My Way

Margaret Marks mentions a comparison of the translations of the song 99 Luftballoons on this site (via inthe80s and PapaScott).

I thought I’d do a similar thing with Frank Sinatra’s "My Way." I bet most people will be surprised to hear that it is a cover of "Comme d’habitude", a French song written in 1968 by Claude François (in collaboration with Jacques Revaux and Gilles Thibault). Claude François was the big French heartthrob at the time, was very fond of sparkly outfits and died in 1978 age 39 when he tried to fix a faulty light-bulb while in his bath (in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t a suicide). He wrote "Comme d’habitude" as he was splitting up with France Gall (a famous French singer) and the song conveys his melancholy and disillusion with life and love.

I found these translations on lexilogos (apart from the English literal translation of the original version, which I wrote). The US version is hardly a translation, it’s a new song on the same tune. It suited Frank Sinatra perfectly at the time he sang it, towards the end of his career, and encapsulates the American values of working hard and relying on yourself. I find it very interesting that the Spanish version is a lot closer to the US version than to the original version. My German is too much of a distant memory to understand it, but it looks like it’s also a translation of the US version.

 

Comme d’habitude

My way

My way

A mi manera

My litteral translation into English of the original version

French Original version

English

German

Spanish

I get up
And I bump into you
You don’t wake up
As usual

On you
I pull up the sheet
I’m scared you might get cold
As usual

My hand
Strokes your hair
Almost in spite of myself
As usual

But you
You turn your back on me
As usual

So
I quickly get dressed
I get out of the bedroom
As usual

All alone
I drink my coffee
I’m late
As usual

Quietly
I leave the house
Everything is grey outside
As usual

I’m cold
I pull up my collar
As usual

Je me lève
Et je te bouscule
Tu n’te réveilles pas
Comme d’habitude

Sur toi
Je remonte le drap
J’ai peur que tu aies froid
Comme d’habitude

Ma main
Caresse tes cheveux
Presque malgré moi
Comme d’habitude

Mais toi
Tu me tournes le dos
Comme d’habitude

Alors
Je m’habille très vite
Je sors de la chambre
Comme d’habitude

Tout seul
Je bois mon café
Je suis en retard
Comme d’habitude

Sans bruit
Je quitte la maison
Tout est gris dehors
Comme d’habitude

J’ai froid
Je relève mon col
Comme d’habitude

And now
The end is near
And so I face
The final curtain

My friend
I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case
Of which I’m certain

I’ve lived
A life that’s full
I’ve travelled each
And every highway

And more
Much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets
I’ve had a few
But then again
Too few to mention

I did
What I had to do
And saw it through
Without exemption

I planned
Each chartered course
Each careful step
Along the byway

And more
Much more than this
I dit it my way

Was ich
im Leben tat
das war bestimmt
nicht immer richtig

Ich nahm
was ich bekam
und nahm manches
nicht so wichtig

Wenn ich
auch ganz gewiss
mich nicht von Schuld
und Schwächen frei seh’

Verzeih’n
Sie wenn ich sag
I Did It My Way

Ich kenn’
das Auf und Ab
den Jubel und
die bittren Tränen

Ich stand
auch oft am Rand
das brauch’ ich wohl
nicht zu erwähnen

Es ist
für mich ein Trost
daß ich trotz allem
nicht entzwei geh

Verzeih’n
Sie wenn ich sag
I Did It My Way

El fin
Muy cerca esta
Lo afrontaré
Serenamente

Ya ves
Yo he sido asi
Te lo diré
Sinceramente

Vivi
La intensidad
Y no encontré
Jamas fronteras

Jugué
Sin descanzar
Y a mi manera

Jamas
Vivi un amor
Que para mi
Fuera importante

Tomé
solo la flor
Y lo mejor
De cada instante

Viajé
Y disfruté
No se si mas
Que otro cualquiera

Si bien
Todo ello fué
A mi manera

REFRAIN/CHORUS

As usual
All day
I’ll be playing
At pretending
As usual
I will smile
As usual
I will even laugh
As usual
I will live
As usual

Comme d’habitude
Toute la journée
Je vais jouer
A faire semblant
Comme d’habitude
Je vais sourire
Comme d’habitude
Je vais même rire
Comme d’habitude
Enfin je vais vivre
Comme d’habitude

Yes, there were times
I’m sure you knew
When I bit off
More than I could chew
But through it all
When there was doubt
I ate it up
And spit it out
I faced it all
And I stood tall
And did it my way

Und dennoch denk’
ich gern zurück
Ich hatte Glück
verdammt viel Glück
Ich kann zu vielen
Freunden geh’n
die sich sehr freu’n
wenn sie mich seh’n
Und ohne Greul
den Satz versteh’n
I Did It My Way

Tal vez lloré
Tal vez rei
Tal vez gané
Tal vez perdi
Ahora sé
Que fui feliz
Que si lloré
Tambien amé
Y todo fué
Puedo decir
A mi manera

Then
The day will go
I will come back
As usual

You
You’ll be out
Not back yet
As usual

All alone
I’ll go and lie down
In this big cold bed
As usual

My tears
I will hide them
As usual

Et puis
Le jour s’en ira
Moi je reviendrai
Comme d’habitude

Tu seras sortie
Pas encore rentrée
Comme d’habitude

Tout seul
J’irai me coucher
Dans ce grand lit froid
Comme d’habitude

Mes larmes
Je les cacherai
Comme d’habitude

I’ve loved
I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill
My share of losing

And now
As tears subside
I find it all
So amusing

To think
I did all that
And may I say
Not in a shy way

Oh no
Oh no, not me
I did it my way

Ich hab’
ein Publikum
und darauf kann
ich mich verlassen

Es nahm
und nimmt nichts krumm
Ich kann es manchmal
kaum noch fassen

Ich hab
auch eine Frau
an der ich jetzt
beschämt vorbei seh’

Zu oft
hat sie gehört
I Did It My Way

Quizas
tambien dudé
Cuando mejor
me divertia

Quizas
yo desprecié
Aquello que
no comprendia

Hoy se
que firme fui
Y que afronte
ser como era

Y asi
podre seguir
A mi manera

REFRAIN

But as usual
Even at night
I will play
At pretending
As usual
You’ll come back
As usual
I will wait for you
As usual
You will smile at me
As usual

As usual
You will get undressed
Yes as usual
You will get into bed
Yes as usual
We will kiss
As usual
As usual
We will pretend
As usual
We will make love
Yes as usual
We will pretend
As usual

Mais comme d’habitude
Même la nuit
Je vais jouer
A faire semblant
Comme d’habitude
Tu rentreras
Comme d’habitude
Je t’attendrai
Comme d’habitude
Tu me souriras
Comme d’habitude

Comme d’habitude
Tu te déshabilleras
Oui comme d’habitude
Tu te coucheras
Oui comme d’habitude
On s’embrassera
Comme d’habitude
Comme d’habitude
On fera semblant
Comme d’habitude
On fera l’amour
Oui comme d’habitude
On fera semblant
Comme d’habitude

For what is a man
What has he got
If not himself
Then he has not
To say the things
He’d truly feels
And not the words
Of one who kneels
The record shows
I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes it was my way

Und dennoch denk’
ich gern zurück
Ich hatte Glück
verdammt viel Glück
Ich kann zu vielen
Freunden geh’n
die sich sehr freu’n
wenn sie mich seh’n
und ohne Greul
den Satz versteh’n
I Did It My Way

Porque ya sabras
Que a un hombre al fin
Conoceras
por su vivir
No hay porque
hablar ne que decir
Ni recordar
ni hay que finir
Puedo llegar
hasta el final
A mi manera

By | 2016-10-18T15:51:50+00:00 July 16th, 2004|Culture|4 Comments

About the Author:

Celine
I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.

4 Comments

  1. Johanka July 16, 2004 at 12:08 pm

    I love A Mi Manera as done by The Gipsy Kings. Had no idea of its French origin though. 🙂

  2. Lovely Lis July 16, 2004 at 4:13 pm

    Ah, but can you sing it karaoke style? Celine, now you have no excuse – I’ll spread the word. x

  3. microphone-phobic céline July 16, 2004 at 4:29 pm

    Lis, we all know what happens when someone tries to take the microphone from you and we don’t want ugly scenes anymore do we?

  4. Andréas July 20, 2004 at 3:43 pm

    I only found out that the tune was by Claude Francois when the film ‘Le Podium’ came out in France (about his life – a very good film , oneof the biggest hits this year).
    In my mind, the tune WAS Sinatra, so this new information would not register. I was compelled to check the credits on my CD and then i was convinced!

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