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

Postby bacrandall » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:20 am

I just translated this backstage tour of Les Misérables in South Korea. I was wondering if other productions operate in the same way or do all the various branches have their own style of production.

It also just struck me that when you translate the musical to different languages it affects the emphasis of certain words. Therefore watching the same musical in different languages can take on whole new nuances.

Has anyone here seen Les Mis in other languages. If so, did it affect the meaning of the lyrics?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK5dFz36EcY

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

Postby Ilargi » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:59 am

Wow!! You've translated Les Mis? Congratulations!! It must have been a hard work but you must be so proud of it!

Yesterday I was listening to the Spanish version (Madrid 2010) and I found three remarkable changes (there are probably more, but I should pay more attention to find them). I say "remarkable because" in my opinion they change the way you see the characters, especially if you're not familiar with them.

During the Confrontation, when in English Valjean says "There is nothing I won't dare", in Spanish he says: "No me arredro ni ante Dios" (which can be translated as something like "I don't shrink away, not even from God" or "I'm not frightened, not even by God"). And yes, you understand it's a menace after all, but I think that's not something Valjean would say because if he's changed and become a better person is because of (fear, love or whatever towards) God and that sentence could be considered disrespectful from a religious point of view.

During Drink with me, Grantaire's line changes a lot: "Will the world remember you when you fall? Can it be you death means nothing at all? Is your life just one more lie?" is translated as: "¿Qué sentido tiene tanto luchar si al final también te van a olvidar? ¿Es vivir un gran error?" ("What's the point of so much fighting if in the end you'll be forgotten as well? Is it a big mistake to live?"). The first question makes me think of Grantaire as a Greek hero who would be totally okay with dying if there was some glory in that, if History were to remember them afterwards… and that's not the point. At least I don't think of it when I hear the lyrics in English, I interpret it more like "dying here doesn't make any sense because you're not changing anything and people is going to forget your absurd sacrifice", I don't know about you. As for the second question, Grantaire wouldn't think it's a big mistake to live, but to die! Because if living is a mistake, okay, then let's all die here, who cares, right? Why should he be sad?

And during the Final battle, Enjolras' line "Let us die facing or foes" becomes "Quiero ver cómo lucháis" (literally: "I want to see how you fight"). That sounds more like and order than like an encouragement to me, so Enjolras seems bossier than he should, something more along the lines of "Don't you dare to yield now" than of "Let's be brave one last time" (I mean, of course you can consider the Spanish sentence an encouragement, but if you didn't know Enjolras before that's not the impression you get).

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

Postby 23623 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:53 am

Ilargi, thanks for bringing up Los Misérables! I can't find the lyrics of the 2010 Spanish version so I can only figure out bits and pieces using my beginner level Spanish, which means I don't have the slightest clue about what's going on in the Confrontation. But I agree that "No me arredro ni ante Dios" sounds too OOC for Valjean!
I also hear "¿Para qué queréis morir? Qué sentido tiene tanto luchar ... también ... ¿Es vivr un gran error?" but I can't get what's in between, which kind of confuses me for a long time. And now everything starts making a lot more sense to me. Thanks for your explanation!

Permit some attention for the 1993 Spanish cast? Also please feel free to correct my misunderstandings as I've just started learning this language.
:arrow: Prolog
- I think "Y yo soy Javert. Procura no olvidar que yo soy la ley, 24601" really makes much more sense than "And I'm Javert. Do not forget my name. Do not forget me, 24601." Seriously, Javert deserves more than the "do-not-forget-me!" repetition for his introduction. It also echoes the "I'm the law and the law is not mocked" line in a way.
- And "Yo sé, mujer, que no me olvidarás. ¿Y qué más da si ya no la verás?" vs "I know she'll wait, I know that she'll be true. Look down, look down, they've all forgotten you." This is my favorite line in the prolog. Can't really decide which version I like more as the two prisoners are equally miserable in different ways. The English prisoner is miserable because he doesn't have any hope at all and the Spanish prisoner is miserable because his hope means nothing, if not more pain to him.

:arrow: I dreamed a dream
- In terms of rhetorics I prefer the English lyrics. The Spanish version seems too straightforward at some points, like "Cuando era joven, no vi el mal. Sueños de amores van y vienen. No hay dolores que aliviar, ni cosas que en un día se pierden. Fieras del anochecer. Vienen destrozando sueños." ("Then I was young and unafraid. And dreams were made and used and wasted. There was no ransom to be paid. No song unsung, no wine untasted. But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder.")
- "But there are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms we cannot weather" vs "Hay sueños que no pueden ser y hay estrellas que no brillan". Also prefer the metaphor here in English lyrics. "Estrellas que no brillan" seems to be a mere restatement of "sueños que no pueden ser", but "storms we cannot weather" aggravates Fantine's misery. It's not so simple as being incapable of dreaming, as adversity basically makes one incapable of living.
That's all I can think of now. Might add other songs next time.

And...not sure if this is off-topic but I'm really curious if there's any version of Les Mis (besides OFC) that keeps "La Faute à Voltaire". You have no idea how much I love this song. It literally makes the OFC boy my favorite Gavroche.
Last edited by 23623 on Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:26 am, 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 Ilargi » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:44 am

You can find most of the lyrics here. Although I haven't checked all of them, I think they're pretty accurate, but I warn you I've seen some spelling mistakes.

What you say about the prolog makes sense, but I think it also shows that even if that one prisoner hopes to be remembered, the others are utterly hopeless. I like it too.
In the latest version Javert says: "Yo soy Javert. No es otro nombre más. Nunca lo olvides" ("I'm Javert. That's not just any name. Never forget it". I like it more than the 1993 version because of the rhymth, since here there are 3 short sentences and it seems to get more directly to the point. But it's a matter of taste.

I don't like "hay estrellas que no brillan" either. In the 2010 version its "Mejor sería no soñar, es una calle sin salida" (It would be better not to dream, it's a dead end street). I think it sounds as desperate as in English, although the literal meaning is different.

As far as I know, there're no translation for "La faute à Voltaire", since it belongs to the first French concert, but I'll be glad if someone proves me wrong! :D
Anyway, let me show you how it was translated into Spanish in the brick (María Teresa Gallego Urrutia's translation, 2013):

Son feos en Nanterre,
la culpa es de Voltaire;
tontos en Palaiseau,
la culpa es de Rousseau.

No sé el paternóster,
la culpa es de Voltaire;
pajarillo soy yo,
la culpa es de Rousseau.

Alegría es mi haber,
la culpa es de Voltaire;
miseria me equipó,
la culpa es de Rousseau.

Me acabo de caer,
la culpa es de Voltaire;
una bala me dio,
la culpa es de...


The rhythm is the same, so you can sing it to the tune of the song.

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

Postby 23623 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:42 am

¡¡Muchas gracias Ilargi!! You make my day!
In fact I've been trying to get myself to love the 2010 cast but without much success. I've developed some bias against that Javert. He affects my impression of the whole cast to an extent that nobody can fix, not even Rauch.

Ilargi wrote:I like it more than the 1993 version because of the rhymth

That's true. The 1993 lyrics are full of awkward lines and for me "24601" is no doubt the top 1 among them. At first I felt disappointed that the album excluded "Who am I", which is in no way neglectable, but as soon as I heard the "dos cuatro seis cero uno" in the prolog I was glad that I didn't have to listen to it -- I could already imagine what kind of hilarious disaster it would be and that was enough.
But sometimes the excessive amount of syllables seems to be inevitable. You can invent a 23623 to replace the troublesome 24601, but how can you possibly make "rojo y negro" more singable? :mrgreen:

More about 1993 Spanish cast...
:arrow: Estrellas (I love this Javert sooooo much. He's my 2nd favorite Javert, taking a back seat only to Quast.)
- "Nunca cederé, lo juro por Dios. Juro aquí por mi honor" ("I will never rest till then. This I swear. This I swear by the stars.") So our inspector chooses to swear by God and his honor instead of stars. Well, maybe that's because he can't swear by "las estrellas" which won't fit the music here. I don't think it's a big deal per se. It doesn't matter whether Javert swears by the stars, by God or by his honor, we understand his determination anyway. But I don't know if this ending will give audience an impression that Javert's previous meditation about stars comes out of nowhere. I do like that part very much though...did I mention that I really really like this Javert? :wink:
- "Te ruego, Dios, sé mi testigo" ("...fallen from grace. God be my witness.") Just a random trivial question...I've wondered if "tutear al Dios" would be inappropriate. Could you please educate me about this? *Looking at Ilargi with curious eyes*

:arrow: In my life
- "Cada frase que dice me hace sufrir. Si no es él, ningún hombre me hace sentir tan feliz como él. Yo de él quiero ser." vs "Every word that he says is a dagger in me. In my life, there's been no one like him anywhere. Anywhere, where he is. If he asked, I'd be his." I prefer Spanish lyrics to English in this case. The Spanish lyrics emphasize the complicated role of Marius in Eppie's life. He is the source of both happiness and sorrow for her because she loves him and she feels happy when he's there, but meanwhile she is deeply hurt by his blatant love for Cosette. And...I really don't think the English lyrics here make much sense. The second and third line seem to be a bit repetitive.
- "Encontré / El amor" vs "Waiting near / Waiting here". Can't decide which version sounds better. I love the English lyrics with Marius and Éponine simultaneously contemplating and waiting, although one is hopeful and the other desperate. But the Spanish lyrics introduce a new way to end this scene that I've never thought of before. My interpretation is that Eppie, with a broken heart and very reluctantly, finishes what Marius wants to say for him. She's trying to remind herself that Marius has already found his true love so she doesn't have any chance to be with him, which indeed hurts in so many ways.
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Ilargi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:18 am

_23623_ wrote:- "Te ruego, Dios, sé mi testigo" ("...fallen from grace. God be my witness.") Just a random trivial question...I've wondered if "tutear al Dios" would be inappropriate. Could you please educate me about this? *Looking at Ilargi with curious eyes*

As far I as can remember, all prayers in Spanish say "tú" to God. I guess calling him "usted" (or even "vos") would create a distance the religion doesn't wish. As if he's your boss instead of you father? (well, people used to say "usted" to their parents some generations ago, so I don't know if that's the reason, but that's what comes to my mind).
You can see that in the Spanish version of "Bring him home" too. :wink:

Speaking of those lines of A heart full of love, you've reminded me of a thing I like a lot (again, from the 2010 translation). In English, Marius says "And I soar through a world that is new, that is real!", but in Spanish he says (to Éponine): "¡Que el Señor the haga un día sentir algo así!" (Let the Lord make you feel something like this one day) and then Éponine says: "Sus palabras son golpes de un frío puñal" (His words are a cold dagger's blows). Even if Marius' words differ from the original version, I like it very much because they give a more painful perspective: Marius is so happy and grateful that he wishes his friend Éponine to feel like him, that is, for her to fall in love with another person and be happy with him, and he doesn't know how much it hurts Éponine because she's actually in love with him.
However, I like more the English "Waiting near, waiting here" because both lines are phonetically very similar (the same as in French "là en fin, là en vain") and the Spanish versions don't keep that alliteration.

I'm very curious to hear how Valjean sings 24601 in Spanish, especially the 1 in Who am I, because the others numbers you can get to sing very quickly and fit into the music, but how do you belt "uno"? Keeping in mind that the stressed syllable is "u", not "no", so "unooooooo" would sound very weird. If you find it, please do share the link!

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

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:51 pm

I was looking for "Who Am I?" from that production on YouTube to post a link here, but had no luck finding it. However, I have a full boot of that cast and can send it if you like... Valjean's "24601" goes pretty much as you'd expect, though, with a big "UNOOOOOO!!!" as the last note{s}.

Ilargi wrote:Speaking of those lines of A heart full of love, you've reminded me of a thing I like a lot (again, from the 2010 translation). In English, Marius says "And I soar through a world that is new, that is real!", but in Spanish he says (to Éponine): "¡Que el Señor the haga un día sentir algo así!" (Let the Lord make you feel something like this one day) and then Éponine says: "Sus palabras son golpes de un frío puñal" (His words are a cold dagger's blows). Even if Marius' words differ from the original version, I like it very much because they give a more painful perspective: Marius is so happy and grateful that he wishes his friend Éponine to feel like him, that is, for her to fall in love with another person and be happy with him, and he doesn't know how much it hurts Éponine because she's actually in love with him.


Ooh, I like that a lot! :D

I'm a Japanese speaker and have a hobby of looking at the Japanese translations of songs from musicals to note the interesting differences. (Really need to start a blog for that.) Among the differences...
- Valjean's prison number is "24653" there (and that's where my username comes from; :mrgreen: ). The reason is because "24601" would become "ni yon roku zero ichi," which is 8 syllables; whereas "24653" is "ni yon roku go san," so 6 syllables, much closer to the 5 syllables "24601" has in French, English, German, and many others. You could even pronounce "roku" as just "rok" and it'd still be correct (and make the whole thing 5 syllables), though I haven't heard a Japanese Valjean or Javert do that.
- The Bishop's line ("Though our lives are very humble, what we have, we have to share") becomes "Wazuka na pan daga, wakeaemashou" ("Though we've only a little bread, let us break it together"), which I found to be a really nice way to do that bit.
- In "Stars," Javert interestingly starts out as if he's speaking/singing directly to Valjean before abruptly switching to soliloquy mode. That bit ("There, out in the darkness..." to "...'til we come face to face") translates as "Well, keep on running into the darkness and live there in hiding... Keep living on; someday, I'll come face to face with him... We'll come face to face").
- Also in "Stars," for "Lord, let me find him, that I may see him safe behind bars..." it becomes "To the Lord, to the stars, I swear on my life that I'll throw him in prison." Interestingly, the word used there for "to throw in prison" ("buchikomu") can also be translated as "to throw in the water." Foreshadowing/irony? And "buchikomu" is used in the context of throwing something into water elsewhere in the show, at the start of "Lovely Ladies" (for "think I'll drop my anchor in that harbor over there"). Double meanings are so much fun!
- Speaking of double meanings, "daite/daku" can mean either "to hold/embrace" or "to sleep with," and both contexts are used at different points in the show. It's pretty clear which meaning is intended for each; but someone with a dirty mind could easily think (for example) that Fantine is asking Valjean to have his way with her as she's dying, or that Éponine is asking that of Marius after she's been shot. :P
- The Thénardiers use the Osaka dialect, which is stereotypically associated with lower-class or country folk, kind of like how the Cockney accent is stereotyped in the UK. But rather than just the accent, it also affects word choice and sentence structure (and the Thénardiers use quite a bit of slang, as well), so it can be challenging to translate their bits. However, Éponine and Gavroche mostly use the Tokyo dialect to match up with the other characters. Wonder what folks from Osaka think of the show...
- Gavroche calls Thénardier "butayarou" ("bastard pig") when talking about him in "Look Down" (for the "Bit of a swine, and no mistake" line). I love that so much. :lol:

I'll post more about the Japanese translations later on. :)

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

Postby 23623 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:35 am

Ilargi wrote:As far I as can remember, all prayers in Spanish say "tú" to God. I guess calling him "usted" (or even "vos") would create a distance the religion doesn't wish. As if he's your boss instead of you father? (well, people used to say "usted" to their parents some generations ago, so I don't know if that's the reason, but that's what comes to my mind).
You can see that in the Spanish version of "Bring him home" too. :wink:

Oh yes, it's in Bring Him Home as well. I just checked some prayers in Chinese and found the same usage. We also distinguish "tú" and "usted", but it seems that sometimes God is addressed with "tú" and sometimes "usted" (which sounds more natural to me). Now I'm very confused...but "tutear al Dios" does surprise me. Because I don't have much knowledge about religion, I'm never aware of that usage even in my native language. Thanks for your explanation!

I was reading the 2010 lyrics (a perfect excuse for not studying for my Spanish exam 8)) and found 2 interesting lines...
- Final battle: "Quiero ver cómo lucháis todos con Enjolras. No se rinde Combeferre. No se rinde Courfeyrac." ... :shock: :?: :!: :lol:
When I read your first post I had no idea what comes after "quiero ver cómo lucháis", but after reading the lyrics these lines totally crack me up. I don't know why...they just sound so funny to me.
- Soliloquy: "Hoy ha muerto Jean Valjean. Aquí termina su canción." Well, literally. I can only clearly hear the part until "termina" and I've tried to guess what's gonna stop here...and it turns out that he's stopped his song! I can get the metaphorical meaning but this still reminds me of "Cosette I don't know what to say. Then make no sound." which I once considered as the funniest lines in the entire musical.

And...you're right I meant "A Heart Full of Love" not "In My Life". ¡Que tonta soy! ¿Cómo se llama la canción? Mi Ilargi, por favor, ¡dímelo! :mrgreen:
Ilargi wrote:Speaking of those lines of A heart full of love, you've reminded me of a thing I like a lot (again, from the 2010 translation). In English, Marius says "And I soar through a world that is new, that is real!", but in Spanish he says (to Éponine): "¡Que el Señor the haga un día sentir algo así!" (Let the Lord make you feel something like this one day) and then Éponine says: "Sus palabras son golpes de un frío puñal" (His words are a cold dagger's blows). Even if Marius' words differ from the original version, I like it very much because they give a more painful perspective: Marius is so happy and grateful that he wishes his friend Éponine to feel like him, that is, for her to fall in love with another person and be happy with him, and he doesn't know how much it hurts Éponine because she's actually in love with him.

Wow this is so far the most amazing translation in two Spanish casts. *Hugs Eppie and joins her in the rain later* *Punches Marius the oblivious fool*

Prisoner 24653 wrote:- Valjean's prison number is "24653" there (and that's where my username comes from; :mrgreen: ). The reason is because "24601" would become "ni yon roku zero ichi," which is 8 syllables; whereas "24653" is "ni yon roku go san," so 6 syllables, much closer to the 5 syllables "24601" has in French, English, German, and many others. You could even pronounce "roku" as just "rok" and it'd still be correct (and make the whole thing 5 syllables), though I haven't heard a Japanese Valjean or Javert do that.
...
- Also in "Stars," for "Lord, let me find him, that I may see him safe behind bars..." it becomes "To the Lord, to the stars, I swear on my life that I'll throw him in prison." Interestingly, the word used there for "to throw in prison" ("buchikomu") can also be translated as "to throw in the water." Foreshadowing/irony? And "buchikomu" is used in the context of throwing something into water elsewhere in the show, at the start of "Lovely Ladies" (for "think I'll drop my anchor in that harbor over there"). Double meanings are so much fun!
- Speaking of double meanings, "daite/daku" can mean either "to hold/embrace" or "to sleep with," and both contexts are used at different points in the show. It's pretty clear which meaning is intended for each; but someone with a dirty mind could easily think (for example) that Fantine is asking Valjean to have his way with her as she's dying, or that Éponine is asking that of Marius after she's been shot. :P
...

- Someday on this forum there will be a complete collection of Valjeans from different countries.:mrgreen: Is there any particular reason why nobody cuts that syllable of 24653?
- Poor Javert! I wonder how he will think of this when he stands on the bridge later and ready to "buchikomu" himself. And yes, multiple meanings are so much fun!
- Oh the subtext. :twisted: This secret shipper of Valjean/Fantine and Marius/Éponine genuinely wishes that she could understand Japanese.

¡Dios mío! "2460unó" completely redefines the concept of "hilarious". I imagined it to be "uuuunoooo" and just realize that "unooooooo" is twice funnier than that. Um...did I just read that there's a bootleg? :P
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Ilargi » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:35 am

WOW!! This is so interesting! :D

Yes, I'd love to take a look at the boot, if it's not to difficult to send.

Prisoner 24653 wrote:Interestingly, the word used there for "to throw in prison" ("buchikomu") can also be translated as "to throw in the water." Foreshadowing/irony?

Haha, I love that foreshadowing/irony thing. Makes you think: "Oh, Javert, if you knew..." :roll:

Prisoner 24653 wrote:Speaking of double meanings, "daite/daku" can mean either "to hold/embrace" or "to sleep with," and both contexts are used at different points in the show. It's pretty clear which meaning is intended for each; but someone with a dirty mind could easily think (for example) that Fantine is asking Valjean to have his way with her as she's dying, or that Éponine is asking that of Marius after she's been shot.

Thse are very Les Gutterables lines! :lol: I always think the "I'll sleep in your embrace at last" bit has also a double meaning anyway. Is that sense more obvious in Japanese?

_23623_ wrote:Final battle: "Quiero ver cómo lucháis todos con Enjolras. No se rinde Combeferre. No se rinde Courfeyrac." ...
When I read your first post I had no idea what comes after "quiero ver cómo lucháis", but after reading the lyrics these lines totally crack me up. I don't know why...they just sound so funny to me.

You're right, that's very funny! Okay, that way the show their personal compromise with the cause, but was it really necessary to say their names?

_23623_ wrote:Soliloquy: "Hoy ha muerto Jean Valjean. Aquí termina su canción." Well, literally. I can only clearly hear the part until "termina" and I've tried to guess what's gonna stop here...and it turns out that he's stopped his song! I can get the metaphorical meaning but this still reminds me of "Cosette I don't know what to say. Then make no sound." which I once considered as the funniest lines in the entire musical.

I agree. Yes, the metaphorical meaning of "Aquí termina su canción" (his [Jean Valjean's] song ends here) is not difficult to get, but I don't like that coincidence with what literally happens in that moment.

_23623_ wrote:And...you're right I meant "A Heart Full of Love" not "In My Life". ¡Que tonta soy! ¿Cómo se llama la canción? Mi Ilargi, por favor, ¡dímelo!

You mean the Spanish title of "In my life"? I think they went for the literally translation ("En mi vida"), but I'm not sure. I'll look for the booklet and I'll tell you when I find it.

That reminds me that they translated the title of ALFOR as "Muerte de Éponine" (Éponine's death) in the programme. Without any spoiler alert or anything. :lol:

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

Postby 23623 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:29 pm

Ilargi wrote:
Prisoner 24653 wrote:Speaking of double meanings, "daite/daku" can mean either "to hold/embrace" or "to sleep with," and both contexts are used at different points in the show. It's pretty clear which meaning is intended for each; but someone with a dirty mind could easily think (for example) that Fantine is asking Valjean to have his way with her as she's dying, or that Éponine is asking that of Marius after she's been shot.

Thse are very Les Gutterables lines! :lol: I always think the "I'll sleep in your embrace at last" bit has also a double meaning anyway. Is that sense more obvious in Japanese?

...

_23623_ wrote:And...you're right I meant "A Heart Full of Love" not "In My Life". ¡Que tonta soy! ¿Cómo se llama la canción? Mi Ilargi, por favor, ¡dímelo!

You mean the Spanish title of "In my life"? I think they went for the literally translation ("En mi vida"), but I'm not sure. I'll look for the booklet and I'll tell you when I find it.

That reminds me that they translated the title of ALFOR as "Muerte de Éponine" (Éponine's death) in the programme. Without any spoiler alert or anything. :lol:

Ilargi you're ruining ALFOR for me! I've never thought it in this way, so it seems that “sleep” is really a sensitive word haha! Now I understand why there are so many pages in that Les Gutterables thread :lol:

Just now I made a fatal mistake of listening to the Final Battle and Soliloquy of the 2010 cast...someone stop me please I'm laughing hysterically!
I never expected their names to appear here when I first listened to it...guess they just passed as some words I don't understand. And it suddenly occurs to me that whoever wrote this was probably trying to rhyme “Enjolras” with “Courfeyrac”! Oh dear...
Speaking of the name pronunciation...I can never correctly pronounce Marius Pontmercy again after listening to the 2010 cast Marius.
And NO your songs are far from finished, Valjean! You do know there are like 20 songs to go don't you? :mrgreen:

Guess I should explain a little about the AHFOL/IML issue...when I first posted I wrote IML as the heading of the corresponding paragraph, but after reading Ilargi's post with the bold AHFOL, I somehow thought that I wrongly labeled that song. So I changed it to AHFOL and mocked myself with Marius' lines. :mrgreen: And I just realize that I was right! The song I was talking about was indeed IML, so I changed it back. Sorry for the confusion!

Speaking of titles, I really prefer Sale el Sol to Un Día Más! Singing-wise the cast is also brilliant, even including that Javert who I just can't stand. This is probably the only song, besides Valjean's, that I listen to the 2010 cast more than 1993 cast. :D

And 24653, may I sign up for the bootleg as well, if you don't mind? :D
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Re: How different Les Mis is when it is translated to another language and culture?

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:23 am

PMed you both. :D

I do prefer "Sale el Sol" to "Un Día Más," as well. And for ALFOR in Japanese, it happens twice -- Éponine sings "daite hoshii" ("I want you to hold me", or something else :P ) in the bit where "Shelter me, comfort me..." would be in the English version. Then, "I'll sleep in your embrace at last" becomes "Dakarete nemuru wa" ("In your *embrace*, I can sleep"). Insert an "Oh myy" from George Takei as you see fit.

Another double meaning that could be less pleasant depending on interpretation is "Shizuka ni," which can mean "be at peace" or "be quiet" -- Marius could be trying to comfort Éponine, or he could be trying to shut her up. Same with Valjean to Fantine. Poor, poor women of LM. :(

And then there are the lines I misheard when I was first listening to the show in Japanese. Like this gem. :lol:

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

Postby Ilargi » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:56 am

_23623_ wrote:Ilargi wrote:
Prisoner 24653 wrote:
Speaking of double meanings, "daite/daku" can mean either "to hold/embrace" or "to sleep with," and both contexts are used at different points in the show. It's pretty clear which meaning is intended for each; but someone with a dirty mind could easily think (for example) that Fantine is asking Valjean to have his way with her as she's dying, or that Éponine is asking that of Marius after she's been shot.

Thse are very Les Gutterables lines! I always think the "I'll sleep in your embrace at last" bit has also a double meaning anyway. Is that sense more obvious in Japanese?

...

_23623_ wrote:
And...you're right I meant "A Heart Full of Love" not "In My Life". ¡Que tonta soy! ¿Cómo se llama la canción? Mi Ilargi, por favor, ¡dímelo!

You mean the Spanish title of "In my life"? I think they went for the literally translation ("En mi vida"), but I'm not sure. I'll look for the booklet and I'll tell you when I find it.

That reminds me that they translated the title of ALFOR as "Muerte de Éponine" (Éponine's death) in the programme. Without any spoiler alert or anything.

Ilargi you're ruining ALFOR for me! I've never thought it in this way, so it seems that “sleep” is really a sensitive word haha! Now I understand why there are so many pages in that Les Gutterables thread

I'm sorry? :lol: In that song, I honestly think of "sleeping" more in a romantic than in a sexual way, but the interpretation is open. :lol:

_23623_ wrote:Just now I made a fatal mistake of listening to the Final Battle and Soliloquy of the 2010 cast...someone stop me please I'm laughing hysterically!
I never expected their names to appear here when I first listened to it...guess they just passed as some words I don't understand. And it suddenly occurs to me that whoever wrote this was probably trying to rhyme “Enjolras” with “Courfeyrac”! Oh dear...

Yes, I also think that's the reason, they tried to get some easy rhymes with lucháis/Enjolras/Courfeyrac... but Combeferre had to step in and ruin the attempt. :lol:

_23623_ wrote:Speaking of the name pronunciation...I can never correctly pronounce Marius Pontmercy again after listening to the 2010 cast Marius.

Spanish people are very bad at pronouncing foreign names. Even when you know the foreign language where it comes from, you'll make up a strange mixture between the Spanish pronunciation and the way most people think the foreign word is pronounced. If you pronounced it properly, people would think you're… smug? trying to show how well you speak English? (And then there's the people who can't speak English but do try to show off and end up saying "Johnny Deep" instead of Johnny Depp. :lol: )
Marius is another case because you may think it's not French, but Latin or because it just seems so easy to pronounce it the Spanish way since it doesn't have any strange combination of letters. Another example would be Victor Hugo. Víctor and Hugo are Spanish names too, so almost everyone will pronounce them that way, no matter how good their French is.

_23623_ wrote:Guess I should explain a little about the AHFOL/IML issue...when I first posted I wrote IML as the heading of the corresponding paragraph, but after reading Ilargi's post with the bold AHFOL, I somehow thought that I wrongly labeled that song. So I changed it to AHFOL and mocked myself with Marius' lines. And I just realize that I was right! The song I was talking about was indeed IML, so I changed it back. Sorry for the confusion!

I sometimes consider the last lines of IML as part of AHFOL, so I didn't realise your mistake. :lol: Anyway, I checked the booklet and the title of IML was "Calle Plumet".

_23623_ wrote:Speaking of titles, I really prefer Sale el Sol to Un Día Más! Singing-wise the cast is also brilliant, even including that Javert who I just can't stand.

I love Ignasi Vidal as Javert! He wasn't in the performance I sent, since Javert was played by David Ordinas, but most recordings you can find on YouTube feature him.
I also love his lines in "Sale el sol": "Se prepara la revuelta, pero muerta nacerá. Con la sangre de esos chicos regaremos la ciudad" (The riot is getting ready, but it will be stillborn. We'll water the city with the blood of those boys).

Prisoner 24653 wrote:Another double meaning that could be less pleasant depending on interpretation is "Shizuka ni," which can mean "be at peace" or "be quiet" -- Marius could be trying to comfort Éponine, or he could be trying to shut her up. Same with Valjean to Fantine. Poor, poor women of LM.

It would fit Marius, though: "Shut up, Éponine, I want to see Cosette!". :lol:

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

Postby 23623 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:57 pm

Ilargi wrote:I love Ignasi Vidal as Javert! He wasn't in the performance I sent, since Javert was played by David Ordinas, but most recordings you can find on YouTube feature him.
I also love his lines in "Sale el sol": "Se prepara la revuelta, pero muerta nacerá. Con la sangre de esos chicos regaremos la ciudad" (The riot is getting ready, but it will be stillborn. We'll water the city with the blood of those boys).

As much as I love Rauch, I haven't watched any full show video of the 2010 cast, the primary reason being that Javert. I admit that I somehow developed some bias against him. Honestly, I started hating him just after a few lines in prolog and was never able to change my mind thereafter. :oops:
But thank you for reminding me of this line. Yes I love it very much! The first time I heard "Con la sangre de esos chicos regaremos la ciudad" I immediately recalled this line in 1993 DYHTPS --> "La sangre de pueblo de Francia se va(?) a derramar" (not sure about the verb). If this line was still in the new lyrics of DYHTPS that could be very interesting and ironic! But actually there's already a nice reference "Es el futuro nacerá cuando sale el sol." :wink:
Revolution, but civilization

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

Postby Ilargi » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:03 pm

2010 DYHTPS says: "¿Estás dispuesto a derramar tu sangre en las calles de Francia por la libertad?" (Are you ready to shed your blood in the streets of France for liberty?) So it's a question, not a statement. But I appreciate the relation of Javert's part in "Sale el sol" and the English DYHTPS. :D
And by the way, I love the Spanish DYHTPS as much as the English version! I think it's the perfect song for revolution. :mrgreen:

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

Postby 23623 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:22 am

Ilargi wrote:Spanish people are very bad at pronouncing foreign names. Even when you know the foreign language where it comes from, you'll make up a strange mixture between the Spanish pronunciation and the way most people think the foreign word is pronounced. If you pronounced it properly, people would think you're… smug? trying to show how well you speak English? (And then there's the people who can't speak English but do try to show off and end up saying "Johnny Deep" instead of Johnny Depp. :lol: )
Marius is another case because you may think it's not French, but Latin or because it just seems so easy to pronounce it the Spanish way since it doesn't have any strange combination of letters. Another example would be Victor Hugo. Víctor and Hugo are Spanish names too, so almost everyone will pronounce them that way, no matter how good their French is.

But hey! You have one absolute advantage over English speakers. Spanish Rs will never say “here he comes like Don Drown” ! 8)

Continue with 1993 Red & Black and ODM...
(I just realize that I didn't include any translation in my previous posts...as there were only Ilargi and me talking. So apologize to those who don't understand Spanish that you have to read something that makes no sense, and to those who do that you have to bear with my really terrible translations from now on... :oops: )

:arrow: 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. :roll:

:arrow: Un Día Más
- "Un día más han de seguir / ¿Seguiré a mi Cosette? / Hacia el campo de batalla/ ¿O debiera combatir? / A las tropas acudir/ ¿Seré digno de luchar? / Lucharemos hasta el fin." (One more day we'll continue (our fight) / Should I follow my Cosette? / To the battlefield! / Or do I have to fight? / Let's join the army / Is it worthy to fight? / And we'll fight until the end! Corresponds to Marius and Enjolras' parts in ODM) I actually like this part very much for the repetition in "...seguir / Seguiré..." and "...luchar / Lucharemos". It may sound strange to you but repeating the last words of a sentence as the beginning of the next sentence is a kind of rhetorics techniques in ancient Chinese literature. (I know it's hard to comprehend unless you really know this language.) And that's why I find these lines quite adorable, even though they're in Spanish.
Last edited by 23623 on Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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