Jan 26, 2020
81 Views

Learning French – Avoiding the English Translation Trap

Written by

One of many biggest sources of errors in French is word-for-word translation. For instance, you realize that the French verb finir means “to complete”. Then je suis fini should imply “I am completed” or “I am performed”, proper? Not likely. This frequent mistake really means “I am all washed up”. It could be rather more right to say j’ai fini or j’ai terminé. Listed here are a few frequent mistranslations that I’ve heard:

Je suis vingt ans.”I am 20 years previous.”

C’est le premier temps que je viens ici. “That is the primary time that I come right here.”

Il est froid dehors. “It’s chilly exterior.”

Listed here are the proper varieties:

J’ai vingt ans.

C’est la première fois que je viens ici.

Il fait froid dehors.

What has occurred right here is that the person has a) realized the French equal of 1 that means of an English phrase (I’m = je suis) and b) generalizes that one French translation wherever the English kind is used. Therefore, je suis vingt ans or je suis fini.

The identical factor occurs with le temps “time”. The “first time” turns into le premier temps. That is after all flawed. It needs to be la première fois. Equally, when talking in regards to the climate, one ought to use il fait as a substitute of il est.

This sort mistake will not be instantly obvious as a result of the grammar is commonly impeccable. The truth is, the error might not be within the kind however slightly within the that means. In French je suis froid is completely right. Nevertheless, it means “I am cold-hearted” whereas j’ai froid means “I am chilly”.

As you’ll be able to see, these types of errors are arduous to identify, however they’re nonetheless errors and generally embarrassing if not incomprehensible.

What’s the resolution? The essential thought is to learn to suppose inside out, that’s to say from French going to English as a substitute of the opposite manner.

To start with, bear in mind that phrases usually have a number of meanings. The verb “to do” in English has many completely totally different usages. One translation is faire. However faire doesn’t translate all of the usages of “to do”. As a matter of truth the verbs “to do” and “to make” are each translated by faire. That is the very cause why French-speakers have a tendency to combine up the 2 English verbs. A great bilingual dictionary is a vital instrument. It would present how the varied usages of the English phrase will be translated.

The second a part of the answer is to have a look at the French phrases “inside out”, that’s from the French perspective. This implies wanting up the French phrases both in a bilingual or an all-French dictionary. Pay explicit consideration to idioms with quite common verbs like être, avoir, faire, dire, parler, and so on. For instance the verb avoir may be very wealthy in varieties like avoir faim “to be hungry”, avoir soif “to be thirsty” and avoir peur “to be afraid”. Faire is wealthy with idioms like “faire envie” “to draw”, faire beau “to have good climate”, faire peur “to frighten”, faire dodo “to fall asleep” (for youngsters) or faire nuit ” to turn out to be darkish”.

These idiomatic expressions are the signal of a extremely good speaker of French. One technique to obtain that is to mimic and adapt complete phrases that illustrate these idiomatic usages. For instance, memorize il fait beau aujourd’hui “the climate is good at the moment” and make a degree of utilizing it a number of instances day by day till it involves your thoughts spontaneously. Then take the sample and modify it till you might be completely relaxed with all of the variations.

Article Tags:
· · · · · ·
Article Categories:
Learn French

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *