Monday, May 17, 2010

French to English: Countries, Part 1

When I was studying translation, one theory that I had down pat was NOT to translate proper nouns.  French names of associations and groups shouldn't be translated unless there was an official English equivalent. 

I never really got around to asking my professors why the French write the names of countries differently.  For example, why would the United States become les États-Unis?  What was even more intriguing was some countries were masculine and others were feminine.  An academic question gone unanswered!  I'll have to dig into my old textbooks and find the explanation.

I'd like to give you the names of some countries in French and English, but I will choose only those countries that are not so obvious owing to the different way they're spelled.
Here's the first 12:  (plus 1 bonus)

l'Andorre (feminine)Andora
la Barbade (fem)Barbados
la BiélorussieBelarus
la BirmanieBurma
le Cap-VertCape Verde Islands
le TchadChad
les ComoresComoro Islands
le DanemarkDenmark
l'Équateur (fem)Ecuador
les FidjiFiji Islands
la Polynésie françaiseFrench Polynesia
l'Allemagne (fem)Germany

I've been delinquent in posting.  I have a good reason though.  I was buried in client work and in the last 30 days, I lived around pressing deadlines.  That's a good sign, don't you think?  Some of us thrive in our work.  I like the adrenaline rush when I'm racing against time.  The only downside is that I don't get to blog as consistently as I want to.

Adrenalin rush in French - une poussée d'adrénaline or une montée d'adrénaline.
downside - l'inconvénient (as in disadvantage)

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