medios, incluso con el enlace de origen, sin un permiso del autor.

Wszystkie tłumaczenia są chronione prawami autorskimi. Kopiowanie i publikowanie na innych stronach internetowych lub w innych mediach, jest dozwolone wyłącznie po uzyskaniu pisemnej zgody autora. Podanie źródła tłumaczenia nie zastępuje zgody autora.

Submitted by AldefinaAldefina on Fri, 03/10/2014 - 14:29
Author's comments:

Second version - I hope a better one.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)


Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 11:38

My favourite one of your three versions! 😊👍

AldefinaAldefina    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 12:01

This song is something extreme, 'cause it cannot be translated literally. A literal translation wouldn't make sense, no matter what the target language were.

I tried to find some help on the net and on one of the Spanish language forums a native speaker explained that, for the reasons I mentioned above, it was not a song for those who wanted to learn Spanish. It only motivated me to make more interpretations.

This is the last version, so it means I was able to make it better. As for Polish interpretations I believe the best one is also the last one and it's almost singable.

Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 13:09

Yes, as far as I can tell, either the very first or the last version is usually the best. - And I really like your idea of creating different interpretations. Personally, I think that we all only perceive a very limited part of external reality and when two people look at the same painting they see completely different things. So if you write multiple versions, I think that expresses a desire to broaden this restricted perspective ...

AldefinaAldefina    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 13:21

Sorry, I overlooked, it's the second version - the one in the middle. The reason why I submit more than one interpretation, or add one when there are already some translations submitted, is that I usually avoid literal translation - only very simple lyric can be translated this way. Anyway, I'm against literal translations. They seldom sound good in the target language.

Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 13:59

I agree, a song or a poem is much more than just words, it's rhythm, sound and mood, there are images and associations, so a word-by-word-translation is nothing else than Google Translate.

AldefinaAldefina    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 15:35

Learning languages is learning to be able to think in a different language. That's something they won't teach you at school. When translating one should not care too much about the words. The only thing is one cannot change the meaning of the original. Profis who write singable translations are forced to interpret the lyrics and go for compromises.

We have here one Polish professional translator: and all his Polish translations are wonderful. You won't be able to check that, so as an example let me just tell you that his translation of one of the Nohavica's Czech songs is a perfect example of a perfect interpretation. The mood, rhythm and the idea of the original was kept even if he moved the story from Ostrava in Czechia to Warsaw and changed most of the details. The original: and his translation sang by Nohavica:

When my daughter was a small kid I bought her a book with Polish poems translated to German. Here you have a perfect translation from that book: To compare let me show you an almost literal translation: Does it sound good? For sure not.

Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 18:37

I have just read the last two links, the first one's German part is absolutely wonderful, of course I cannot say anything about the Polish original, but it seems to match very well. Even if you don't know the language of the source, you can easily see if there are any differences, for example regarding alliterations or anaphors (Nagle – gwizd! Nagle – świst! = Plötzlich – tschuff, plötzlich – puff), the punctuation (A dokąd? Na wprost! = Wohin denn? Gradeaus!) or the length of the lines. The second link, yes, it is quite the opposite and I stopped reading after the first lines - it is not literally, it is poor: "Auf einer Station steht Lokomotive" – a typical mistake of Slavic speakers to omit the article (eine Lokomotive), "vom Schweiß getroffen" (should be "vor Schweiß triefend"), "das fettige Öle" (= Öl)...

And regarding singable translations I had once a discussion with leszek. In my opinion it is not as difficult as it seems, because you can stretch or contract the syllables (see the Rolling-Stones-song "Ti-i-i-ime is on my side"), which you can not do if you want to translate it metrically.

AldefinaAldefina    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 20:54

In fact the one I linked was only an attempt to make a literal translation and it all went wrong. To be honest I didn't read it. I just throw a glance at it and I believed it was the one I was searching for. Years ago somewhere on the forum there was a discussion about translating and I linked the correct source, but now I was unable to find it both here and on the net. Nevertheless, it looked like the one that I linked, only it was ways better as for the grammar and words, but for me it sounded awfully just because it was too literal.

Leszek also told me it's just the professionalism one can learn and it has nothing to do with the talent. Well, I don't believe it. One can learn writing singable interpretations, but it would be impossible without having some talent. One simply has to be a poet. When I translate I usually try to make my translations singable and most of them are, even if usually not perfectly, singable. So far I'm only proud of this one:

As you can see it was a second attempt and the result rhymes and is perfectly singable. For the first translation I received twice 5 stars, but I wasn't happy with that one, even if everything was correctly translated. What was missing was the style of expression that would be similar to the original. It simply didn't sound like a Vysotsky's song.

Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Mon, 01/03/2021 - 14:36

Please don't worry about the link, I know exactly what you mean. And I do agree with Leszek, you can learn technique but not talent. Recently I have written my first "cycle of sonnets" (sorry, I don't know the English expression for "Sonettenkranz"), I am technically satisfied, but, strange enough, the romantic and philosophical content is without any life and color. So if you ask me, I would always prefer the mood, the expression, the soul... Like the music of the old and always out-of-tune-Blues-musicians. 😊
And I am so sorry that I am not able to understand Polish to read your Vysotsky translation, but I have seen that you reworked it more than 3 years later. I think it is a very good idea to revise the own translations from time to time. The first official version is – maybe – a sort of seed, which will need its time to grow inside your soul. - Some years ago, I threw away all (!) my poems, then I joined LT and rewrote them. In my opinion they have become better now. The same was told me by my husband, a musician. He had lost his files, about 3.000 songs, and had to compose them anew. I asked him about that, and he also confirmed that the new ones are better now. So, of course you have not to destroy or to lose your work, but if you wait some time and rework it, you will be surprised... I am sure, your Vysotsky will become great some day (and maybe it is perfect already, but that I cannot appraise). The only thing I can see is that your German is excellent. 👍

GeborgenheitGeborgenheit    Sun, 28/02/2021 - 15:52

As someone who has studied Spanish interpretation and both English to Spanish translation and vice versa in university, plus having read your other versions, I like this version best. It is a freer translation and it isn't completely direct, but that's the great thing about it. It's very poetic and yet it is still completely faithful to the meaning of the original.

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