Like Radiohead?

Good to see Radiohead back! Well, not if you're not a fan I guess but then in that case why are you reading this? ;-)

I've just had a crack at translating their latest into French:

Let me know what you think - I'm sure it could be improved upon!


May 4, 2016


Quelques corrections (Le français n'est pas ma langue maternelle. Veuille vérifier que ce sont corrects)

Acclamez au gibet (Acclamez le gibet means Cheer for the hangings rather than at the hangings)

À ras de la terre

Chantez une chanson du juke-box

Des croix rouges

Des six pièces qui fait comme/se chante comme

May 4, 2016

Acclamez au gibet...yes I think you're right
À ras de la terre - I don't think so, "a ras de terre"seems to be a fixed expression
Chantez une chanson du juke-box - yes, I hesitated about this, the English "on the juke-box is a bit clumsy, I think perhaps "du" is better
Des croix rouges - oh yes, careless...
Des six pièces qui fait comme/se chante comme - yes, I think you're right. Aller alone doesn't quite do it!

Merci pour vos précisions! :-)

May 4, 2016

Peut-être "une chanson qui dit..."est plus simple?

May 4, 2016

I'm not quite sure about "of six pence"...

This is of course a reference to the nursery rhyme "sing a song of sixpence" and refers to the old sixpence coin so is singular. But the object is "a song of sixpence" so I think "de" alone is correct. I've since changed it to "six sous" as this is a more common French phrase"

May 4, 2016

J'aime radiohead. Je pense que leur musique est très fantastique. Pardonnez moi pour ma français ne pas très bien.

May 6, 2016

vos capacités françaises semblent parfaites. : )

January 2, 2017

Great discussion! Poetry is especially hard to translate, and you often need to go deep to find parallel cultural references. brilliant reading :-)

May 6, 2016

Glad you enjoyed it too! :-)

May 7, 2016

to AlexanderM288777- - - d'accord

January 2, 2017

love radiohead :) xxx

May 4, 2016

Personal style, I'd replace "Nous savons où vous habitez" with "On sait où t'habites".
...and replace all the "vous" with "tu".
Maybe "Brûle la sorcière" instead of "brûlez", ditto throughout with other verbs.

Some of my reasoning (again...personal preference)
It is Burn the Witch, not witches.
If you're going to burn someone, you're likely not going to address them formally.

Nice job! :-)

May 4, 2016

I really did ponder tu/vous quite a bit. Although it is burn the witch it's the to whom the song is addressed that is key . Is he addressing 'us' the audience or 'you' the listener. As I say not 100 convinced which is better. Tu makes it more personal and direct for sure....

Still pondering.... :-)

May 4, 2016

Whatever anyone ever does with a song, it is both right and wrong, depending on your point of view. :-)

May 4, 2016

Indeed... I think I probably will end up switching it all to 'on' and 'tu' in the end though. It's how I started out but changed my mind half-way through... :-)

/edit - have done it.

May 4, 2016

I am sure :

-Reste dans l'ombre

-À ras du sol

-Chante une chanson à six sous

I am not sure :

Et si tu flottes, tu brûleras = Et si tu voles, tu brûleras

The witches fly (float in the wind) with their broomstick, while "Flotte" in French it's "to float" but on water.

May 4, 2016

Alors, dites-moi...

Reste dans l'ombre - Ah, this expressionis always singular in French then?

À ras du sol/À ras de terre - I have seen both expressions but thought that the former meant "at ground level" while the latter meant more like "skimming the ground" which is closer to the meaning I wanted. Is this not a common expression? I found several examples of it being used. However, this link seems to suggest it's mainly used in a sporting sense so perhaps "ras dul sol" is better...

Chante une chanson à six sous - Well, the English is idiomatic and references an old nursery rhyme - I'm not sure it's possible to match the translation too well.

Thanks for the input, I find all the discussion fascinating! :-)

May 4, 2016

Reste dans l'ombre

Yes always singular, it means "To Hide"

À ras du sol/AU ras de LA terre

I check on :

Rase-motte :

Is the same, you have the choice :

"C'est une crise de panique à ras du sol" or "C'est une crise de panique au ras de la terre"

I am french and I think that the first its more pleasant for ears.

Chante une chanson à six sous

It's familiar, "à six sous" means "unfashionable", "without value"

I hope you have understood my english xD

May 5, 2016

Merci encore pour ces précisions - c'est très utile à moi!

Tout bien pesé, je crois que vous avez raison. "à ras du sol" est la meilleur choix ici. Et au sujet de "à six sous" - C'est interessant... c'est possible que la comptine anglaise veut dire la même chose. Je vous ferai confiance!

Votre anglais est presque parfait. J'espère que mon français ne vous écorchera pas les oreilles! :-)

May 5, 2016

I interpreted "if you float, you burn" as a reference to this:

May 4, 2016

I understood, if she as weighs as duck, then it is she floats in the wind ? So it's a witch ?

I have difficults to understand english voices :x

And wordreference said :

float vi (drift on wind) voler⇒ vi The autumn leaves floated gently to the ground. Les feuilles d'automne volaient doucement sur le sol.

May 4, 2016

Elle flotte dans l'eau parce que les sorcières sont faites en bois. Les canards flottent aussi dans l'eau...alors si quelqu'un pèse le même qu'un canard....c'est une sorcière.

J'ai eu l'impression que Radiohead utilise "float" ici (dans le sens de flotter dans l'eau) comme hommage à Monty Python.

Sorry for my rusty French.

May 4, 2016

It's a nice theory but I believe it's more likely that Radiohead were referencing the real medieval practice of ' trial by water' wherein the unfortunate accused would be tossed into a body of water. If they sank and drowned they were innocent. If they floated they were guilty and would be burnt. Harsh...

Thank you both for the pointers, I shall think about the others.

May 4, 2016

Was unaware of that. I was close. ;-)

May 4, 2016

Close indeed - And of course the Python sketch was also referencing the same thing. Always good to get a bit of Python in anyhoo! ;-)

May 4, 2016

Alright ! Thank for the explanation ! :)

Your french isn't rusty :)

May 4, 2016

cool thread, man. radiohead is truly a special band. i'll send you a cover that i did of theirs when it's finished if you want.

January 2, 2017

Please do, I'd love to hear it! :-)

January 2, 2017
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