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Translation of Que vois-je from L’Étrange Noël de monsieur Jack

May 20, 2009

I wondered how long I should leave it before I posted another translation from L’Étrange Noël de monsieur Jack. As you can see, I decided I didn’t need to leave very much time at all. This is one of the best tracks from the film and is great for practising your French listening.

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Translation of Oogie Boogie Blues from L’Étrange Noël de monsieur Jack

May 9, 2009

Something a little bit different this time. In 1993, Tim Burton’s excellent Disney musical “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was released. Last night I was watching the DVD with the French soundtrack and decided to translate one of the French versions of the songs back into English. For practical and poetic reasons, there are significant differences between the French and English versions of the songs so the exercise is not altogether pointless!

In the song I have chosen “Oogie Boogie Blues”, there is some fairly advanced vocabulary, so the translation should be quite interesting for most.

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Translation of A la volonté du peuple from Les Misérables

April 14, 2009

The first London production of Les Misérables was approximately one third a translation of the original French score, one third a reworking, and one third new material. The original French version was composed in 1980 and the English version opened in 1985 in London. The London version was then used as the basis for a new French version of the show, and this song is from that version, the 1991 cast recording from the Thèâtre Mogador, Paris.

The track A la volonté du peuple existed in the 1980 version, and was reworked to become “Can you hear the people sing?” in the 1985 English version. The 1991 French version of the track has quite different lyrics from the original, although there are some lyrics that remain the same.

The translation I give here clearly is not the same as the English version of the song. The versions performed in the two languages are not direct translations of each other even though the song is intented to convey the same meaning within the show.

The second YouTube video below is a performance of the song from various Jean Valgeans from around the world, in a number of different languages.

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Translation of Belle from Notre Dame de Paris

April 2, 2009

As promised, here is the translation of the song Belle from the musical Notre Dame de Paris and also from Starmania.

The YouTube video has, handily, the English translation as subtitles. My own is slightly different in that, for the purposes of study I don’t need to be poetic so I can stay slightly closer to the literal meaning. For example “je sens l’enfer s’ouvrir sous mes pieds” is translated in the video as “I feel the devil take me by the feet” which is more poetic than the more literal translation of “I feel hell open beneath my feet” but perhaps not as useful for our purposes.

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