Europa (English translation)



Unten im Hafen, setzen sie die Segel
fahren hinaus aufs offene Meer
zum Abschied winken ihre Familien
schauen ihnen noch lange hinterher
und das Wasser liegt wie ein Spiegel
als sie schweigend durchs Dunkel ziehen
kaum fünfzig Meilen bis zum Ziel
das so nah vor ihnen liegt
sag mir, dass das nur ein Märchen ist
mit Happy End für alle Leute
und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind
leben sie noch heute
Sie kommen zu Tausenden, doch die Allermeisten
werden das gelobte Land niemals erreichen
denn die Patrouillen werden sie aufgreifen
um sie in unserem Auftrag zu deportieren
und der Rest, der wird ersaufen
im Massengrab vom Mittelmeer
weil das hier alles kein Märchen ist
kein Happy End für alle die Leute
und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind
sterben sie noch heute
sterben sie noch heute
Submitted by brightswanbrightswan on Wed, 26/09/2012 - 19:06
English translationEnglish
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Down at the harbor, they set the sails,
go out to the open sea,
their families waving their goodbyes
watching them for a long time,
and the water is like a mirror
as they silently move through the darkness,
less than 50 miles to the goal
that’s so close in front of them.
Tell me that it’s just a fairy tale
with a happy end for all the people
and if they haven't died yet1
they’ll live happily ever after. 2
They come by the thousands, but the vast majority
will never reach the promised land
‘cause the patrols will pick them up
in order to deport them on our behalf
and the rest, the rest will drown
in the mass grave of the Mediterranean
‘Cause it’s not all a fairy tale here
no happy end for all the people
and if they haven't died yet
they’ll die this very day,
they’ll die this very day.
  • 1. Straight translation: und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind = and if they have not died.
  • 2. Idiom: "und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind leben sie noch heute" this takes both the 3rd and 4th lines in block 2, and combines it into one English phrase, "and they all lived happily ever after." See "authors comments for additional information.
thanked 17 times
Submitted by brightswanbrightswan on Wed, 26/09/2012 - 19:08
Author's comments:

At the request of fulicasenia, further information:

The origin of the phrase “they all lived happily ever after,” has been routinely translated from “und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind, leben sie noch (heute).” It can be traced back to the writings of the Brothers Grimm, who collected the old German legends and folklore of their time, then published them. At their inception, the stories were not meant to be age-appropriate for young children, and some were meant to be a "warning tale" for children such as "Hansel und Gretel." Many of the stories were violent, but have become “sanitized” through the editing and printing process, and over time, and have turned into the popular fairy tales we know today.

One story in particular, Fundevogel (Foundling-Bird) used both “Es war einmal” (Once upon a time) at the beginning and “wenn sie nicht gestorben sind, leben sie noch” at the end (most of the tales don't contain both). I also found a translation where the original German meaning fit and was used; this may be the original source of that text. The last line of the English translation reads, “and if they have not died, they are still alive.”

Original German text (Fundevogel)

English translation (Foundling-Bird)

"traditional" translation 1

"traditional" translation 2

Here are additional links with some interesting reading:

The Brothers Grimm

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Reinhardswald is the area where the Brothers Grimm came from. Interesting to note: this is also the birth place of the best (most successful) Hanoverian breeding line in the world (Hanoverian mare line 659).
Reinhardswald (Reinhard Forest)
"Hannoveraner Stutenstämme," Asmussen Verlag (Publishing).

This was a very interesting and moving song to translate. In order to convey the meaning, I had to use both straight translations mixed with their idiomatic expressions.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

And...if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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Die Toten Hosen: Top 3
fulicaseniafulicasenia    Wed, 26/09/2012 - 19:41

How about "and if they haven't died yet" instead of "if they are not dead" in both places? You could also say, "If they haven't died yet/They're living happily ever after." I would also write more clearly in footnote that this is the phrase in the original Grimm fairy tales that always gets translated into English as "they lived happily ever after." Which is actually pretty funny, since it changes the meaning from what a grownup would think to what a grownup would want to tell their young children.

I never really listened to Die Toten Hosen, but I for some reason I didn't think they wrote this kind of song Regular smile

brightswanbrightswan    Wed, 26/09/2012 - 19:46

Thank YOU!! It's not exactly a STRAIGHT translation; but that's what footnotes are for, the meaning is caught!! Regular smile

Thank you very much for that wonderful suggestion!!

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brightswanbrightswan    Thu, 27/09/2012 - 06:38

Information updated on The Brothers Grimm! Regular smile

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