Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Word Of The Week

timoré (e)

I suppose this week's word is obvious, since we have nearly the same word in English. Timorous, fearful or timid.

Remember last week when I mentioned that the tv guide review of Starship Troopers 2 mentioned "lame thrills ?" Actually, the expression in French was "... le frisson reste timoré..."

A frisson is a shudder or a shiver. I translated that as "thrills" in the context of the movie description. And "the thrills are a bit timid" conveys the idea, but doesn't really mean much in English. So I went with "lame thrills." In other words, this movie was a lot less thrilling than it could have been.

It's very hard for me to imagine being a professional translator. It takes me more time that you might imagine to research these relatively simple words for the blog. You can see how someone can spend a ton of time trying to figure out what an author meant, and just as much time trying to put that meaning into a second language so that it makes sense in that language. Then try doing it for a magazine full of articles, and under a deadline. Ken and our friend C.-H. did just that together for many years; they translated magazine articles from English to French for the French version of the publication. The stories I've heard...

Image from, Ernest von Rosen.


  1. I can't imagine translating a large chunk of text into French. But of course, I never had any formal French language training in school. Silly me... it never crossed my mind I might need French.

    The bright side... I have no need of those Japanese games to keep my old brain in training. I'm more afraid it will completely burn out!

  2. I agree with papadesdeux- puzzling out French is more fun than Sudoku.

    That's why I particularly enjoy your Wednesday blogs, Walt. BTW "frisson" is one of my favorite french words.

  3. I agree with you both ! I see stories about how, as you get older, you need to work on puzzles and things to keep your brain going... well, I think French is enough of a puzzle for me, thank you. Now, what was I doing ?

  4. I hate doing translation. I can find the idea, but it usually takes me a whole sentence to translate one or two words, because I never think that I found the right way of expressing it.
    Actually, le frisson reste timoré, if a good find, is not a common expression at all. But quite an interesting one.


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