How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
Ilargi
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Ilargi » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:31 am

_23623_ wrote:But hey! You have one absolute advantage over English speakers. Spanish Rs will never say “here he comes like Don Drown” !

There had to be one advantage. :lol:

_23623_ wrote: Red and Black
- "Nuestras vidas no tienen valor" (Our lives don't have any value. Corresponds to "Our little lives don't count at all".) Want to complain a little about this. I know the Spanish lyrics are a direct translation of English, but putting into context this just sounds so...not like Enjy.

2010: "Y nada somos al final" (and we are nothing in the end). I do like it, but I think it makes more sense when you here the whole song and not just that line isolated.

By the way, I've just realised that Valjean calls Javert "usted" in the 2010 Confrontation and "tú" in the 1993 version. I think "usted" is more appropriate, "tú" sounds too familiar and disrespectful.


Edit:
I've finally listened to the 1993 Spanish version, and apart from what _23623_ has said, I've noticed a couple of things.
First, in Master of the house they speak about the time when Thénardier was in Waterloo! :shock: I guess that lines were in the original show too? But I was so shocked and it certainly was a pleasant surprise. :D
In The robbery, Javert says: "Aquí está Thénardier, su vida y obra me sé" (Here is Thénardier, I know his life and works). I like the fact that he says Thénardier's name, it reminds me of the scene in the brick when Javert encounters the Patron Minette and says hello to every one of them as if they're old friends. :lol:
In Do you hear the people sing, Feuilly's last lines are: "La sangre del pueblo de Francia se va a derramar" (The blood of the people of France is going to be spilled). I don't like it very much because it sounds to my ears as if death is something good? In English you have "the blood of the martyrs", so he's talking about the people who are willing to sacrifice themselves and it makes sense that he considers it to be positive. But in Spanish he refers to France in general and that would include all the innocent people who have nothing to do with the rebellion. It sounds as if they were attacking the people and not the government somehow.
In Beggars at the feast, Thénardier sings with an exaggerated French accent. I think it makes it more comical, as if Thénardier is trying to look posh and imitating all upper-class guests. This is strange when you think about it, because all characters are French and why would the guest have a more marked accent or why would Thénardier fake it? But it probably works on stage, since you don't tend to overthink these things when you see the show, you just accept it and enjoy it.
Last edited by Ilargi on Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby 23623 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:50 pm

Let's resume this! :D
Ilargi wrote:By the way, I've just realised that Valjean calls Javert "usted" in the 2010 Confrontation and "tú" in the 1993 version. I think "usted" is more appropriate, "tú" sounds too familiar and disrespectful.

He also addresses Javert as "tú" in the confrontation before Javert's suicide. :roll:
It seems that everybody uses "tú" in the 1993 cast, with the incredible exception of Thenardier, who addresses his customers with "usted".
Valjean calls Javert "usted" in 2010 Confrontation? I remember he uses the "tú" form of verbs in both prolog and Confrontation, such as "nada sabes"...Do I mishear anything then? :oops:

:arrow: On my Own
I consider it absolutely necessary to share this most inaccurate translation ever.
"Sin él, mi mundo es como siempre." (Without him, my world is pretty much the same) / "Without him, the world around me changes."
This is no doubt the most amusing line in "Sola Yo". Manages to crack me up every time. Actually both versions make sense here, but I've never expected the Spanish lyrics to be completely opposite of English. :lol:

:arrow: Drink with me
I've just realized that the "life is an error" comment exists in 1993 version as well. Actually I always skip this song...that's probably why I forget about it. Sorry Marius, I don't care about your lonely soul! Anyway, R's lines in 1993 cast:
"¿Crees que os recordarán al caer? ¿Puede que morir no tenga valor? ¿Es tu vida un gran error?" (Do you (singular) think that you (plural) will be remembered after you fall? Is it possible that death has no value? Is your (singular) life a huge error?)
I have a mental image that R's questioning Enjolras instead of talking to the whole group. I don't think it's a big deal, since "you" in English doesn't even distinguish between singular and plural. And although "creéis que..." sounds OK, "vuestra vida" won't fit the music at all, so it seems that R really has no choice but scolding Enjy. :mrgreen:
In fact I can't tell whether it's "creéis" or "crees". In the lyrics (link: http://www.geocities.ws/agategs/soundtr ... is-es.html) it is "crees", but I hear "creéis". Need some help from native speakers. :D
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Ilargi » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:29 pm

_23623_ wrote:Valjean calls Javert "usted" in 2010 Confrontation? I remember he uses the "tú" form of verbs in both prolog and Confrontation, such as "nada sabes"...Do I mishear anything then?

In the Confrontation he definitely says "usted" (le pido a usted tres días nada más). But Javert says "tú", which makes sense because Valjean is inferior to him (the same happens in the brick: Javert only adresses Valjean with "usted/vous" after he spares his life at the barricade).

_23623_ wrote: On my Own
I consider it absolutely necessary to share this most inaccurate translation ever.
"Sin él, mi mundo es como siempre." (Without him, my world is pretty much the same) / "Without him, the world around me changes."
This is no doubt the most amusing line in "Sola Yo". Manages to crack me up every time. Actually both versions make sense here, but I've never expected the Spanish lyrics to be completely opposite of English.

I haven't said anything about this because I don't like Éponine's songs in Spanish and my post would be too long, there are too many things that I would change (don't get me started with ALFOR). :lol:
As for that line in particular, you could interpret that her world is pretty much the same without Marius because Marius makes it special. But yes, you have to second guess to draw that conclusion.


_23623_ wrote: Drink with me
I've just realized that the "life is an error" comment exists in 1993 version as well. Actually I always skip this song...that's probably why I forget about it. Sorry Marius, I don't care about your lonely soul! Anyway, R's lines in 1993 cast:
"¿Crees que os recordarán al caer? ¿Puede que morir no tenga valor? ¿Es tu vida un gran error?" (Do you (singular) think that you (plural) will be remembered after you fall? Is it possible that death has no value? Is your (singular) life a huge error?)
I have a mental image that R's questioning Enjolras instead of talking to the whole group. I don't think it's a big deal, since "you" in English doesn't even distinguish between singular and plural. And although "creéis que..." sounds OK, "vuestra vida" won't fit the music at all, so it seems that R really has no choice but scolding Enjy.
In fact I can't tell whether it's "creéis" or "crees". In the lyrics (link: http://www.geocities.ws/agategs/soundtr ... is-es.html) it is "crees", but I hear "creéis". Need some help from native speakers.

He says "crees". So yes, it sounds as if he's just questioning Enjolras. And that singular/plural mixture makes it sounds like this: "Do you, Enjolras, think that you all will be remembered after you fall?". As if Enjolras was responsible for their deaths. And "¿Es tu vida un gran error?" is a very harsh thing to say. Like "It would be better if you weren't been born". :?
I like the ambiguity of the English "you" because it allows different interpretations. Grantaire is supposed to be talking to the whole group in the beginning, but at some point he's looking at Enjolras, so you can think either that he's talking only to him now or that he's still talking to everybody at the barricade. But in Spanish that's impossible, because we always distinguish between singular and plural.

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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby 23623 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:59 pm

Ilargi wrote:I've finally listened to the 1993 Spanish version, and apart from what _23623_ has said, I've noticed a couple of things.
First, in Master of the house they speak about the time when Thénardier was in Waterloo! :shock: I guess that lines were in the original show too? But I was so shocked and it certainly was a pleasant surprise. :D
In The robbery, Javert says: "Aquí está Thénardier, su vida y obra me sé" (Here is Thénardier, I know his life and works). I like the fact that he says Thénardier's name, it reminds me of the scene in the brick when Javert encounters the Patron Minette and says hello to every one of them as if they're old friends. :lol:
In Do you hear the people sing, Feuilly's last lines are: "La sangre del pueblo de Francia se va a derramar" (The blood of the people of France is going to be spilled). I don't like it very much because it sounds to my ears as if death is something good? In English you have "the blood of the martyrs", so he's talking about the people who are willing to sacrifice themselves and it makes sense that he considers it to be positive. But in Spanish he refers to France in general and that would include all the innocent people who have nothing to do with the rebellion. It sounds as if they were attacking the people and not the government somehow.
In Beggars at the feast, Thénardier sings with an exaggerated French accent. I think it makes it more comical, as if Thénardier is trying to look posh and imitating all upper-class guests. This is strange when you think about it, because all characters are French and why would the guest have a more marked accent or why would Thénardier fake it? But it probably works on stage, since you don't tend to overthink these things when you see the show, you just accept it and enjoy it.

Yay finally! We now have a more reliable source of information. :D

- The "Waterloo" line is in the English version as well. In some recordings the first part of MOTH is cut so you can't always find that line. But yeah, it's a lovely reference! Thenardier was in Waterloo, saved a dying man, accidentally got an admirer years later for this, and ruined that admirer's wedding. And dear Marius, you're probably the only fan of Thenardier in this world! :mrgreen:
- Returning to the topic of tú & usted, in fact it is the Thenardiers who use "usted" more than anyone else. M. Thenardier calls his customers and Valjean "usted", and Eppie calls Marius "usted". :lol:
- What you said about DYHTPS indeed makes sense. Oh my God...now I can never listen to it the same way as before. :shock: But I think it's also possible to interpret it as "the sacrifice of people (those who fight like Les Amis and those innocent victims) serves as a reminder of the darkness of this society and a reason to fight for a brighter future". This may sound more positive.
- Haha the accents. Same issue in English. I prefer British accents in LM and sometimes American accents can really annoy me. I understand that the characters are all French so in fact British accents make no more sense than American accents...they're not French anyway. But...yeah. We're all irrational sometimes. :mrgreen:

Ilargi wrote:I haven't said anything about this because I don't like Éponine's songs in Spanish and my post would be too long, there are too many things that I would change (don't get me started with ALFOR). :lol:
As for that line in particular, you could interpret that her world is pretty much the same without Marius because Marius makes it special. But yes, you have to second guess to draw that conclusion.
He says "crees". So yes, it sounds as if he's just questioning Enjolras. And that singular/plural mixture makes it sounds like this: "Do you, Enjolras, think that you all will be remembered after you fall?". As if Enjolras was responsible for their deaths. And "¿Es tu vida un gran error?" is a very harsh thing to say. Like "It would be better if you weren't been born". :?
I like the ambiguity of the English "you" because it allows different interpretations. Grantaire is supposed to be talking to the whole group in the beginning, but at some point he's looking at Enjolras, so you can think either that he's talking only to him now or that he's still talking to everybody at the barricade. But in Spanish that's impossible, because we always distinguish between singular and plural.

- Haha don't worry! At least, I definitely need something about ALFOR, because I can't possibly figure out more than half of the lyrics with Eppie sobbing all the time. And I'm very curious to see how you'll change the lyrics! *Waits patiently for Ilargi's too-long post*
- Oh..."better if you weren't been born" sounds indeed too harsh. If I were R I probably wouldn't dare to say that to Enjolras!

:arrow: On my own again. Two lines that I actually have some problems with.
The "como siempre" line is not that bad per se. But if you've listened to Les Mis in English before that, it's just impossible not to laugh!
- "Descansa la ciudad, y yo empiezo a vivir." (The city goes to sleep, and I start to live.) vs "The city goes to bed, and I can live inside my head." I really really love the English lyrics. This is my favorite line in OMO. It's an extremely beautiful way to express loneliness. Éponine's life in the daytime means nothing to her because nobody loves or even cares about her. She can only live in her dreams, with a hallucination of Marius and free from the cruelty of the real world which is now thankfully asleep and unable to harm her. The Spanish tranlsation is actually very close, only without pointing out that Eppie lives in her dreams...and without a rhyme.
- "Sin mí, él seguirá su vida, con la felicidad que yo soñé vivir con él." (Without me, his life goes on with the happiness that I dreamed of, i.e. that of living with him.) vs "Without me, his world will go on turning. A world that's full of happiness that I have never known." At first I liked this translation but I changed my mind pretty soon. "The happiness of living with Marius" is still conceivable anyway, and is probably the greatest form of "happiness" to Eppie, but "the happiness that one has never known" sounds even sadder. :(
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Mlle Enjolras » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:06 pm

I remember translating some parts of the Dutch translation to English and noticing some differences.
For one thing Éponine's lines in 'One day more' sound even sadder:
'One more day in loneliness...'
'One more day he doesn't notice.'
'I was prepared to do anything.'
'But he saw no place for me.'

Also, Grantaire's drink with me lines. In this version he also only seems to be talking to Enjolras, using singular. Not to mention the fact that he asks wether he is afraid to be 'shot down for nothing' very blunt like that. Not just 'shot down' but a way of saying that I can't really translate but sounds even blunter... That's not very nice, R.
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby 23623 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:49 am

Mlle Enjolras wrote:Also, Grantaire's drink with me lines. In this version he also only seems to be talking to Enjolras, using singular. Not to mention the fact that he asks wether he is afraid to be 'shot down for nothing' very blunt like that. Not just 'shot down' but a way of saying that I can't really translate but sounds even blunter... That's not very nice, R.

It seems that foreign Rs specialize in scolding Enjolras. :lol:
This song has definitely revealed a new dimension of R's personality. :lol:

I suddenly find this line quite adorable...I don't know why but it just goes on and on in my mind and refuses to stop.
"Le quiero, mas sé que cada día, mi vida es ilusión perdida" (I love him (is it? Not sure about this...), but I know that every day my life is just a lost dream) --> "I love him, but every day I'm learning. All my life I've only been pretending."
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Mlle Enjolras » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:07 pm

Haha, that is pretty funny!

If you are interested, the full translation of those lines is:
Do you also feel death nearby?
Will the world know why you fall?
Are you going to be shot down soon for nothing?
Is the entire society lying?

I don't know if it is relevant or not but not only is all of this singular, it is also informal. (Just like French, tu vs vous)
I also just saw that in 'A little fall of rain' Marius calls Éponine 'my Éponine'. I actually think that is very sweet. :)
I'm just translating lines at random now though. Is there any particular line you are interested in? I could have a look at 'On my own' next. :)

Also, Dutch Jehan appears to be religious?
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Ilargi » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:01 am

_23623_ wrote:- Returning to the topic of tú & usted, in fact it is the Thenardiers who use "usted" more than anyone else. M. Thenardier calls his customers and Valjean "usted", and Eppie calls Marius "usted".

It's appropriate to use "usted" with clients in that context, but even if it wasn't necessary, Thénardier would do so just to flatter them.

The issue with Éponine is very interesting. In the brick, Éponine addresses Marius with "vous" (usted) in French. When Marius first meets her, he addresses her with "usted" too, but then, when he asks her to find Cosette, he uses "tu" (tú) and Éponine loves it. Later on, when Marius encounters Éponine after meeting Cosette, he uses "vous" again because he feels he can't use "tu" with Éponine after using it with Cosette.
Now for the musical… The relationship between Éponine and Marius is different because they're friends. How close they're as friends is arguable, and I don't really know how friends used "vous/tu" or "usted/tú" between them in the 19th century, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be consistents. And that brings me to Spanish 2010 ALFOR, where Éponine uses both!

- Don't you fret, monsieur Marius, I don't feel any pain. --> No sufra usted, mi buen monsieur, estoy bien, ya verá. (Don't you suffer, my good monsieur, I'm fine, you will see).
- You're here, that's all I need to know. And you will keep me safe and you will keep me close --> ¡Qué bien saber que no te vas! Y tú me salvarás y tú me harás reír (How nice to know you're not going away! And you will save me and you will make me laugh)
Since in the rest of the musical, Éponine addresses him with "tú", one could argue the "usted" here is related to the "monsieur" and that exception is a way to show Éponine knows Marius is unattainable to her in a romantic sense? And then uses "tú" again because they're friends after all? Of course, when I first saw the musical I didn't even thought about it and I liked everything, but this always shocks me now when I think about it.

- The rain can't hurt me now, this rain will wash away what's past --> ¡Qué mal me puede hacer! Llover me ayuda a no pensar. (What harm can it do to me! Raining helps me not to think)
I'm not sure the last sentence is grammatically correct. That infinitive of an impersonal verb used like that… But I don't like the meaning anyway. I prefer the English version of washing away the past.

- The rain that brings you here is Heaven-blessed --> Estás aquí por mí y no te vas (You're here for me/because of me and you're not going away).
Or how to remove all poetry in one line and make Éponine look needy.

- A breath away from where you are, I've come home from so far --> Me gusta oírte respirar, tú y yo, un lugar (I like hearing you breathe, you and I, one place)
It's somewhat curious that someone who sent you to the barricade to die says she likes your breathing. :roll:

I didn't want to talk a lot about this song because it may seem a destructive critic to the translation and even though there are many details I would change, it's not that bad when you listen to it live because there are too many things happening there to pay attention to grammar and to inconsistencies. I mean, it works well enough in the show; I didn't like Éponine when I watched the 2012 film and I started liking her after seeing the musical. These are the things that come to my mind now I've listened to the song countless times in different languages and I've read the brick and know more about the characters. :lol:


Mlle Enjolras wrote:Do you also feel death nearby?
Will the world know why you fall?
Are you going to be shot down soon for nothing?
Is the entire society lying?

Wow! :shock: I love that translation, it fits Grantaire really well!

Mlle Enjolras wrote:Also, Dutch Jehan appears to be religious?

Could you tell us why? :)

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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Mlle Enjolras » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:50 am

Ilargi wrote:
Mlle Enjolras wrote:Do you also feel death nearby?
Will the world know why you fall?
Are you going to be shot down soon for nothing?
Is the entire society lying?

Wow! :shock: I love that translation, it fits Grantaire really well!

Mlle Enjolras wrote:Also, Dutch Jehan appears to be religious?

Could you tell us why? :)

Yes, I also like the translation of those lines. It does really suit R!
Oh and of course. Dutch Jehan says 'To every girl that god created for me.'
This is mostly meant to make the translation rhyme, but I thought it was interesting. I suppose you could say Jehan was being poetic. :)

Looking at some other lines I found this one:
Marius: let their army come, we like the taste of them raw.
:shock: Marius??? Turns out that's a Dutch expression meaning 'We can't stand them' but still, that was an interesting line to find. :lol:

I found another interesting line in the Confrontation.
Valjean: Yes, this game is way to wild for your hunting season.
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby 23623 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:36 am

Ilargi wrote:The issue with Éponine is very interesting. In the brick, Éponine addresses Marius with "vous" (usted) in French. When Marius first meets her, he addresses her with "usted" too, but then, when he asks her to find Cosette, he uses "tu" (tú) and Éponine loves it. Later on, when Marius encounters Éponine after meeting Cosette, he uses "vous" again because he feels he can't use "tu" with Éponine after using it with Cosette.
Now for the musical… The relationship between Éponine and Marius is different because they're friends. How close they're as friends is arguable, and I don't really know how friends used "vous/tu" or "usted/tú" between them in the 19th century, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be consistents. And that brings me to Spanish 2010 ALFOR, where Éponine uses both!

Ilargi wrote:In the Confrontation he definitely says "usted" (le pido a usted tres días nada más). But Javert says "tú", which makes sense because Valjean is inferior to him (the same happens in the brick: Javert only adresses Valjean with "usted/vous" after he spares his life at the barricade).

I also noticed this in the translation I read! I love the difference between tu/vous. Maybe the fact that my native language does the same thing makes it work for me. I'm curious to see how English translation deals with this difference. Guess there will be footnotes? (If I remember correctly there are footnotes about "tu/vous" in Chinese translation, even though this is something quite obvious and reasonable to us.) But I'm still at page 100 or so. There will be a looooong time before I get to where Valjean saves Javert, oops!
Ilargi wrote:Now for the musical… The relationship between Éponine and Marius is different because they're friends. How close they're as friends is arguable, and I don't really know how friends used "vous/tu" or "usted/tú" between them in the 19th century, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be consistents. And that brings me to Spanish 2010 ALFOR, where Éponine uses both!

- Don't you fret, monsieur Marius, I don't feel any pain. --> No sufra usted, mi buen monsieur, estoy bien, ya verá. (Don't you suffer, my good monsieur, I'm fine, you will see).
- You're here, that's all I need to know. And you will keep me safe and you will keep me close --> ¡Qué bien saber que no te vas! Y tú me salvarás y tú me harás reír (How nice to know you're not going away! And you will save me and you will make me laugh)
Since in the rest of the musical, Éponine addresses him with "tú", one could argue the "usted" here is related to the "monsieur" and that exception is a way to show Éponine knows Marius is unattainable to her in a romantic sense? And then uses "tú" again because they're friends after all? Of course, when I first saw the musical I didn't even thought about it and I liked everything, but this always shocks me now when I think about it.

Uses both? She does? :roll: The explanation makes sense. It's how I would argue if I were in favor of this idea. I don't know how people address each other at that time either, but if I were Eppie I would have used "usted" all the way. Even though they are friends in the musical, my rational self don't think their friendship is that intimate. It's not possible when there are lots of subtle and complicated things going on. On the other hand, my shipper self really wish it is possible. *Sigh*
Ilargi wrote:- The rain can't hurt me now, this rain will wash away what's past --> ¡Qué mal me puede hacer! Llover me ayuda a no pensar. (What harm can it do to me! Raining helps me not to think)
I'm not sure the last sentence is grammatically correct. That infinitive of an impersonal verb used like that… But I don't like the meaning anyway. I prefer the English version of washing away the past.

- The rain that brings you here is Heaven-blessed --> Estás aquí por mí y no te vas (You're here for me/because of me and you're not going away).
Or how to remove all poetry in one line and make Éponine look needy.

- I'll add it to my grammar notebook "never write a sentence like this". :wink:
- I'm literally rolling my eyes at "Estás aquí por mí y no te vas". :shock: :roll: This really sounds like Eppie is a vampire or something that tries to capture Marius!
I've never listened to 2010 ALFOR because it's excluded in the album. Wise choice, people. I'm already biased against this production and would be even more so if it were included.

Mlle Enjolras wrote:Looking at some other lines I found this one:
Marius: let their army come, we like the taste of them raw.
:shock: Marius??? Turns out that's a Dutch expression meaning 'We can't stand them' but still, that was an interesting line to find. :lol:

I found another interesting line in the Confrontation.
Valjean: Yes, this game is way to wild for your hunting season.

Well, now Marius and Javert become the vampires... :lol:
Thank you so much for sharing the Dutch lyrics. Please don't hesitate to tell us more! And may I ask what the corresponding English lines of these two are?
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Gervais » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:59 pm

_23623_ wrote:
Ilargi wrote:The issue with Éponine is very interesting. In the brick, Éponine addresses Marius with "vous" (usted) in French. When Marius first meets her, he addresses her with "usted" too, but then, when he asks her to find Cosette, he uses "tu" (tú) and Éponine loves it. Later on, when Marius encounters Éponine after meeting Cosette, he uses "vous" again because he feels he can't use "tu" with Éponine after using it with Cosette.
Now for the musical… The relationship between Éponine and Marius is different because they're friends. How close they're as friends is arguable, and I don't really know how friends used "vous/tu" or "usted/tú" between them in the 19th century, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be consistents. And that brings me to Spanish 2010 ALFOR, where Éponine uses both!

Ilargi wrote:In the Confrontation he definitely says "usted" (le pido a usted tres días nada más). But Javert says "tú", which makes sense because Valjean is inferior to him (the same happens in the brick: Javert only adresses Valjean with "usted/vous" after he spares his life at the barricade).

I also noticed this in the translation I read! I love the difference between tu/vous. Maybe the fact that my native language does the same thing makes it work for me. I'm curious to see how English translation deals with this difference. Guess there will be footnotes? (If I remember correctly there are footnotes about "tu/vous" in Chinese translation, even though this is something quite obvious and reasonable to us.) But I'm still at page 100 or so. There will be a looooong time before I get to where Valjean saves Javert, oops!

In really old translations, Éponine uses "Thou" around Marius (or maybe Marius uses it around Éponine, it's been a while) to try to show some difference, and there really isn't a difference for Valjean and Javert. More recent translations either give footnotes or try to work around it (again, assuming I'm remembering correctly, some just try to focus on reactions like "You're being very respectful" or something to try to show a difference. There's a thread somewhere around here that actually went into a lot of detail on the subject, but it was focused more on Éponine than Javert).

Maybe "Llover me ayuda a no pensar" is meant to be "To rain helps me not to think" and is just relying heavily on the rain=blood metaphor? As in "I'm losing so much blood I can't think clearly," which is really heavy-handed. (Or maybe using rain as a metaphor for something else, but if you use a "Rain=Forgiveness" metaphor, Éponine would have to be able to think to comprehend the idea of being redeemed. :? Unless she's so happy about her redemption that she can't think of the pain, which kind of makes sense.)
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Mlle Enjolras » Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:02 pm

_23623_ wrote:
Mlle Enjolras wrote:Looking at some other lines I found this one:
Marius: let their army come, we like the taste of them raw.
:shock: Marius??? Turns out that's a Dutch expression meaning 'We can't stand them' but still, that was an interesting line to find. :lol:

I found another interesting line in the Confrontation.
Valjean: Yes, this game is way to wild for your hunting season.

Well, now Marius and Javert become the vampires... :lol:
Thank you so much for sharing the Dutch lyrics. Please don't hesitate to tell us more! And may I ask what the corresponding English lines of these two are?


Of course! The Marius line is:
Let them come in their legions,
And they will be met!
From 'At the Barricade/Upon These Stones'
And the Valjean line is:
There is power in me yet
My race is not yet run!

As you guys have been talking about Éponine and Marius, I've translated 'A little fall of rain' :).
Every 'you' is informal btw.

Éponine:
Do not ponder, m'sieur Marius, I don't feel the pain anymore. (this implies she did feel pain, aww...)
Even if the rain falls
It can not hurt me any more. (anymore/any more not similar, this just happens in an English translation)
I am here and you do not need to do anything.
I feel safe now
And warm, and so familiar
And rain makes the fields green. (Kind of a nice contrast with the fields being red from the blood in 'Do you hear the people sing?')

Marius:
Oh great god, 'Ponine, you're going to stay healthy!
Oh if only my love would heal this wound!

Éponine:
You are finally close to me
Cherish me, love me (this sounds like she's begging for love in English but that's not what it means, it's basically a translation of the 'Shelter me, comfort me' line)

Marius:
Even if it's a hundred years,
Know that I would never leave you,
It's true, I swear I wouldn't. (aww, this is sweet)

Éponine:
The rain doesn't bother me
Washes clean, as clean as the beginning
I feel safe now
And warm and so familiar
In your embrace I will sleep
The rain that falls now brings rest, cleans
Washes everything pure, the past is erased
I will stay with you, I'm no longer afraid
The road here was long

Éponine
So don't you ponder, m'sieur Marius
I don't feel the pain anymore
Even if the rain falls
It can not hurt me any more

And you do not have to do anything
I feel safe now
And warm and so familiar
The field

Becomes through the rain

Marius:
Hush now, my Éponine
You don't feel the pain anymore
Even if the rain falls
It can not hurt you any more
I am here

I will stay with you
Until you are sleeping
The field

Becomes through the rain... green
(I kept the original word-order in some of the sentences, so some things sound unnatural in English but are perfectly natural in Dutch. I did this to keep the meaning the same, like with the last sentence)

'Drink with me' is right after this song so I noticed something else. Instead of singing 'Here's to them, and here's to you!' After the pretty and witty girls comment they sing 'I'd gladly do it over again' and I'm not sure what that is supposed to imply but it's funny. xD
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby 23623 » Mon May 16, 2016 4:44 am

Thanks for the translation, Mlle Enjolras! Is your translation based on the 1992 Dutch recording, or something else? I listened to that recording a long time ago but maybe I should listen to it again some day...I honestly can't remember anything from it.

Just curious...what is the equivalent of "Damn their warnings, damn their lies. They will see the people rise" in foreign languages? I didn't realize that I've misheard this line until today. I used to hear "Down their warnings, down their lies", on every recording. I still hear "down" even after checking the correct lyrics...is this because of their pronunciation of "damn" or mine? Shouldn't the "amn" sound exactly the same as "am"? Ah, damn it... :oops:
I have a feeling that this is going to be my introduction to foreign swear words. Educate me, anyone? :mrgreen:
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Mlle Enjolras » Sun May 22, 2016 9:26 am

I think it is! I'm not sure though. I found the lyrics on this old geocities website: http://www.geocities.ws/agategs/soundtr ... is-nl.html

Oh, that one is fun! :D My pleasure! Haha.
Grove leugens, 'k weet verdomd
Dat het volk in opstand komt

Gross lies, I know damned well
That the people will rebel!

My translation rhymes, haha! And yep, verdomd means damned! You were right. :)
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:20 am

Hehe... Reviving an old topic, since I recently noticed a couple of things. The first: though I don't know much German (and most of what I do know comes from lyrics for musicals; :lol: ), there was a bit in the German translation of AHFOL that I found rather sweet. For the "Cosette! I don't know what to say..." / "Then make no sound." bit, they translate it as "Cosette! Ein Name wie ein Lied." / "Ein Lied für dich." ("Cosette! A name like a song." / "A song for you.") I found that rather lovely. :)

And for the second thing I noticed: Has anyone else ever had an experience where you find a bit that uses the same lyrics as a line in another show, and it affects the way you perceive the song? I've had a few of those -- "Die Musik der Dunkelheit" comes up in the Viennese lyrics for "Music of the Night" in Phantom, and also in the lyrics for "Fresh Blood" in the Swiss production of Wildhorn's Dracula; and I can't heir "Sei(d) bereit" in any context without thinking immediately of Tanz der Vampire. So where does Les Mis come into this? When I was listening to one of the Japanese recordings, I noticed that in the ABC Café scene, Feuilly's line near the beginning ("At Rue de Bac they're straining at the leash") is translated as "Dare ni mo tomerarenai" ("They/we can't be stopped by anyone") -- the same as the way they translated the line "I think I'll try defying gravity" in Wicked. So now I'm imagining Feuilly in the English version running into the Café and singing "I think I'll try defying gravity!" to the same tune as his intended line in that scene. :lol:

Ah, and to answer 23623's question about how "Damn their warnings, damn their lies" is done in other languages... The Japanese version makes it:
"Keikoku wa uso da! Shimin wa tatsu zo!" ("Their warnings are all lies! The citizens will rise!")


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