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I've seen several translations of the following song lyrics from Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" online, and none of them look quite right.

I'm on the edge, the edge, 
the edge, the edge, 
the edge, the edge, 
the edge,
I'm on the edge of glory, 
and I'm hanging on a moment with you 
I'm on the edge with you. 

Here's an example

果てに私が果てに
果てに、果てに
果てに、果てに
果てに
栄光の果てに私がいるの
あなたといる瞬間にしがみついてる
果てにあなたと私が一緒にいるの

After thinking about it, I realized that different Japanese words for words for "edge" have implications that don't exist in English.

I think that 果て with regards to "glory", implies that glory has already been achieved. The above translation would be wrong then, since "edge of glory" means the same thing as "about to achieve glory."

Are my observations correct? What is the correct Japanese word for "edge" in this case?

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I am curious to hear what the community thinks, but I personally don't think this question belongs here. It is too open-ended and needs some heavy rewording to be made into a proper JLU-style question. More generally, you have been posting a lot of rather vague or ill-scoped questions, and perhaps not giving them the follow-up they deserved. Your current (extremely low) accept rate is symptomatic of either badly worded questions or a lack of follow-up. Please address this problem before posting new questions... –  Dave Jul 5 '11 at 1:13
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your acceptance rate went from 50% to 100% after I asked you to address it. I am glad you did, but please do not distort the facts. Not all Japanese-related questions belong on JLU. What can and cannot be posted is subject to many discussions on Meta, that I invite you to follow if you want more details. This is for everyone's benefit. –  Dave Jul 5 '11 at 2:25
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I personally ok with this kind of question. –  YOU Jul 5 '11 at 2:27
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And personally I'm glad to have more "language hackers" on JLU ... don't give up so easily! –  crunchyt Jul 6 '11 at 0:40
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I don't even know what those lyrics mean in English. –  rintaun Jul 6 '11 at 11:05
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

After investigating this, it appears that the "glory" referenced by Lady Gaga in this song is referring to "death," and was written shortly after her uncle's death.

Taking this information into consideration, I agree that 果て -- which seems to have an implication of the far edge, rather than the nearest -- isn't the right word for it. In reality, a 1:1 translation (especially of poetry and lyrics) isn't often possible, which appears to be true in this case as well.

For this reason song translations (for the purpose of being sung) often resort to changing the meaning of the song -- or at least its form. In this case, 果て may be acceptable; while it doesn't match the original meaning as well, it may match the music better than alternatives.

Translations which aim to preserve the meaning of the song are very rarely "singable". In this case, a better translation would be もう少しで as suggested by @repecmps, or simply 近い.

To summarize the answer to your questions: yes, your observations appear to be correct: 果て does not match the meaning of "edge" in this case. However, what word does match it is very subjective and can vary greatly depending on what type of translation you are performing. The closest 1:1 translations of this "edge" are probably 詰め【づめ】 or 境【さかい】 -- but I would probably go for a different metaphor, personally.

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What is "the edge of glory" ?

The edge seems like a cliff since she's saying later "I'm hanging". So she's hanging between "glory" and "a person". She's keeping a theme here. Edge, hanging, a moment, falling.

Now in a translation you need to think whether you want to keep images+meaning or only the meaning. (for songs you should probably go for the images)

So if you'd like to make a translation as close as possible you would use: 崖っぷち(に立っている) or 端 (はし)

In the other translation that you deleted I saw: もう少しで

It looks like a good translation of the meaning. (though losing the 'hanging, falling' kind of feeling)

The problem with "edge" is we don't know if she's going to fall from 'glory' (in which case 果て is good) or fall into 'glory'.

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"Edge of glory" is an idiom that means that one is about to achieve glory, similar to the idiom, "edge of danger." It does not mean that one has already achieved it and is at risk of losing it. –  language hacker Jul 6 '11 at 20:31
    
oh, it's an idiom? I thought it was an image created for the song. my bad –  repecmps Jul 7 '11 at 0:46
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One way of translating is to employ several expressions to convey the meaning of "edge", when you can't find a word-for-word solution. Here's my attempt at it:

もう すぐそこまできてる It's almost there,
あと一歩、あと一歩、    only a step away,
あと一歩、あと一歩、    a step, a step,
あと一歩、            a step,
もう 光輝きはじめてる   I'm already seeing the shining light
君といる この一瞬にすがりながら I'm with you, hanging on to this moment
君といる この境目に。  I'm with you, at the edge.
  • 一歩 (いっぽ) "a step" - sometimes used to express the smallest action or difference in state towards something, as in "step by step".
  • 境目 (さかいめ) "borderline" - can be physical or abstract, as in "国の境目が生死の境目であってはならない" (National borders shall not be the line between life and death).

(I confess I didn't even try to make it singable =)

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