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I am having difficulty with translating the lyrics below in the most accurate form.

Ah the love that was lost in the dust
Ah the life that was lost in the dust

I tried some translation websites (google, deepl) and I got the following:

Ach, die verlorene Liebe im Staub
Ach, das verlorene Leben im Staub

As well as:

Ach, die Liebe, die im Staub verloren ging
Ach, das Leben, das im Staub verloren ging

Now I think that these are kind of ok, but at the same time not accurate.
So I came up with my own translation(s) as following.

My version 1 (reflexive form):

Ach, die Liebe, die sich im Staub verlor
Ach, das Leben, das sich im Staub verlor

My version 2 (passive voice):

Ach, die Liebe, die im Staub verloren wurde
Ach, das Leben, das im Staub verloren wurde

What do you think? Which of the 4 versions above (either mine or the automatic) is the most accurate?

1 Answer 1

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To be honest, I'm amazed about what Google and DeepL can do today.

Ach, die verlorene Liebe im Staub
Ach, das verlorene Leben im Staub

About this I don't like the fact that "verloren" and "im Staub" are separated, but it's not a bad translation semantically. Its best feature though is that it actually (almost) fits the verse meter of the original! I wonder if that's a coincidence. Achieving that is regularly one of the hardest parts of translating lyrics.

Ach, die Liebe, die im Staub verloren ging
Ach, das Leben, das im Staub verloren ging

This is good and more accurately transporting the meaning. It leaves the question open whether it was anyone's fault that the love/life was lost.

Ach, die Liebe, die sich im Staub verlor
Ach, das Leben, das sich im Staub verlor

I like this even better than the one before. To my ears, "sich verlieren" is something that can happen over a longer period, while "verloren gehen" sounds a bit more like a mishap that happens at one point in time. Also, this version pretty clearly says that the loss wasn't anyone fault, it just happened. If the verse meter isn't important, this is my favourite translation among these.

Ach, die Liebe, die im Staub verloren wurde
Ach, das Leben, das im Staub verloren wurde

This is the opposite in that it implies that it was someone, a person or a couple, who lost the life/love. Also, the passive form with "werden" is more about an action, not so much about a state of things. As I understand it, the original is talking about lost as a characteristic of that love/life more than about the act of losing love/life.

If the meter is to be sustained, I would propose this slight variation:

Ach, die Liebe, verloren im Staub
Ach, das Leben, verloren im Staub

2
  • Vielen Dank für Ihre ausführlichen Bemerkungen und den Vorschlag. Jan 19 at 0:46
  • Wie wäre es mit "Ach, die im Staub verlorene Liebe"?
    – Gabriel_DL
    Jan 23 at 22:17

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