French to English Translation

When dealing with matters of language translations, there are many subtle nuances and cultural connotations which must be taken into account by the translator.  For instance, there are certain words which do not a literal translation and are subject to interpretation by the translator who must choose a word which most closely conveys the thought or idea put forth. This difficulty in translation stems from the fact that language is shaped by, and used in the context of culture, and therefore may convey ideas specific to a culture and its people.  For instance, there is no french to english translation for the word “chez”, which implies someone’s home or establishment, more so in the possessive sense than referring to the physical structure.  Used in French cultural context, “Chez Renee” would more imply Renee as hostess rather than acting as a reference to her physical space. This is just one example of a variable which makes French to English translations a challenging undertaking.

With the prevalence of French intellectuals, french to English translations are very common in both literary theory and philosophy as well as other spheres of academia, such as literature and poetry. These types of translations often pose their own unique set of challenges and considerations.  For example, a french to English translation may be especially difficult in the case of poetry, as literal meanings must be preserved, as well as choosing a word which will fit in with the overall rhythmic sound quality of the poem.

The words used in poems are very deliberate and are often chosen for their subtle connotations which convey a very specific emotion as well as for their literal sound.  Additionally, the syllabic rhythm of the words chosen while completing a french to English translation must be considered to maintain the original style and overall readability of the poem. Combine this concern with the fact that literal translations do not always exist, and the act of french to English translation becomes more a process of writing which requires an extensive knowledge of both languages as well as a rich understanding of the original author’s intent.