Great Big Sea

Ordinary Day, en français!

Last night on the way home from work, thanks to current medical developments, I turned like I always do in such times to my comfort music. And if you’ve hung around me for more than five minutes, you know exactly what that is: Great Big Sea. And in particular, “Ordinary Day”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this song is pretty much the anthem of my life. And this past week in particular, I’ve been feeling the second verse real strongly, since I keep feeling like my system REALLY wants to push me around in a medical sense. I’ll take the liberty of hoping that trying to maintain a positive outlook has helped me make it not get away with that shit; certainly there’s a strong case to be made for that being an excellent coping technique with stress. (I’m serious on that! Dara pointed me at this TED talk over here on that very topic!)

And it’s certainly helped that my belovedest of B’ys have been here through the last 13 years to give me such musical comfort as they do. Especially when they’re the ones who made me pick up a guitar and learn how to play it in the first place.

Now though I’ve got mes gars du Québec, who are pretty much doing the same thing, only this time with a whole extra bonus language to stuff into my head.

Y’all know where this is going, right? Yep. I just translated “Ordinary Day” into French.

Which has apparently been done before, according to my Facebook and Twitter friend (not to mention fellow raving Great Big Sea fangirl) Krista, who gave me a scan of a GBS newsletter from way back in October of 1997, three years before I discovered the band. Krista showed me that after I posted my take on the first verse and chorus last night, and I was rather pleased to discover that a) I could understand just about everything that translation was saying, and b) I still stood by the translation choices I made in my own attempt.

I’ve finished that attempt up as of this post. Those of you who have any French at all will probably figure out fast that this is not an exact translation of Alan’s lyrics. I did direct translations when I could, but when I had to choose between “exact translation” and “close approximation that actually scanned better to the melody”, I went with the latter option. Particularly in the third verse, where I ran into trouble with the concepts of “double-edged knife” and “your ship will come in”–in those cases in particular, I jumped over to concepts that more or less got the same idea across but which let me use simpler phrasing that’d scan better to the melody.

‘Cause, of course, the overall point here is that I eventually want to be able to sing this. 😉

Anyway, here it is, my take on “Ordinary Day” in French!

J’ai un sourire sur ma face, et quatre murs autour de moi
J’ai le soleil dans le ciel, toute l’eau m’entoure, oh oh oh
Ouias, je gagne, et parfois je perds
J’ai été battue, mais jamais meurtri
Ça va pas si mal

Et je dit, yé hé hé, c’est juste un jour ordinaire, et c’est tout ton état d’esprit
À la fin de la journée, tu dois juste à dire, ça va bien!

Janie chante sur le coin, qu’est-ce qui l’empêche de mourir?
Laisse-les dire ce qu’ils veulent, elle va essayer encore, oh oh oh
Elle pourrait trébucher s’ils la pousser
Elle pourrait tomber mais jamais céder
Ça va pas si mal

Dans cette belle vie, il y a des douleurs
C’est un couteau dans le cœur, mais il y a demain toujours, oh oh oh
C’est ton choix si tu passe ou casse
Fais confiance le matin va venir
Ça va pas si mal

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