Here's another translation exercise.

The original English was (From Long Ago and Far Away) Jerome Kern and George Gerswhin:

Chills ran up and down my spine,
Aladdin's lamp was mine.
The dream I dreamed was not denied me. Just one look and then I knew
That all I wanted long ago was you.

I rendered it in German as:

Dann fing meine Liebe an,
Ich war im Zauberland.
Und du, mein Traum war nicht verneinen.
Nur ein Blick dann wusste ich
Mein Lebenlang erwartete ich nur dich.

Aladdin's lamp is a magical device, so I translated it not literally, but as "im Zauberland." Is that a good translation or is there a better one?

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    Well, the exact equivalent is Aladin's Wunderlampe. Can you give some more context for that sentence?
    – deceze
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 2:56
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    @Tom Au: Your poetry translation questions are not answerable without more context. I think that the above is a bad translation, (it changes the meaning, the two sentences look odd in German without conjunction, it does not convey the same atmosphere, it doesn't rhyme) without context, it is impossible to say how bad. The given line does not indicate anything about love, we don't know the melody and we don't know how ready you are to depart from the English meaning to stick to a rhyme.
    – Phira
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 5:19
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    @deceze: Or Aladins Wunderlampe as the apostrophe before the genitive-s is not common anymore in German.
    – musiKk
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 6:48
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    @Tom_Au Almost every German speaking child knows Aladins Wunderlampe from Märchen aus tausendundeiner Nacht or from the Disney Movies.
    – splattne
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:10
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    @Tom_Au Aladins Wunderlampe is not an American import. The expression came from the (19th century?) translation of "1001 Nacht"
    – splattne
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 14:22

4 Answers 4


I will translate this if you wish.

Der Kontext ist ein Liebeslied aus den 40ern und der Text findet sich hier. Hier ist ein Youtube-Video (Textstelle bei 1:08).

Ich würde ohne groß nachzudenken sowas draus machen wie

Ich fühl' mich sonderbar, ein Wunder wird hier wahr

(oder, näher am Rhythmus des Originals, „Ich fühle mich ganz sonderbar …“ oder „Ich fühl' mich ach so sonderbar …“). Wenn mir eine poetischere Variante einfällt, ergänze ich das hier nochmal – aber generell erfasst diese, glaube ich, so ziemlich den Sinn des Originaltextes. Deine eigene Übersetzung mit „Zauberland“ gefällt mir auch sehr gut, aber der erste Teil „Dann fing meine Liebe an“ ist meiner Meinung zu frei übersetzt – versuche, näher am Original zu bleiben. Der „Beinahe-Reim“ an – Land reicht für diese Art Lied wahrscheinlich auch.

Generell ist noch folgendes zu sagen: Der Ausdruck „Aladdins Wunderlampe ist mein“ ist keine bestehende Redewendung des Deutschen. Eine kurze Google-Suche verrät allerdings, dass sie auch im Englischen alles andere als verbreitet ist. Die allermeisten Ergebnisse sind Wiedergaben des Liedtextes oder beziehen sich direkt darauf. Es scheint also so, dass der Texter hier den Begriff geprägt hat, wohl in der Erwartung, der Hörer würde sich schon einen Reim darauf machen können. Wenn dies zutrifft, so darf dieselbe Formulierung natürlich auch in der deutschen Übersetzung verwendet werden.


Du hast nun mehr Text hinzugefügt und das sieht doch sehr gut aus. Nur „Und du, mein Traum war nicht verneinen.“ ist kein richtiges Deutsch. Das müsste in etwa „Mein Traum ist in Erfüllung gegangen“/„Die Erfüllung meines Traums wurde mir gegönnt“ oder so ähnlich heißen.

Ich versuche nochmal eine ganz andere Version, nur aus Jux:

In meinem Rücken schauert es wohlig
Dieses Glück macht mich selig
Mein Traum ist in Erfüllung gegangen.

Und das danach hast du so schön gedichtet, da will ich gar nichts dran ändern (außer einem Leerzeichen zwischen „Leben“ und „lang“).

  • +1 siehe auch meine Antwort: Es gibt tatsächlich auch eine deutsche Version - nach dem Prinzip: Der Krieg ist der Vater aller Dinge.
    – splattne
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 7:24

It's very difficult to find an appropriate literal translation for a specific line of a poem or a song. In fact, there is a German version of the song you're trying to translate ("Long Ago and Far Away") which changes the second part of the line.

Mir war so kalt und heiß, seither mein Herz es weiß...

There's even a YouTube video and the text line is (at 1:20).

Note: the song was recorded by the Glenn Miller AAF band Sept. 1944; sung in German By Johnny Desmond. Rare broadcast to enemy soldiers.

  • @splattne: Yes it was "Long Ago and Far Away." The previous verse was: Lang waren die Himmel grau, Nun sind sie aber blau, wenn ich dich schaue. (Question verse) Dann fing meine Liebe an, ich war im Zauberland, und du, mein Traum war nicht verneinen."
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:05
  • @Tom: noch deutscher würde „… nun aber sind sie blau, wenn ich dich anschau.“ klingen. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 14:22
  • @Felix Dombek: thanks for the correction. We're making progress. I think I had the right ideas, and the wrong forms.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 14:27

translating poetry is a subject in its own right.

If you only feed us one or two lines at a time, there is no way that anyone can offer a suggestion that will suit the tone, style, rhyme or rythm of the translation you have performed so far.

Hence, the question and all answers are meaningless.

Case in point: you chose to translate "Chills ran up and down my spine" with "Dann fing meine Liebe an". That is not a translation of the phrase at all. It may be a valid rendering of the context, depending on how you tackle the whole text, but just looking at the line, the "translation" is a complete no-fit.

If you post these two lines of the poem out of context, the translation you provided is utterly wrong. Unless you provide the context of the whole poem and the translation you attempted so far, it is really hard to suggest how to translate this particular line.

I assume that you have the skills to bingle a translation of "Aladin's lamp", so you don't really need us to provide you with "Aladins Wunderlampe", right?

So, the question title does not really reflect what the question is about. Definitely no a translation of "Aladin's lamp" into German. If you can't find that on the web, I don't know what to tell you.

The true essence of your question seems to be how to incorporate the two lines of poetry into an existing translation that you have already started.

Well, post the whole original text, and then post the whole translation, as far as you've taken it. With that context, a suggestion may be achievable.

Seeing that your "translation" has not very much in common with the original English text, I feel that you are not after a literal translation. Unfortunately, anything other than literal cannot be supplied without more context/detail/circumstance.

Some of us may be good at English, but that does not mean we're clairvoyant.

  • I decidedly disagree. The context was easy to find out with a simple Google search and while OP should definitely have stated the title and author of the poem, a whole copy-paste of material which may even be copyrighted is unnecessary (that's why they don't allow complete lyrics on Wikipedia, for example.) It would have been nice to know the rest of the translation, but it is not necessary to faithfully answer the question as stated. Just assume the rest is translated literally! I do agree that poetry can be intricate and that his attempt was not particularly close to the original. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 12:58
  • But the rest, no, it's totally legitimate to ask for help, especially given that he is a foreigner who tried himself. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:03
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    @Felix: Of course the question is totally legitimate, but I decidedly disagree that the (admittedly tiny) burden of a Google search should be left to the answerer. The How to Ask page also advises to give details and context, and to share ones own research. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:39
  • Well, I for one didn't even read the whole poem, I just made sure that it is indeed about love (as I might have seen from OP's suggestion) and went on to translate ... as I said, OP should have posted title and author and yes, a link to the lyics, but I feel teylyn's critique is a bit strong and focuses not only on that, but on many other perceived flaws in OP's post where I wanted to provide an alternative view. I think the best thing would be that everyone just reads the post and starts to be creative – then we could already have 10 or more answers. Maybe I'll come up with more ideas myself. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:54
  • @Hendrik: Anyone can look up a "literal" translation. But I was trying to render a poem into "standard" German. In many cases, a literal translation from one language to another creates awkward usage in the second. I had seen "Zauberland" used many times in a similar context and was wondering if I had used it properly. The fact that I proposed my own solution means that I was not satisfied with what could be found in Google.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 14:14

I would translate it into Aladins Wunderlampe. In fairytales, this is an old oil lamp, where you can rub on and an old genie appears to grant a wish.

Overall, I would have translated the line like this:
Schauer rannten mir den Rücken hinunter, Aladins Lampe war mein.

Please provide some more lines to see if we can stick to the rhyme without changing its origianl meaning.

  • 1
    "Schauer rannten und mir den Rücken hinunter, Aladins Lampe war meine." is not a correct German sentence.
    – Phira
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 6:11
  • Oops, yes you are right. I have not seen the und in my sentence.
    – Markus
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 6:18
  • Maybe the ending war mein is better suited for a poetic context.
    – musiKk
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 6:49
  • Actually, it's not Aladdin who appears, it's a Jinni. Aladdin is the guy who recovers the lamp. And the name is always written with a double d. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:06
  • @Markus: In order not to run afoul of copyright laws, I have "extended" the question in the text, and added additional lines in a reply to splattne. Thanks for your question.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 13:16

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