Melotron: Gib Mir Alles

For practice, I’m fond of looking at German songs I like and translating them. It’s nice vocabulary building/re-enforcement. In the “first pass” translation, I tend to take the words very literally and without the full “feeling” of them. In the free translations, it is a combination of either what is implied or what flows better in Englisch. Things in parenthesis are guesses and ramblings about what I got stuck on or other ways it could have been meant.

Today we’re looking at Melotron’s Gib Mir Alles (“Give Me Everything”).

So far as I can tell the tone seems to be as though it’s someone speaking to someone else like a sort of roleplay… a *ahem* naughty roleplay… but nothing explicit. There’s also some nicely done imagery about music repeated constantly despite the risque overtones (we’ll discuss cultural differences on this topic at the end of the translation).  The references to “symphony”, “sound,” “tune”, “harmony”, “beat”, and “concert” are quite poetic and consistent.

Süßer kleiner Organismus
Aus dem großen, weiten Sternsystem
Dein Herzschlag schreit, bestimmt den Rhythmus
Und mein Puls die Harmonie

First pass translation:

Sweet little organism
Out of the great, vast starsystem (galaxy?)
Your heartbeat screams, determining the rhythm
and harmony of my pulse

Freely translating:

Sweet little creature
From the great vast starsystem
Your heartbeat calls out, setting the rhythm
of my pulse and the tune

(Basically something like  “sweet little thing from out of this world, the beat of your heart sets the rhythm of my pulse and the tune for how this duet of ours is going to go”)

Unser Takt schließt sich zur Einheit
Um den Leib der Leidenschaft
Und sein Schmerz
bringt uns die Freiheit
ist unsre Freiheit

Rough translation:

Our clock closes itself to unity
By the body the passion
and pain exists
bring to us the freedom
is our freedom

Freely translating:

Our beat closes to unity
by the fervor of the flesh
and your pain
brings us freedom
(it) is our freedom

(More imagery about music and the idea that the pain is part of the duet that leads to the ultimate escape)

Gib mir alles und noch mehr
Bis sich Tag und Nacht vereinen
Gib mir alles und noch mehr

Rough translation:

Give me everything and more
Until day and night themselves combine
Give me everything and more

Freely translating:

Give me everything and more
Until day and night concert
Give me everything and more

(Use of the word “concert” in the free translation is in the sense of concert as the verb “to unite” but obviously goes with all the musical references found in the song. It seemed only natural to translate it in that way.)

Schwacher, kranker Organismus
Fern dem Alltagsklanggenie
Wird der Kreis aus Schamgefühlen
Vereint zu einer Sinfonie

Rough translation:

Weak, sick organism
Distant from the day-to-day genious sound
Is the orbit of your shame
united for a symphony

Freely translating:

Fragile sick creature
Remote from the everyday sound of genious
Shall the orbit of your sin
concert for a symphony

(So this bit seems to reference both the “space” bit from the first verse, and again, the idea of a musical performance. The second two lines are difficult… and particularly the word “Schamgefühlen”. I’ve seen it listed as “shame” but as german often has compound nouns, breaking them up it’s “feelings” and “shame” BUT “scham” is also listed as being a word used for lady parts… the context seems to be kind of like the old concept of shame being associated with sexuality. In US pop culture there’s an excellent example of this in the movie Kerry, where a mother character criticizes her daughter’s choice of clothing. Rather than saying the word “breasts” because she’s too much of a prude, she refers to them as “dirty pillows”. So in that sense for the Englisch, I went with “sin” to try and cover the context even though the speaker seems to be using it in a dirty-talk sense and not a true shame context.  In older Englisch, “sin” and “sexual organs” were pretty much synonymous. It’s not as true in modern Englisch, but in a poetic usage like this it is fine to use. This paragraph SEEMS to say something like “aw you poor dirty little thing, so far from a musical master, is your body ready for a true symphony?”)

Jeder Ton schürt das Verlangen
Und das Feuer schwarzer Lust
Hält uns tief im Traum gefangen

Rough translation:

Every sound strokes the longing
And the fire black desire
Stops us deep trapped in a dream

Freely translating:

Every sound strokes the yearning
And the flaming filthy lust
keeps us trapped deep in the dream

(The word “schwarzer” seems technically more like “black” or “illicit” but in conjunction with “Feur” there seems to be this play on words like “so dirty it’s scortched black”. I went with “filthy” for the illiterative quality and still trying to catch that sense of “illicit” + “charred”)

Gib mir alles und noch mehr
Spür die Macht der schönen Leiden
Gib mir alles und noch mehr
Alles, was dir fehlt
Alles, was dich hält
Alles, was nichts zählt
Alles, was dich quält

Rough translation:

Give me everything and more
Feel the force of great pain
Give me everything and more
Everything, what ails you
Everything, what stops you
Everything, what doesn’t count
Everything, what torments you

Freely translating:

Give me everything and more
Feel the power of beautiful pain
Everything that’s wrong
Everything that holds you
Everything that counts for nothing
Everything that torments you

So yeah, wasn’t expecting this song to be quite the context that it is, but I think it has excellent imagery. Again, I’m still pretty bad with cases and genders, so I’m sure I messed some stuff up. I’m including a video link to the song for anyone who wants to hear the melody (very pretty). Also, because I really enjoy how much of an awesome spaz the lead singer is, this is a clip of a live show. I’ve never before seen someone incorporate polka as part of a synthpop dance style, but if you know of both my great love for dance and being a spaz, then you’ll know that this guy is totally my kind of singer 🙂

Cultural Difference Notes

Understand that in the US, such lustful topics can be very taboo among some Americans. There’s a saying I’ve heard from my lessons that summarizes it very well: “European entertainment tends to be about sex. American entertainment tends to be about violence.” While that isn’t true of everything, it’s a good saying to remind one about the importance of caution. There is sensitivity around this type of subject matter, and it can be delicate and awkward to figure out who is (or isn’t) willing to discuss it. It can be as complex as whether or not to say “Sie” or “du”. To be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid these kinds of topics with Americans until you’re sure they’re not going to get embarrassed by it.


About Tolero / Mer'lask

Lover of Languages

Posted on September 7, 2011, in Culture Clash, Translations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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