November 28, 2007

Mr Cormorant [flash] - Just sits by the lake. Faster, faster! [earworm]

I have no idea about the cultural context. Who is Mr Cormorant? Who is pelican? Why is it a 'warm' handshake? Why does he call him private? Who is the 'us' that is going to take all the food? "the family's always well fed by this regime" - a political statement or just a comment on fish stocks? Since when are there whales and sharks in Lake Balaton? You tell me.

  • Yes, tellurian has it. There is more to this song than meets the ear. I think there needs to be some internal investigation. Put them under 24 hour watch. Pull all their records (hah!) WATERBOARD them if you have to. We must get at the truth, or the pelicans have won.
  • I like this. It makes me want to post a smiley emoticon. But I will resist.
  • I wonder why some songs/poems that are translated also rhyme in the second language. Could these odd contextual concepts simply be a translator trying too hard to find a rhyme in English?
  • I remember assuming, way back before I actually learned any foreign languages, that all words that rhymed in one language also rhymed in other languages. Many years later, hired to do an English libretto of a French opera, I found myself devoutly wishing it were so.
  • I keep reading the sidebar title as "A Hungarian Fisting Song."
  • That's interesting, The Underpants Monster. How did you deal with it? Is it like annasbrew says and you have to use a not exactly correct word to get a rhyme?
  • Yeah - find a different turn of phrase that means the same thing.
  • Is that always possible?
  • An example would be good. Not a song neccessarily but a poem, from one of my favourite poets, Larkin: This Be The Verse. You have to rhyme 'dad' with 'had' and 'do' with 'who', 'turn' with 'stern' and 'coats' with 'throats', also 'man' with 'can' and 'shelf' with 'yourself'. Never mind the rest of the words and meaning. Is it even possible?
  • Here's an example from my libretto: Original French: Je serais charmante, Toujours élégante. De ces beaux seigneurs A moi tous les couers! Avec de l'addresse, Je serais princesse, Toujours la noblesse, Toujours la richesse, Feront mon bonheur. Dis-moi donc, Cendrillon, N'ai-je pas raison? Literal translation: I will be charming, always elegants. The hearts of these handssome lords will all be mine. With some shrewdness, I will become a princess. My good fortune will always be nobility and wealth. Tell me, Cinderella, am I not right? New lyrics: I will be so charming, Utterly disarming. Gentlemen so fine, They will all be mine! I am quite convinced That I shall wed a prince, And live a life of pleasure With his royal treasure, Happy ever after, Happy evermore. I will charm them tonight; Tell me, am I right?
  • But no, I don't think it's always possible - or at leasst not always possible to get a result that lives up to the original. For instance, there have ben several translations of Jaqces Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas," but none of them come close to capturing the lyricism and shades of meaning of the original.
  • *Claps* Bravo. That's very clever.