Saturday, 31 December 2005

Happy Nouvelle Année!

When terseness is called for the French can be extremely, well, terse; there are examples HERE and HERE. But they can also express themselves in a way which would sound ridiculously flowery and over the top in English, but doesn’t, somehow, in French.
Here is part of an email received this week from a French friend called Claire. She apologised for sending it out to 62 addresses ("Bon, je sais, les mails communs, c'est pas très cool"), but excused this on the grounds that she was about to leave for three weeks in Vietnam and hadn’t packed and, besides, she thought it wasn't so wrong to package her good wishes "pour vous qui avez un point commun: moi!". Claire also confessed that she hadn’t composed it herself, but had received it from a friend last year.
Anyway, we loved it:
Je vous souhaite à tous, et à tous ceux qui vous sont chers, des bonheurs qui tiennent dans la poche, comme des grands qui nécessitent un A380 (plein de petits, ça fait un tas d'A380...); je vous souhaite la santé qui vous permette de marcher, de chanter, de courir et de profiter; je vous souhaite la prospérité pour rendre la vie un peu plus simple; je vous souhaite des amis, des vrais, des qui tiennent chaud l'hiver et sont toujours là l'été; je vous souhaite une famille, qu'on vous l'ait donnée ou que vous l'ayez choisie; je vous souhaite des rêves, des projets, des espoirs, avec plein de concrétisations derrière, et puis des rêves qu'on ne réalise pas forcément mais qui restent dans un coin de la tête, longtemps; je vous souhaite de vivre, de ne pas perdre de temps, de prendre et de donner, parce qu'on peut quitter le jeu n'importe quand; je vous souhaite des bonnes nouvelles, des sourires et des fous rires; je vous souhaite d'avoir toujours "assez de musique dans votre coeur pour faire danser votre vie".
Prenez soin de vous et que la vie vous soit douce.
Bonne année 2006 et plein de bisous, à chacun d'entre vous.

[A380 is the 555-seat Airbus]

I append a version in Babelfish English. As a translation this is fairly pathetic, but it does have a certain mystic charm and will serve as my own New Year message to everyone:
Wish you with all, and all those which are expensive to you, of happinesses which hold in the pocket, as the large ones which requires A380 (full with small, that made a heap of A380...); I wish you the health which enables you to go, to sing, run and profit; I wish you prosperity to make the life a little simpler; I wish you friends, truths, which hold hot the winter and are the summer always there; I wish you a family, that it be given to you or that you chose it; I wish you dreams, projects, hopes, with full with concretizations behind, and then dreams which one does not carry out inevitably but which remains in a corner of the head, a long time; I wish you food, not to waste time, to take and give, because one can leave the play any time; I wish you good news, smiles and insane laughter; I wish you to have always "enough music in your heart to make dance your life". Take care of you and that the life is soft for you. Good year 2006 and full with kisses, with each one among you.


PerfectlyVocal said...

For once, I have no sad joke or pun to add. That is a truly lovely message and I think the translation adds in an odd sort of way - the meaning is still clear. In unflowery English, may I wish you all the very best Tony.

Minerva said...

How beautiful and uplifting and perfectly phrased. If only the French would stick to poetry and abstract emotions rather than trying to clutter up our law books.. Thank you Tony, and a very Happy New Year to you back in pure Anglo-saxon...