It has been a while since I have inducted a song into my blog’s songbook and this one is slightly different because I am combining it with a Language Library post.
I want to translate The Second Star to the Right from Peter Pan. This is probably my favourite song from the film and for such a short song, it evokes so many different feelings and memories of my childhood that I don’t want to forget.
Next to the original, I think I’ve only heard the French (France) edition and to me, it’s just as beautiful. You can make up your own mind of course.
What I want to do is translate the French into English, put it alongside the original and compare the two. It always interests me to see what is added or taken away and if it then enhances the original song.
The second star to the right shines in the night for you
To tell you that the dreams you plan, really can come true.
The second star to the right, shines with a light so rare,
And if it’s Neverland you need, it’s light will lead you there.
Twinkle twinkle little star, so we’ll know where you are,
Gleaming in the skies above, take us to the land we dream of
And when our journey is through
Each time we say goodnight,
We’ll thank the little star that shines,
The second from the right.
French – La Deuxième Petite Étoile:
Regarde bien cette étoile
Dans l’océan du ciel
Quand tes beaux rêves y font escale
Ils sont éternels .
C’est cette deuxième étoile
À droite au fond du ciel
Qui, ce soir, t’envoie un signal
Et sa lumière parait
Saphir dans le firmament
Étincelle ou diamant
Ce pays imaginaire
Brille au milieu de l’univers
Si la nuit, ton coeur se voile
Si tu cherches un soleil
C’est la deuxième petite étoile
À droite au fond du ciel.
Look at this star in the ocean of the sky
When your beautiful dreams stop there, they are everlasting.
It’s this second star to the bottom right of the sky
That sends you a signal tonight and it’s light appears.
A sparkling sapphire or diamond in the sky
Its imaginary country shines at the middle of the universe.
If at night, your heart flies
If you find a sun
It is that second little star
To the bottom right of the sky.
Looking at the French translation, the one thing I notice is the metaphors for the stars and sky. Their beauty is magnified, the stars described as sapphires and diamonds and alongside creating the dreaminess and fantasy that you’d expect with Neverland and the journey to Neverland, I think part of it is due to the flowery and descriptive nature of French as a language. They complement each other incredibly well.
What the French translation has also picked up on is the theme of never growing up, never changing – when dreams reach Neverland they are everlasting. On a superficial nature, it seems similar to the original saying that our dreams can come true, that they can lead us to Neverland but I feel a greater sense of permanence in the French translation. It’s as if the first incarnations of our dreams and childhood dreams are always within reach. I like that. It’s innocent and pure, and everything you want to believe as a child.
In terms of anything getting lost in translation, I can’t decide if it has happened or not. I still get the same concept and context and I feel that the French lyrics fit the song – they enhance the majestic beauty and dreaminess Peter Pan brings as a film.
And as the opening song to the film, that’s all we need really.
If I had to rate the French interpretation I would give it a full
5 out of 5
I love it!
What do you think?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!