The dog is buried here

בקטגוריות: Uncategorized

11 Aug 2008

Sometimes I like to translate songs in my head. Not a proper translation work, but like I’m sitting with someone who doesn’t speak the language, trying to explain the lyrics, the allegories, and jokes and expressions. I remember Lior Ashkenazi doing it to his German visitor in Walk on Water, breaking down Sivan Shavit’s “Kiss me” into English.

It’s usually easier to translate the English into the Hebrew. We are a lot more used to English expressions in Hebrew, up to the point where they bleed into our language. I catch myself using Englishisms in Hebrew some times, and berate myself for it. But English expressions, especially American expressions, oftentimes feel at home in Hebrew, or have a readily accessible analog.

Not so for the other direction. Hebrew has many an idiom and parable that defy a simple word-by-word translation. When you’re trying to translate live, when listening to the song, you can’t restructure it all on the fly. Sentences feel fragmented, phrases unclear, and puns… well… those never translate well.

I was listening to Beehive this morning on the bus, and their lyrics are comprised of many a pun. Many of them are incomprehensible – or at least unfunny – not only to a transplanted American but to a present-day Israeli as well. Many of them are complete groaners, and the only reason I can stomach them is that I grew up with them. But translating them is totally ridiculous.

The dog is buried here.
The dog is buried here.
This is the bone of the matter.
No, it’s the bone of the dog!
But the dog is long gone…
Ok, it’s the bone of the matter.

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The dog is buried here

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themoniker

11 בAugust, 2008 בשעה 11:55

I sometimes entertain myself by translating the Fall’s “British People in Hot Weather” to Hebrew.
Well, actually, I don’t really get much further than the first line, but it’s enough to make me smile.
Dan Kanner presenting britpop oldies from the eighties and nineties. I’d pay for that.

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