Ros Sereysothea was the most famous female singer in Cambodia in the 1960s and early 1970s. Known as the “Golden Voice of the Royal Capital,” she recorded an enormous number of songs and was at the forefront of a vibrant music scene.

Her life was then tragically cut short, like the lives of so many others, during the Khmer Rouge period.

Ros Sereysothea

Today I tried to translate the lyrics to one of her songs, “Today I Drank Wine.” It’s my first attempt at translating a Khmer song. I’m not sure if I have it right, but I think I’m close. However, any suggestions for improvement would certainly be appreciated.

I’m linking to three YouTube videos. The first contains the original recording. The second is a karaoke version that has the lyrics. And the third is a recent cover of the song by Dengue Fever.

tgnay nih / khnom jeh nham sra

Today / I learned to drink wine


daoie saa neak naa / daoie saa snaeha

Because of someone / because of a love


snaeha aoie khnom chyy jet

A love that broke my heart


jet khnom khung / min sraveng soh sra

My heart aches / and its not drunk on the wine at all


sra min baan gaa / sraveng snaeha

The wine has no effect / I’m drunk on a love


snaeha kyy jia tnam pul

A love that is a poison.

tgnay ni khnom pleik

Today I am forgetting


pleik rieng haoie gday snae

Forgetting the matter of love


jet bong kyy jia nirieh viec ve

Of your heart that has deceived me


angvaa som snae

Having begged for love


baan haoie doh day

You walked away after you got it


roic bomphleit chyyng

So forget it.

min aoie khung

I’m not going to let myself feel hurt


ba-uh koh mleng dau haoie

If I’ve made a mistake like this


sanae roic pra ngey

Having loved, I’m now carefree


bongjet braan haoie

My heart’s been broken


look aey / mien neak naa saang

But my dear / someone will return [my love].