And the Texaco beacon burns on

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CuervoGold

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
Hi again!

Still translating Tom Waits' "The Ghosts of Saturday Night". I find these lines especially hard to translate:

"And the Texaco beacon burns on
The steel-belted attendant with a ring and valve special crying"

I suppose that "Texaco" is a gas station, but what about that "beacon" which burns on?

¿Un faro que arde? ¿Una señal que ilumina? Is he trying to be poetical?
 
  • Raposu

    Senior Member
    English USA
    Some Texaco filling stations have illuminated signs with the Texaco logo. The old ones had a "T" in a red star in a circle and the word "Texaco.
     

    Amapolas

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    Some Texaco filling stations have illuminated signs with the Texaco logo. The old ones had a "T" in a red star in a circle and the word "Texaco.
    Es decir que la lámpara de Texaco sigue encendida (en la estación de servicio). Esto es en prosa, para que quede lindo en la letra de la canción, ya verás tú cómo te la compones. ;)
     

    CuervoGold

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you both! Anyway, is he trying to sound poetic, isn't he?

    I want to confirm that point in order to translate it the best I can but also maintain the poetry. I mean, you don't usually called the Texaco light signal a "beacon", right?
     

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I mean, you don't usually called the Texaco light signal a "beacon", right?
    No. But it does make a certain amount of sense. One could say that the Texaco sign is at the side of the road, "illuminating" the path, kind of like a beacon. Also, as raposu said, the old ones were in the shape of a star, so there's also the whole idea of stars showing the way (to sailors, to Wise Men, etc.). In fact, I might be tempted to say "estrella" if it fits well and you're not too concerned about being very literal.

    It's a very culture-specific thing. I think the vast majority of Americans would know what a Texaco sign looks like. Certainly those of Tom Waits's generation.

    It's not a bad line. The guy knows how to write.
     
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