Ólafur Arnalds - Particles (French translation)

French translation


Et me voilà
à flotter sur une mer d'émeraude
Qu'on prolonge ma danse
Qu'on me tienne aussi tranquille que possible.
Et j'essaye de garder le bon équilibre.
Et j'essaye, mais on dirait que ça ne sert à rien.
Et il y a ces mains lourdes
qui me tirent vers le bas, sur ma poitrine
elles s’agrippent, toute ma peau change de couleur.
Tu flottes tranquillement au-dessus de moi
et je me débats, mais on dirait que ça ne sert à rien
Dis bonsoir.
Je sais que la mer m'a engloutie.
On se heurte l'un à l'autre, des couleurs qui me dévorent.
Dis bonsoir, c'est tout.
Je suis déjà à terre
Je pleure
Déjà à terre
Déjà à terre
Et je pleure
Déjà à terre
Et j'essaye
Et j'essaye
Mais je me sens moins que rien1
  • 1. lit. "mais ça donne l'impression d'être gâché" ou peut-être "mis au rebut". En tous cas, pas une très bonne image de soi
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Submitted by petit élève on Mon, 16/10/2017 - 05:52
Added in reply to request by gamgin
Author's comments:

As I understand it, the song depicts a state of severe depression, though the central scene almost looks like a sexual abuse. I can only guess the ambiguity is intentional.



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Gavin    Tue, 17/10/2017 - 07:17

Well... It's a curious song which I think you have pretty accurately translated.
I might take issue with the "keep me dancing, keep me as still as can be"
I don't think it's the sea doing this - that would be rather "(which) keeps me dancing"

I would say this was imperative - Not sure how best to say that... Faites-moi danser encore? Faites-moi rester tranquille

petit élève    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 19:06

The problem is, whom is she talking to then? The mysterious rapist boyfriend ? Or more like "someone make me dance" ?

In the first case that would be "continue(z) à me faire danser", or else "qu'on continue à me faire danser"

Gavin    Tue, 17/10/2017 - 09:21

Not sure about the abusive interpretation...certainly could be, but it could also be depression - floating in this emerald sea but reality keeps on pulling her back (and down). Not sure...

I was thinking the first of those (continuez...) but but but - i'd say it was more of a general wish so actually more like the second.
It's like when one says "give me strength" and the meaning is more like "God grant me the strength to deal with this".

petit élève    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 19:25

Mmm... The mood is certainly depressing, but still the guy seems to use her like an object, and the scene is really creepy, violent, desperate. Maybe that's just how she feels, but even so that makes me rather uneasy.

Yes, I think that expressing wishes would make more sense than speaking to an actual person. I think you'd need to be more explicit for the French to sound nice, but that would amount to "would that I kept dancing" or something like that.

Gavin    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 19:54

Yep, it's by no means certain - plenty of ambiguity but the feeling is certaily very sombre!

petit élève    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 19:58

If the purpose of the song was to give an idea of how terrible depression can be, that's a success. A bit too violent for my taste, but effective.

petit élève    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 20:02

I think the line that lead me to think of actual violence is this "coloring all my flesh". I assumed the color was red, but maybe it's more like "turning my flesh to stone" or something?

Gavin    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 23:04

Or colouring with bruises - just as violent.
I'm just not so sure that these hands are 'his' hands and not some metaphorical hands. These hands (thoughts/feelings) that weigh her down. But it's just a theory - they may well be the hands of an abusive lover.

By the way, that last line is just "but it feels like wasted (time)" but she doesn't conplete the thought. She doesn't change it to "but I feel wasted" or anything like that.

petit élève    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 22:55

Well, I think the song plays on the ambiguity, but the real thing happening is the depression, not the abuse.

I'm trying to stay allusive in French too, and I think I've found something to avoid "reddening" or "bruises" : "et ma peau change de couleur". That drops the "flesh" but that leaves the possibility of her paling instead of flustering.

I agree the last sentence is open to interpretation, but she sings it quite purposefuly, not like an incomplete sentence, so I think the "wasted" is empasized enough to make it the central meaning.
What do you think?

Gavin    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 23:28

Yes, definitely good to keep it as ambiguous as possible. I think the fact she's singing in a foreign language makes it a little hard to read her intention but the last line could be be read as being pointed back at herself even though there is no "I" in it. It's certainly a valid interpretation. She was singing about wasted time time but at at the end it's all a waste. Also the call back to the "rien" in your translation of the earlier line is rather pleasing.

petit élève    Mon, 16/10/2017 - 23:25

Right, I think we did commendable efforts to do the song justice. I think I'll leave it like that, unless you see something else?

Gavin    Tue, 17/10/2017 - 07:16

Yep looking good Regular smile