Archive for May, 2008

Translation of MC Solaar’s Caroline
20 May, 2008

Have you found your ace of spaces yet?

MC Solaar’s Caroline is a spectacular, poetic, and profound song about love and loss. The poetry of the lyrics comes from word play rather than straight rhyme. MC Solaar sings la vie est un jeu de cartes (life is a game of cards) and weaves into the story of his break up with an ex lots of word play related to card and gambling. I’ve tried to replicate this is English. See the video and lyrics below and let me know what you think, of the orignal or the translation.
 
 

English lyrics:

I was chilling, sitting on a bench,
It was spring, and
Two lovers gather daisies.
Overdosed on tenderness
They play like children
I love you a little… lots… madly passionate…
But after a deception of the heart,
My good mood became brutal
But to hate another is not our right
Chernobyl
Cherno–[im]becile
Jealousy’s radioactive.

Caroline was a friend, a super fine girl
I think again of her, of us, of our vanilla ice creams
Of her cravings for strawberry, raspberry and blueberry,
Of her endless talk, of her tacky style.
I’m the ace of clubs that trumps [spade] your heart
The ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
The ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
Caroline…

Like the four-leaf clover [spade], I seek your happiness,
I’m the man who fell in time to take your heart
Let’s not gamble with this
Caro [diamond], this message comes from the heart,

A pyramid of kisses,
A storm of friendship,
A wave of feeling,
A cyclone of softness,
An ocean of thoughts,
Caroline, I offered you a
 bâtiment of tenderness.


My fears are deep blue,
The red army is on my tail
I took out green bills for you,
I had to move to prevail,
Fire-starter of your heart,
Fighter-pilot of your fears,
I offered you a symphony of colours.

She left, masochist, with an old macho,
That she’d met in a station on the metro
When I see them hand-in-hand smoking the same cigarette,
I feel a flush in her heart, but she daren’t say a word.
I’m the ace of clubs that trumps your heart
The ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
The ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
Caroline…

MC Claude on the microphone, with a love story ragamuffin style
To tell you about a girl-friend called Caroline
She was my girl, my hit, she was my vitamin,
My drug, my dope, my coke, my crack, and my amphetamine
Caroline…
I think of her again, cosmopolitan, 20 years young and pretty,
Let me rewind the film on life’s video player,
Should I admit, for her tears have fallen –
Ocular haemorrhage…

A toast to our friendship,
To the past, the present, and I hope of the future,
I passed to be present in your future
This life’s a game of cards,
And Paris [bet] a casino,
I’m with the reds, heart,
Caro [diamond].

I’m the ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
Caro,
The ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
The ace of clubs that trumps your heart…
Caroline…
etc.

Words in square brackets are where there’s a play on words in the original French that I couldn’t translate. The playing cards word play is beautifully interwoven into the original text: Caro – sounds like diamond in French – and the line I’ve translated at ‘The ace of clubs that trumps your heart’ (L’as de trèfle qui pique ton cœur) is literally, ‘The ace of clubs that stings (also ‘spade’) your heart’. My favouite verse in the original is the pyramid/ storm/ wave/ cyclone and the symphony of colours one which I think are real poetry!

Leave a comment, let me know what you think any tips from francophones to improve the translation most welcome.

Original French paroles can be found here: http://www.paroles.net/chanson/12301.1, another English translation is here: http://www.lyricsdir.com/mc-solaar-caroline-lyrics.html

 

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