Monday, 3 August 2009

Il Testamento di Tito

You may remember I translated an article on Italian party politics a little while ago. I decided I'd try and do a few more translations, a little inspired by my time at Intrawelt. I'm using a free, very basic, translation programme called OmegaT, and what I thought I'd do was translate some songs for you, because I've been enjoying some Italian music, and I thought you could enjoy it too.

So this is a song by Fabrizio de André that I like, but which is a bit scandalous. Fabrizio de André is very famous here. He died young and is very highly regarded. There are things like memorial concerts for him and his work receives scholarly attention. I asked Monica if that meant he was a bit like an Italian Bob Dylan in that regard, and she seemed to think that you could say that.

The titular Tito you may or may not know as St. Dismas, that is the 'Good Thief'. Apparently in the apocryphal Arabic infancy gospel he's called Tito/Titus instead. Like I say, it's a bit scandalous. You might make something of the turnaround at the end (he is the Good thief after all) but this is essentially his attack on the Ten Commandments.

Just to preempt any comments to the effect that the commandments have been altered in a Catholic direction, I know. I suppose Fabrizio's ten came from some kind of catechetical source where Sabbath observance is linked to feast days and adultery is linked to self-gratification et cetera. And anyone who says the numbers are wrong will want pointing out to them that the Bible doesn't give numbers to the commandments - that's tradition, which varies from denomination to denomination.

The Italian used for the commandments isn't really thee-thouish, but it is traditional, so I started from the 10 in the Baltimore Catechism, which follows the Douay-Rheims in any case.



Il testamento di Tito
Fabrizio De André

Non avrai altro Dio, all'infuori di me,
spesso mi ha fatto pensare:
genti diverse, venute dall'est
dicevan che in fondo era uguale.
Credevano a un altro diverso da te,
e non mi hanno fatto del male.
Credevano a un altro diverso da te
e non mi hanno fatto del male.

Non nominare il nome di Dio,
non nominarlo invano.
Con un coltello piantato nel fianco
gridai la mia pena e il suo nome:
ma forse era stanco, forse troppo occupato
e non ascoltò il mio dolore.
Ma forse era stanco, forse troppo lontano
davvero, lo nominai invano.

Onora il padre. Onora la madre
e onora anche il loro bastone,
bacia la mano che ruppe il tuo naso
perché le chiedevi un boccone:
quando a mio padre si fermò il cuore
non ho provato dolore.
Quando a mio padre si fermò il cuore
non ho provato dolore.

Ricorda di santificare le feste.
Facile per noi ladroni
entrare nei templi che rigurgitan salmi
di schiavi e dei loro padroni
senza finire legati agli altari
sgozzati come animali.
Senza finire legati agli altari
sgozzati come animali.

Il quinto dice "non devi rubare"
e forse io l'ho rispettato
vuotando in silenzio, le tasche già gonfie
di quelli che avevan rubato.
Ma io, senza legge, rubai in nome mio,
quegli altri, nel nome di Dio.
Ma io, senza legge, rubai in nome mio,
quegli altri, nel nome di Dio.

Non commettere atti che non siano puri
cioè non disperdere il seme.
Feconda una donna ogni volta che l'ami, così sarai uomo di fede:
poi la voglia svanisce ed il figlio rimane
e tanti ne uccide la fame.
Io, forse, ho confuso il piacere e l'amore,
ma non ho creato dolore.

Il settimo dice "non ammazzare"
se del cielo vuoi essere degno.
guardatela oggi, questa legge di Dio,
tre volte inchiodata nel legno.
guardate la fine di quel nazareno,
e un ladro non muore di meno.
Guardate la fine di quel nazareno,
e un ladro non muore di meno.

Non dire falsa testimonianza
e aiutali a uccidere un uomo.
Lo sanno a memoria il diritto divino
e scordano sempre il perdono.
Ho spergiurato su Dio e sul mio onore
e no, non ne provo dolore.
Ho spergiurato su Dio e sul mio onore
e no, non ne provo dolore.

Non desiderare la roba degli altri,
non desiderarne la sposa.
Ditelo a quelli, chiedetelo ai pochi
che hanno una donna e qualcosa:
nei letti degli altri, già caldi d'amore
non ho provato dolore.
L'invidia di ieri non è già finita:
stasera vi invidio la vita.

Ma adesso che viene la sera ed il buio
mi toglie il dolore dagli occhi
e scivola il sole al di là delle dune
a violentare altre notti:
io nel vedere quest'uomo che muore,
madre, io provo dolore.
Nella pietà che non cede al rancore,
madre, ho imparato l'amore.
The Testament of Titus
Fabrizio De André

“Thou shalt not have strange gods before me”;
it's often made me think:
other peoples, from the East
said that it was really all the same.
They believed in a strange god, a different god from yours,
and they didn't do me any harm.
They believed in a strange god, a different god from yours,
and they didn't do me any harm.

“Thou shalt not take the name of God,
thou shalt not take it in vain.”
With a knife planted in my side
I cried out my pain and his name:
but perhaps he was tired, perhaps he was too busy
and didn't listen to my pain.
But perhaps he was tired, perhaps he was too far away.
I certainly took his name in vain.

“Honour thy father. Honour thy mother”
and honour their cane as well,
kiss the hand that broke your nose
because you asked for a bite to eat:
when my father's heart stopped
I felt no pain.
When my father's heart stopped
I felt no pain.

“Remember that thou hallow the holy days.”
Easy for us thieves
to enter the temples, flooded with the psalms
of slaves and their masters,
without ending up bound to the altars,
throats cut like animals!
Without ending up bound to the altars,
throats cut like animals!

The fifth says "thou shalt not steal"
and perhaps I've obeyed it,
emptying in silence, the swollen pockets
of thieves.
But I, lawless, stole in my own name,
those thieves, in the name of God.
But I, lawless, stole in my own name,
those thieves, in the name of God.

“Thou shalt not commit impure acts”;
that is, don't spill your seed.
Impregnate a woman every time you love her, and you'll be a man of faith:
then the desire vanishes, the child remains
and hunger kills many sons.
Perhaps I've confused pleasure with love,
but I haven't begotten pain.

The seventh says "thou shalt not kill"
If you want to be worthy of heaven.
Look today at this law of God,
nailed three times into wood.
Look what's become of that Nazarene,
and not one less thief dies.
Look what's become of that Nazarene,
and not one less thief dies.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness”
and help to kill a man.
They know the divine law by heart
but always forget to forgive.
I've sworn falsely by God and on my honour
and no, it doesn't give me any pain.
I've sworn falsely by God and on my honour
and no, it doesn't give me any pain.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods,
thou shalt not covet his wife.”
Tell it to those, ask it of the few
that have a woman and something else:
in my neighbour's bed, already warm with love
I felt no pain.
Yesterday's envy isn't finished yet:
now I envy your lives.

But now that evening comes and the darkness
takes the pain from my eyes
and the sun slips beyond the dunes
to violate other nights:
I, seeing this man as he dies,
mother, I feel pain.
In compassion that refuses to hate,
mother, I've learnt what love means.
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2 comments:

JamesP said...

It never occured to me that translators might use dedicated translation software. I'm intrigued...

I notice that OmegaT uses regular expressions. Regular expressions are awesome.

Mark said...

Well, it's less clever than you might think.

Basically they break down a source text into segments and keep track of how you translate them so that it suggests the same thing next time you have a similar source segment.

I like it because it gives you an interface, making it simpler to see what you're translating, rather than switching windows all the time.

Regular expressions might be awesome, but I don't seem to be able to get OmegaT to recognise them, and I don't think it's my fault...