Wednesday, April 19 2006

Lost in translation: Russian Roulette

[Cross-posted in Pixy Misa’s Language Lab forum.]

Update: My original version is now below the fold. This is the update. I have some ideas on a version that reads better in English, but I wanted to get a reasonably precise version up before I attempt “creative adaptation”. My rationale for using “I” for all of the omitted pronouns is here.

This is a work-in-progress, mostly-literal translation of the opening song from the Dirty Pair TV series. I got the lyrics from here, corrected a few errors based on the original subtitles here, repeatedly listened to the full version of the song here, got a bit of grammar advice from my Japanese teacher (who, in true teacher form, made me do the work myself and come back for help later…), and here we go!

賭けのない恋などつまらない
Love without risk is boring,
“kake no nai koi nado tsumaranai”

いつも ハラハラ・ドキドキさせてよ
I need excitement and thrills!
“itsumo harahara/dokidoki-sasete yo”

退屈な時には 誘われちゃうのよ
When I’m bored, I’m easily seduced.
“taikutsu-na toki ni wa sasowarechau no yo”

悪い心が止まらない
My wicked heart can’t stop.
“warui kokoro ga tomaranai”

今夜秘密のカジノにおいでよ
Tonight, I’m going to a secret casino.
“kon’ya himitsu no kashino ni oide yo”

たまにゃ 無謀な遊びに 酔いしれ
Sometimes, reckless games intoxicate me.
“tamanya (tamani wa) mubou-na asobi ni yoi-shire”

落ちてゆくよな 気分は 慣れたら こわいよ
It’s scary that I’m getting used to losing control.
“ochite yuku-yo-na kibun wa naretara kowai yo” – ochite yuku (“to go falling”) + yo + na (variant of ne)

クセになりそな エクスタシー
Ecstasy is becoming a habit.
“kuse ni nariso-na ecstasy”

ロシアン ロシアン・ルーレット
Russian, Russian Roulette

今すぐ心に 白黒つけて
Right now I’ll settle my heart once and for all.
“imasugu kokoro ni shiro-kuro-tsukete”

鈍く光った マグナム持つたび
Every time I hold this cold-steel magnum,
“nibuku-hikatta magnum motsu-tabi”

細いラインに電気が走るわ
a chill runs down my spine.
“hosoi line ni denki ga hashiru wa” – literally “electricity is running in a thin line”

イチかバチかで アナタを 虜にするまで
Risking it all to capture you,
“ichika-bachika de anata wo toriko ni suru made” – ichika-bachika = literally “one or eight”, apparently derived from an old gambling game, and commonly used to represent a 50/50 chance. Edict gives it as “sink-or-swim”, but in this context, the gambling interpretation makes more sense.

私 危険な ロシアン・ルーレット
for me, there’s only a dangerous Russian Roulette.
“atashi kiken-na Russian Roulette”

ハラハラ・ドキドキ Dance Dance
thrilling, heart-pounding – dance dance
“harahara-dokidoki – dance dance”

ウキウキ・ワクワク Chance Chance
light-hearted, trembling – chance chance
“ukiuki-wakuwaku – chance chance

ハラハラ・ドキドキ Dance Dance
thrilling, heart-pounding – dance dance

ウキウキ・ワクワク Chance Chance
light-hearted, trembling – chance chance

覚悟を決めて
I’m resolute.
“kakugo wo kimete”

[repeat first box]

ロシアン ロシアン・ルーレット
Russian, Russian Roulette

ここまで来たら あとには引けない
I’ve gone too far, there’s no turning back.
“koko made kitara ato ni wa hikenai”

鈍く光った マグナム抱きしめ
Embracing this cold-steel magnum,
“nibuku-hikatta magnum dakishime”

少しおびえる 可愛いエルフィン
I’m a kind-of-frightened cute elf,
“sukoshi obieru kawaii elfin”

命を賭けて アナタを 虜にするまで
risking my life to capture you,
“inochi wo kakete anata wo toriko ni suru made”

私 危険な ロシアン・ルーレット
for me, there’s only a dangerous Russian Roulette.
“atashi kiken-na Russian Roulette”

[repeat second box]

[repeat fourth box]

[repeat third box]

覚悟を決めて
I’m resolute.
“kakugo wo kimete”

[repeat third box]



(original rough, often-wrong version follows)


賭けのない恋などつまらない
Love without risk is worthless,
“kake no nai koi nado tsumaranai”

いつも ハラハラ・ドキドキさせてよ
I need excitement and thrills!
“itsumo harahara/dokidoki-sasete yo” – always thrilling/heart-pounding-(causative = must do) !

退屈な時には 誘われちゃうのよ
I’ve had enough of being bored,
“taikutsu-na toki ni wa sasowarechau no yo” – boring times have (sasou = to invite, sasowarete-shimau = passive-completed) worn out their welcome !

悪い心が止まらない
(my) bad heart is not stopping.
“warui kokoro ga tomaranai”

今夜秘密のカジノにおいでよ
Tonight, I’m going to a secret casino!
“kon’ya himitsu no kashino ni oide yo” – context suggests that most of the missing pronouns should be “I”, not “you”

たまにゃ 無謀な遊びに 酔いしれ
Sometimes, with reckless games, I know intoxication!
“tamanya (tamani wa) mubou-na asobi ni yoi-shire”

落ちてゆくよな 気分は 慣れたら こわいよ
As for the falling-[?yukuyo-na?] feeling, when I get used to it, it’s scary!
“ochite yukuyo-na kibun wa naretara kowai yo”

クセになりそな エクスタシー
Ecstasy is becoming a habit.
“kuse ni nariso-na ecstasy”

ロシアン ロシアン・ルーレット
Russian, Russian Roulette

今すぐ心に 白黒つけて
Right now, in my heart [“it’s gray” / “it’s settled” ??].
“imasugu kokoro ni shiro-kuro tsukete” – (found lots of uses of “shiro-kuro-tsukete” online, commonly in the phrase 「Googleで白黒つけてみた」). Usage seems to be either “it’s in black and white” (like a television set) or “settled once and for all”.

鈍く光った マグナム持つたび
Holding a brushed-steel magnum,
“nibuku-hikatta magnum motsu-tabi” – literally “dull-shining”, matte finish as opposed to mirror polish

細いラインに電気が走るわ
electricity is running in a thin line (+ feminine ending).
“hosoi line ni denki ga hashiru wa” (excessively literal translation)

イチかバチかで アナタを 虜にするまで
It’s sink-or-swim; until you are my captive,
“ichika-bachika de anata wo toriko ni suru made”

私 危険な ロシアン・ルーレット
I’m playing a dangerous Russian Roulette
“atashi kiken-na Russian Roulette” – definitely not “I am dangerous!” There’s an omitted topic particle after atashi, and kiken is modifying RR, not atashi.

ハラハラ・ドキドキ Dance Dance
thrilling, heart-pounding – dance dance
“harahara-dokidoki – dance dance”

ウキウキ・ワクワク Chance Chance
light-hearted, trembling – chance chance
“ukiuki-wakuwaku – chance chance

ハラハラ・ドキドキ Dance Dance
thrilling, heart-pounding – dance dance

ウキウキ・ワクワク Chance Chance
light-hearted, trembling – chance chance

覚悟を決めて
decide about readiness [“get ready”?]
“kakugo wo kimete”

[repeat first box]

ロシアン ロシアン・ルーレット
Russian, Russian Roulette

ここまで来たら あとには引けない
After coming here, it will never end.
“koko made kitara ato ni wa hikenai”

鈍く光った マグナム抱きしめ
Embracing a brushed-steel magnum,
“nibuku-hikatta magnum dakishime”

少しおびえる 可愛いエルフィン
I’m a kind-of-frightened cute elf,
“sukoshi obieru kawaii elfin”

命を賭けて アナタを 虜にするまで
risking my life; until you are my captive,
“inochi wo kakete anata wo toriko ni suru made”

私 危険な ロシアン・ルーレット
I’m playing a dangerous Russian Roulette.
“atashi kiken-na Russian Roulette”

[repeat second box]

[repeat fourth box]

[repeat third box]

覚悟を決めて
decide about readiness [“get ready”?]
“kakugo wo kimete”

[repeat third box]