I wrote about Wir sind Helden ages ago and the page has become one of the consistently popular ones on the site, particularly since I added an English translation for the lyrics of
Müssen nur wollen. There’ve been quite a few requests for translations of other songs, so I’ll put Denkmal, probably their most popular song in 2004, up now, in German first:
Wir haben eine SMS Kurznachricht für Sie.
Die Nachricht lautet:
Mission 1 erfüllt! Plakate 8, Verhaftungen 0.
Mission 2 folgt. Hol den Vorschlaghammer.
Komm mal ans Fenster komm her zu mir.
Siehst du da drüben gleich da hinterm Wellblechzaun,
Da drüben auf dem Platz vor Aldi haben sie
unser Abbild in Stein gehaun.
Komm auf die Straße komm her zu mir.
Überall Blumen und Girlanden halb zerknüllt.
Sieht so aus als hätten die unser Denkmal heute Nacht
schon ohne uns enthüllt.
Hol den Vorschlaghammer!
Sie haben uns ein Denkmal gebaut
und jeder Vollidiot weiß,
dass das die Liebe versaut.
Ich werd die schlechtesten Sprayer
dieser Stadt engagieren.
Die sollen Nachts noch die Trümmer
mit Parolen beschmieren.
Komm auf die Beine komm her zu mir.
Es wird bald hell und wir haben nicht ewig Zeit.
Wenn uns jetzt hier wer erwischt sind wir für immer vereint
in Beton und Seligkeit.
Hol den Vorschlaghammer…
Siehst du die Inschrift da unten bei den Schuhen?
Da steht in goldener Schrift wir sollen in Ewigkeit ruhen.
Hol den Vorschlaghammer…
Wir sind Helden, Denkmal
My translation of the lyrics follows. Please note that I don’t claim this to be a perfect and lyrical translation. But it’ll give you an idea of what they’re singing about. The first verse is the bit in a computer voice that’s spoken right at the beginning of the song.
We received a text message for you.
The message reads:
Mission 1 completed! Posters (Bills) 8, Arrests 0.
Mission 2 will follow. Fetch/Get the sledgehammer.
Come over to the window. Come over to me.
Can you see that over there, right behind the corrugated iron fence,
over there on the square in front of Aldi,
they sculpted our image into stone.
Come onto the road. Come over to me.
Flowers and garlands everywhere, half-crumpled.
Looks like they unveiled our monument this night
Get the sledgehammer!
They built us a monument
and every (complete) idiot knows,
that it wrecks the love.
I’ll hire the worst
(graffiti) sprayers in town.
They shall, right at night,
smudge the rubble with slogans.
Get up (onto your legs) come over to me.
It will be light soon and we don’t have a lot of (eternal) time.
If they catch us here now we’ll be united forever
in concrete and beatitude.
Get the sledgehammer…
Can you see the inscription down there next to the shoes?
It says in golden letters we should rest in eternity.
Get the sledgehammer…
For other Wir sind Helden related entries, including more lyrics and translations thereof, have a look at the Wir sind Helden overview page.
Thank you so much for this translation. I’m a language assistant in a secondary school in Kanturk, South Ireland at the moment, as part of my english-studies to become a teacher one day back in Germany. And I just tried to discuss ,Denkmal’ with one of my classes last week, unfortunately the only one that has had no german lessons yet. I just wanted to show them what young german music can sound like. I could’ve translated it by myself, but I didn’t find the time to do it, so your translation will be of good help for me. Thanks a million, cheers, and greetz from the island. Mathias
THANK YOU A LOT!!!!
I love Wir sind Helden, thanks for the attention in sent the translation for me =^_^=
I’m a German teenager, and I’m in California right now, as an exchange student. I made a compilation CD for a good friend of mine, with a lot of German music on it also (i.e. Die Aerzte). I also have Denkmal on the CD and I was looking for the translation, so she knows what it’s about. Thank’s a lot!
Hi, you’ve got a mistake in those lyrics. The computer spoken part doesn’t say “Behauptungen” but “Verhaftungen”.
Thanks Marc. I corrected that.
Very cool, thank you! I speak German but wanted an English version for a message board. :)
Ahah! For a good year I’ve been trying my horrible German at figuring out what she was singing about. The translation engines didn’t quite do it- many, many thanks for making it all so clear.
Thanks for posting your translation on the web. It would be nice to see if the Helden would try to reach the Enlgish-speaking world. Unfortunately, Judith’s lyrics are fond of word-play that doesn’t translate well.
I’ve tried myself to create a translation that’s less literal to the German but captures the lyric structure and the feel of the original better. Hopefully can get it posted sometime.
JBC, from my experience the main obstacle for Wir sind Helden reach the English speaking world is that most of that world refuses to listen to music in other languages. There’s very little the band can do about that.
You’re right about the difficulty of translation and the different approaches that can be taken towards it. With their rather complex lyrics, there would be tons of comments needed to pinpoint the specialties and colloquial expressions. If you put up your translation elsewhere, be sure to post a link here, so people can get a different view and thus a better picture.
Yes, it is very hard to find German music in English translation. I tired to find Wir Sind Wir, and well, that didn’t work. Well, Keep on keeepin’ on. Oh yeah, I love the song ^^.-Adelaide VanEck
thanks for this translation.
i’m looking now for “nur ein wort” translation , but i can’t find it , if u can do this favor for us ..hehe
I came across Wir sind Helden from another blog. I listened to their music and immediately enjoyed it, despite being unable to understand a thing. Thanks for the solution.
Hey man, thanks a ton for the translation. I’ve been studying German for 4 years, and I went to Germany this past summer, and plan to return for a year to study following this school year. A great way to pick up more German is to listen to the music and translate lyrics, so your translation has really helped. Vielen, vielen, dank dafuer.
if you’re looking for more translations, be sure to check out the Wir sind Helden in English page.
Hallo Freunde ich finde es Interessant das Englisch sprechende Leute deutsche Musik hoeren. Was ausser Wir sind Helden hoert ihr sonst noch? kennt ihr Schweizer Inerpreten?
translated by google
Hello friends I finds it to interesting the English speaking people German music hears. What except “Wir sind Helden” hear it otherwise still (german sound…)? Knows their Swiss interpreters?
Good effort! I would like to point out a mistake though: don’t translate “hell” to “alight”, but “light”. This changes the meaning rather a lot! they are referring to morning. If you ever want more translations, I’ be interested to help. I translated the lyrics to “Die Dusche” for a friend recently. Excellent!
Yeah. Sorry about that. No idea where the extra a comes from. I’ve removed it now.
Thanks for the english trans.. helps alot lol lol Their music is great… Denkmal and Die Nacht are my favourites!! They should come to South Africa for a tour..would be great! Thanks for the great site
I was just wonder if anyone nkows the meaning of this song or any background info?
Hey, thanks sooooooooooo much for putting this up. It’s basically the best thing that can happen to me. Lemme explain. For my German class, we had to explain what this song meant and had no clue… But tada! You have it. Thanks for taking the time to do that.
Hey, just had to say, this is awesome! thank you so much for taking pity on us ignorant English people. My fabulous German friend introduced me to Denkmal around three years ago and I’ve always wondered what the lyrics mean (and how they read, as my sing-along version is very, very different!). Anyway, thanks x
Hi, I just reviewed the movie “Fight Club” again, as it eventually came on TV this night. The endig scene while the finance towers are collapsing after the blow is accompanied by a song I thought I know as “Denkmal” from Wir-sind-Helden but it all sounded very english. SO I was just wondering whether there is a second compilation, or whether maybe Wir-sind-Helden even copied it from a english band?
The song played at Fight Club’s end is The Pixies’ ‘Where is my mind?’ The chords of both songs are quite similar (see: FAQ, Wikipedia), but I never thought the similarity was so strong to indicate actual copying.
Hey thanks for this translation, just as a tip you might want to translate
Komm auf die Beine komm her zu mir. Es wird bald hell und wir haben nicht ewig Zeit.
Get on your feet come over to me. It will be light soon and we don’t have forever.
This sounds better in English than what’s here :)
What is the point of this song?