Monday, July 18, 2011

Sənsiz (Without You)

The music for this song is by the great Azerbaijani composer Üzeyir Hacıbəyov. The lyrics are by the 12th century poet Nizami Gəncəvi. I found two versions of the lyrics - one from Min Bir Mahnı and the other on English wikipedia. There were differences, so I compared them to Bülbül's clear and wonderful rendition of this song. I think the words below are correct according to Bülbül's version.


This is a very difficult song to try to translate. There are words that Dilmanc would not translate and others that I could not find in dictionaries. For instance, saət did not appear in any of my regular dictionaries, but I did find it in my 4 volume Azerbaijani-only dictionary. (See my Learning Resources post for more info on this.) It is, as I suspected, a variant of saat. And for sure, it sounds better when sung as saət. The 4th volume finally explained vəslinə as well. It is an archaic term for vüsal - a meeting with one's darling. On the basis of this research, I will attempt to translate, though some phrases are still fairly impenetrable for me.

Hər gecəm oldu kədər, qüssə, fəlakət sənsiz,
Hər nəfəs çəkdim hədər getdi, o saət sənsiz!

Without you, my every night is filled with sorrow, grief, and calamity.
Every breath I draw, each hour, I draw in vain, without you!

Sənin ol cəlb eləyən vəslinə and içdim, inan,
Hicrinə yandı könül, yox daha taqət sənsiz!

Believe me, I took an oath to your captivating presence,
Your pilgrimage has burnt my soul, I have no more strength without you!

Özgə bir yarı necə axtarım, ey nazlı sənəm,
Bilirəm sən də dedin: Yox yara hacət sənsiz!

Let me find my other half, oh my beautiful one,
I know you have said: I have nothing for my wounds without you!

Sən mənim qəlbimə hakim,
Sənə qul oldu könül,
Sən əzizsən, mən üçün,
Mən heçəm, afət, sənsiz.

You are the judge of my soul,
My heart is a slave to you,[very interesting line as Nizami's first and most beloved wife was a slave girl]
You are beloved to me,
Without you I am nothing, my beautiful love.

Sən Nizamidən əgər arxayın olsan da, gülüm,
Gecə-gündüz arayib olmadı rahat, sənsiz.

From Nizami you can be sure, my love,
Day and night search but are not at ease, without you.

5 comments:

balkanika said...

Dear ms Colleen,

I read your blog on Azerbaijani language. Congratulations for your efforts on promoting this colorful language.

Being a native of Turkey and due to my interest in literaure, I fully understand the lyrics of Nizami. If you don’t mind I should say that there are many misinterpretations in your translation which are, on some instances, quite different from the original meaning of lyrics.

I am sorry my English isn’t enough to explain and make a good translation. Some affectionate words and expressions used for beloved (feminine), like “nazlı sənəm”, “afət”, “gülüm” can not be translated directly without loss of meaning even by a skilled English user and most of the expressions used in the lyrics are also metaphoric.

I have highlighted the parts to be reviewed in CAPITAL letters.

Hər gecəm oldu kədər, qüssə, fəlakət sənsiz,
HƏR NƏFƏS ÇƏKDİM HƏDƏR GETDİ, O SAƏT SƏNSİZ!

Sənin ol cəlb eləyən VƏSLİNƏ and içdim, inan,
HİCRİNƏ YANDI KÖNÜL, yox daha taqət sənsiz!

ÖZGƏ BİR YARI NECƏ AXTARIM, ey nazlı sənəm, (completely different from your translation)
Bilirəm sən də dedin: YOX YARA HACƏT SƏNSİZ! (completely different from your tanslation)

Sən mənim qəlbimə HAKİM,
Sənə qul oldu könül,
Sən əzizsən, mən üçün,
Mən heçəm, AFƏT, sənsiz.

SƏN NİZAMİDƏN ƏGƏR ARXAYIN OLSAN DA, GÜLÜM,
GECƏ-GÜNDÜZ ARAYİB OLMADI RAHAT, SƏNSİZ. (this line also completely diffrent from your translation)

I hope someone with a good command of English will help for corrections.

Thank you for your blog.

Ms. Colleen said...

Oh boy! I will try to go back and reconsider the phrases you have highlighted. I hope I will get some more advice on this beautiful song. I would like to understand the lyrics!

Alef Noon said...

Ms. Colleen,

Your translation is good. It is true that it has some mistakes but to translate ghazal from classical Azerbaijani poetry whose correct reading is not known to many Azeris is amazing. Overall, as native speaker and lover of poetry I would evaluate your translation as success. Literary translation is not an easy matter.
Please note that original of this ghazal is in Persian as it was literary language of medieval ages. So azeri itself is translation.
Also, it is written in Aruz genre, a genre of poetry which came to Turkish, Persian, and Azeri etc. from Arabic.
Its rhythm and rhyme based on pattern in which long and short vowels repeat in certain frequency and in specific sequences. The way those vowels follow each other creates musicality (and there are dozens of such patterns with dozens of variations). So, high level literary translation would try to keep that feature alive.
In this ghazal the vowel "a" of every word second to the last word should be pronounced slightly longer ((marked with capital letter)) in words: fəlAkət, sAət,tAqət,hAcət,Afət, rAhat (In older spelling it should be rahət), ).
The deeper you go the more interesting things you will find because often archaic words whose translation you will find in dictionary will have symbolic meaning in classical discourse (you may not find them in dictionaries.).
Anyway, good luck. Keep posting.

balkanika said...

Dear ms. Colleen,

Congratulations!

Your translation is much better and succesful now, after your changes.

Please keep your blog always alive with poems and with your lively musical performances as well as the other aspects of this colorful language.

Amin Jafarov said...

The line
"Sən əzizsən, mən üçün"

Is actually:
"Sən əzizsən, mən ucuz"

Which translates to something like: "You are beloved, but I am without value".
(Using beloved from your translation)