Wednesday, February 10, 2010

French to English: The Press, Part 2

Deadlines, deadlines!  Ah, that's the life of a freelancer, but despite it all, I don't think I'd want to go back to corporate life.

That's my way of saying that I'm late for this post, I'm not blogging as regularly as I want to.  I make the effort because this blog has been running for close to nine months and for that amount of time, it would be self-defeating to throw in the towel (which I was tempted to do on occasion).

In my last blog, I translated a passage from Lysiane Gagnon's column in La Presse.  This time, I'll take an extract from Joseph Facal's column in Journal de Montréal, and translate it.  Then I'll give you the next set of terms used by the newspaper industry.

Joseph Facal says:


Pauline Marois vient de reconnaître que les demandes syndicales étaient «un peu élevées».

C'est le moins qu'on puisse dire. Dans le contexte actuel, ces demandes sont presque choquantes pour les non-syndiqués, ce qui ne veut pas dire que les syndiqués du secteur public sont les enfants gâtés qu'on dénonce trop facilement. Mais il s'agit évidemment d'une position de négociation.


English translation:

Pauline Marois just acknowledged that the demands of the union were "a little high."  It's the least that can be said. In the present context, these demands are almost offensive to non-unionized workers.  It does not mean, however, that unionized workers in the public sector  are spoiled children who we denounce too quickly, but their demands clearly put them in a negotiating position.

In the first line, the word reconnaître means "recognize" in English.  But if you use "recognize" in the translation, it would seem a little awkward.  For example, you can't recognize that union demands were a little high; you can, however, say "acknowledge" which blends better with the rest of the sentence.  You can also translate it "became aware".

The phrase vient de means "just" as in elle vient de manger (she just ate, she had just eaten); ils viennent de constater (they just noticed).

The French expression, c'est le moins qu'on puisse dire.  You might ask, why "puisse" and not "peut".  The answer is that it takes the subjunctive form of the verb (a tense that presents some difficulties to new learners).  The subjunctive form of the verb (subjonctif) is used when the expressions convey doubt, emotion, desire, necessity, insistence, indefinite antecedents, superlatives and others.  An easy to understand explanation is given by Stephen Ohlhaut here:

Let's deal with those newspaper terms:



légende inserée dans une illustration cutline
date et lieu d'origine dateline
échéance deadline
publicité par grande annonce display advertising
rédacteur (éditeur is also used) editor
bouche-trou filler
lézarde gutter
style de la pyramide inversée inverted pyramid
mise en page layout
lead lead
cartouche de titre masthead
papier à journal newsprint
maculage offset
salle de presse press room

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