Wednesday, January 26, 2011

French words that give special insight

Today at work I was working on French translations for two surveys. Huge parts of them have been professionally translated before (I only translate simple things like "Are you a banana?" = "Es-tu une banane?") but they are mixed up in a whole bunch of different files. One of these days when work slows down a bit, I plan to execute my organisation skills and make a master file of questions in English and French. It will be beautiful... provided I print it off and bedazzle the hardcopy and cover it with ribbons and glitter. Otherwise, it was not be beautiful, but "useful". Which is good, as most workplaces other than modelling agencies prefer useful to beautiful. Myself, I aim to be strong in both adjectives. Usefully beautiful, or beautifully useful, depending on the day.

Your French vocabulary of the day, brought to by myself (applause!) and our translator (applause! but slightly less applause than for me).

Also, I have my keyboard set to English Canada bilingual happily ever after mode, and I CANNOT find the open arrow head things that one uses for html ANYWHERE. How is it that the following symbols take priority over them? £ ¢ ¤ ¬ ¼³²¦ }<>... oh look, I just found them. Complaining works every time...
  • "Je voyage trop pour des raisons d'affaires." - I travel too much for business purposes. Note that BUSINESS (affaires) looks suspiciously similar to AFFAIR, a popular past-time of the Global French community.

  • "Le bouche-à-oreille" - word of mouth, or more literal, from the mouth to the ear. This is good because it reminds us part of communication involves being a good listener.

  • "Vivant en union libre" - living common-law.. or, living in a "free" (as in non-restricted, NOT relating to cost, although that would make me wink too) union. How liberating and non-legally binding!

  • "Célibataire" - single. Seems to be a take on celibacy. Moral preaching?

  • "Moteur de recherche" - search engine. The word is so common now (probably more so than 'telephone book' for younger generations) that one tends to forget that it is actually two separate words combined to make a new, special word. English places the emphasis on 'search', French seems to place the emphasis on 'moteur' (engine). As I'm currently car shopping (an ongoing area of confusion for my confusion-free life), 'moteur' reminds me that I should be reading more about cars and figuring that stuff out. I told my brother that by the time I decide on a car all roads/autos will have been replaced with high-speed light rail anyway.

C'est tout.

1 comment:

al said...

Your post reminded me of this post:

Key bit: languages differ not in what you can say but in what you must say. That is, people speaking French can use pronouns that don't reveal the gender of the person doing an action if you want to hide it, because the gender applies to the object and not the subject.