Cairaguas (cairaguas) wrote in songlations,
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"Gracias" by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, English translation of lyrics

"Thank You", 1972
Style: Mariachi
Country: Mexico

Listen:

José Alfredo Jiménez died 41 years ago on November 23, 1973.

My father is a huge fan of José Alfredo Jiménez. Once, when I was visiting home and helping him install a new music program, he started filling his playlist and found this song. He told me more about the legendary José Alfredo Jiménez, beloved and prolific singer-songwriter of Mexico. Jiménez died in 1973 of cirrhosis of the liver due to his drinking. He didn't die sad or regretful, though. He died full of gratitude for his fans. He composed this last song, "Gracias" (Thank You) to express his love for everyone, and to let people know that he thought his life was wonderful, and that he had made peace with his upcoming death.

He picked his own epigram, arranged his own funeral, and settled his affairs. Here is an interview with José Alfredo Jiménez at the hospital. Fourteen days before his death, he left the hospital and drove to have dinner with his son, then they played dominos all night.

To this day, he is still internationally famous for his character- and story-driven lyrics. When people think of mariachi, ranchera, and corrido songs, they think of José Alfredo Jiménez. Hear his last song at YouTube here.

[Expand embedded video]

Translation:

¿Cómo puedo pagar
Que me quieran a mi
Por todas mis canciones?


How can I repay
That you all love me
For all my songs?

Ya me puse a pensar
Y no alcanzo a cubrir
Tan lindas intenciones.


I already sat down to think
And I can't quite cover
So many beautiful intentions.

He ganado dinero
Para comprar un mundo
Más bonito que el nuestro.


I have earned money
To buy a world
More beautiful than ours.

Pero todo lo aviento
Porque quiero morirme
Como muere mi pueblo.


But I toss it all
Because I want to die
How my people die. [*pueblo (m. noun) = village]

Yo no quiero saber
Que se siente tener
Millones y millones.


I do not want to know
What it feels like to have
Millions and millions.

Si tuviera con que,
Compraría para mi
Otros dos corazones.


If I had the means,
I would buy for myself
Another two hearts.

Para hacerlos vibrar
Y llenar otra vez
Sus almas de ilusiones.


To make them vibrate
And fill once again
Your souls with dreams. [*illusiones (f. noun, pl.) = hopes and dreams; illusions]

Y poderles pagar
Que me quieran a mi
Y a todas mis canciones.


And be able to repay you
For loving me
And all my songs.

Para poderles pagar
Que me quieran a mi
Y a todas mis canciones.


To be able to repay you
For loving me
And all my songs.

[Spoken:]
De veras, muchas gracias
Por haberme aguantado tanto tiempo;
Desde 1947 hasta 1972.


Really, thank you so much
For having tolerated me for so much time;
From 1947 to 1972.

Y yo siento que todavía me quieren.
¿Saben por qué?
Porque yo he ganado más aplausos que dinero.


And I know that you still love me.
Do you know why?
Because I have won more applause than money.

El dinero... pues no sé ni por dónde lo tiré,
Pero sus aplausos... esos los traigo aquí adentro,
Y ya no me los quita nadie.
Esos se van conmigo hasta la muerte.


Money... well, I don't even know where I threw it,
But your applause... that I carry inside me here,
And no one can take it away from me now.
That goes with me to the grave.

[Singing:]
Para poderles pagar,
Que me quieran a mí,
Y a todas mis canciones.


To be able to repay you
For loving me
And all my songs.

Translation Notes:

Ya me puse a pensar y no alcanzo a cubrir tan lindas intenciones.

I already sat down to think and I can't quite cover so many beautiful intentions.

Here, cubrir (verb) means "cover" in the sense of: take account of, contain, embrace, incorporate, encompass, etc.

---

Si tuviera con que...

If I had the means...
If I had with what... [*lit.]

---

Esos se van conmigo hasta la muerte.

Those goes with me to the grave.
Those go with me all the way to death. [*lit.]

"Those" here refers to applauses. Since singular "applause" sounds better in English, the stanza is written using singular rather than plural in the main translation.
Tags: jose alfredo jimenez
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