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The most common translation I've seen is "altmodisch."

But the question comes from another one of my German translations, from "As Time Goes By"

Mondschein und Liebeslieder sind niemals VERGANGEN,
Herzen mit Leidenschaft, Eifersucht, und Hassen.
Frauen braucht Mann, und Mann braucht seines Weib.
Das kann niemand verneinen.

"Moonlight and love songs never out of date.
Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate.
Woman needs man, and man must have his mate.
That no one can deny."

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The problem with poetic translation is that you want to capture the meaning of what is said, and still duplicate the poetic nature (or translate it if possible) in the second language. Going the other direction - from German to English - there are at least two translations of Martin Luther's classic hymn "Ein Feste Berg" (A Might Fortress). There is the one which most are familiar but which on examination does not seem to be a close to literal translation. And then there is a version in the Lutheran Hymnbook which is very close to a literal translation - but not very poetic. – Zeke Hansell Aug 24 '11 at 18:37
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I would translate never out of date as unvergänglich:

Mondschein und Liebeslieder sind unvergänglich

It sounds more natural and poetic than "niemals vergangen" and generally has a quite positive connotation.

More literal translations of "out-of-date" are:

  • altmodisch (belittling connotation),
  • veraltet (neutral),
  • altbacken (derogatory).
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THAT's the one I wanted. "Same" word, but yours is the correct FORM. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 17:32

I suggest the following line

Mondschein und Liebeslieder kommen nie aus der Mode.

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Nice try. Worth an upvote. But I prefer unvergänglich, above. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 17:36

I'd suggest:

Mondschein und Liebeslieder sind zeitlos.

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NOt bad. Worth an upvote. But I prefer unvergänglich, above. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 17:34

out of date

  • unmodern
  • aus der Mode
  • veraltet
  • vergänglich

I think stamps with DM values could be called 'out of date' in English, which would mean 'veraltet', but not unmodern.

For "Moonlight and love songs", 'veraltet' doesn't seem optimal, and 'vergänglich' misplaced, for me.

It is said, that lovesongs, as a genre, as human expression, are never out of date, not that a particular, beware all lovesongs, never get out of date. Therefore "Mondschein und Liebeslieder sind unvergänglich" doesn't fit.

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Something to think about. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 17:37

out of date could also be translated as:

  • überholt
  • von gestern

Both probably won't fit well within the context of that song, the second one is slang.


I think, in context of that song

  • verblassen

would work even though it's not a literal translation. It rhymes nicely with "hassen" as well.

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Good to know, for other contexts. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 17:35

Typical love lyrics for this kind of thing:

Eisen und Stahl, sie koennen zergehn, Unsere Liebe muss ewig bestehn.

For your own try, "sind niemals vergangen" is past, not general present, so you should really use future "werden niemals vergehen".

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OK, vergehen, future, rather than unvergänglich, past. Good to know. Now that I think about it, how does "vergessen" sound? – Tom Au Aug 24 '11 at 12:58
@Tom I think that changes the meaning too much, "never get forgotten" is something else than "never out of date", unless you're desparately trying for that rhyme. Regarding that, see also the edit to my answer. – takrl Aug 24 '11 at 14:52
@takrl: Worth noting, thanks. – Tom Au Aug 24 '11 at 15:06

Maybe "zu alt" can work in your case. It goes well with the rhythm of the song too. I'd give you +1 just for trying to translate it because I love it a lot too :-).

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Thanks for trying. An upvote to get you started. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 22:03
Thank you, Tom :-). – Kage Aug 24 '11 at 20:31

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