2010 October 10

Translating Le Moribond

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Portrait of Jacques Brel

NL-HaNA, ANEFO / neg. stroken, 1945-1989, 2.24.01.05, item number <914-8399>, license: CC-BY-SA

I’m not fluent in French, but when I heard the original Jacques Brel song on which the 1973 pop hit «Seasons in the Sun» was based, I could tell it was a very different song. I was surprised to discover that the lyrics translation had been done by famous poet Rod McKuen. How could he have gone so far astray in his translation?

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