Leonard Cohen On The Difficulty Of Translating Edith Piaf’s Songs

Interviewer: I’ve heard that you have worked on a translation, an adaptation to English, of Edith Piaf’s songs?

It was an idea I proposed for Jennifer Warnes, not for me. I would like to translate certain Piaf songs for Jennifer, but it is very difficult. I tried a few lines. It’s difficult. A phrase such as ‘C’est l’amour qui fait qu’on s’aime”, now, what does this French sentence mean? That love is responsible? That love is a separate force? (a force apart) That love exists? C’est l’amour qui fait qu’on s’aime. It (the meaning) is not exact. You see the problem!quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Rencontre avec Leonard Cohen, video interview with Leonard Cohen by Jean-Louis Sbille. Rock On TV! (Belgian TV): March 16, 1988. Translated from French to English by Coco Éclair.

Note: Originally posted March 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

One Reply to “Leonard Cohen On The Difficulty Of Translating Edith Piaf’s Songs”

  1. Violeta

    Difficult to translate this sentence “mot a mot”, but in my opinion the meaning should be:Love is evething ,nothing is done in this life without love.It is the real glue of life.