'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

< Previous | Next >

JeanDeSponde

Senior Member
France, Français
Hulalessar, I have answered the question many times, e.g. here.
I fail to see why this post #127 would be "answering questions that were not asked and employing diversionary tactics". Can you be more specific?
(And, JamesM, where did I say / inferred that you should be "honored" by this "distinction"...?)

You have decided that
"Traduit de l'américain" is no more than one of the more absurd manifestations of French nationalism.
"Nationalism": la messe est dite.
You can't be convinced, just like some of my fellow countrymen can't be convinced that Mc Donald's is *not* part of a US plot to destroy our world...
 
Last edited:
  • CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    As I understand it, the explanation is that l'américain is both a sociological distinction as well as a distinction in language, that l'américain is the exception to the rule in French and that we should be honored by this distinction because it recognizes both our culture and our language in one word.

    Have I got it right?
    No. The explanation is that, in accordance with the rule in French, américain refers to what people in Amérique speak. You know this as "American English". French also allows the expression anglais américain, which is more formal than américain but means exactly the same thing. The expression anglais américain is more explicit and its meaning is more transparent, and it is certainly preferable in many situations, but it does not follow that américain is incorrect. The fact that américain gets special treatment by French-language publishers when they indicate "Traduit de …" is:
    • not something that has actually been verified in this thread; in fact it is clear that other examples such as traduit du brésilien can be found, in lesser numbers
    • not surprising, given the status of English with respect to other languages of the world and that of the USA with respect to other languages of the world
    • not known to be motivated by some deliberate, industry-wide consensus, so we are all free to speculate about each publisher's secret reasons, from the most innocent/practical/unthinking to the most cynical/sycophantic/nationalistic/calculating (or we could actually ask them, as the author of the article I linked to in #36 did, but why would they tell us their real reasons, and why should I care, since it doesn't matter what their motivations/intentions are, I still have my feelings! :mad:)
    • not actually worth getting this worked up about (either positively or negatively)
    • not likely to change anytime soon, and certainly not in response to complaints from outside of the French-speaking/French-reading community.
     
    Last edited:

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I was actually hoping for a response from one of the French contributors to the thread. I think my summary does match what JeanDeSponde has been saying, for example.
     
    Last edited:

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I didn't say that I found nothing useful in it. I just don't find it to match the explanation being given by the French speakers on this thread.

    I think it has been established that something like "traduit du brésilien" is so rare as to have no reasonable comparison to this topic.

    As far as I know, other variants of English are not commonly called by their country's name: l'australien, le canadien, etc. even though these variants of English also differ from British English to some degree. That is what I meant by "exception".

    I'm not imparting any evil intentions here, despite your protests. I'm simply pointing out the exception that the French don't say "Il parle canadien", for example, but they do say "Il parle américain".

    Apparently these two things (the exception and the reason for the exception) are too entangled at this point to be able to talk about one without assuming we're talking about the other. It is an exception in the sense that all other speakers of English "parle anglais" but Americans "parle américain". This seems to be a point that cannot be acknowledged. It's a simple observable fact. The reason for it is a separate issue but it is an exception, a break in a pattern.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    OK, my two cents then.

    Yes, traduit de l'américain is not only about language.

    No, I did not say it was an exception to the rule [that is, vs. traduit de l'anglais (Etats-Unis) as with other languages], as we also say traduit du hollandais, du brésilien etc.
    You said (#59) that those other occurences are so few that they should not be considered; I still consider that the volume of American material is so large that it is not surprising traduit de l'américain has acquired a status of its own - simple snowball mechanics.

    And I didn't try to butter you up by pretending you "should be honored" - that would really be presumptuous;)...

    I fully agree with Capnprep when he says
    we are all free to speculate about each publisher's secret reasons, from the most innocent/practical/unthinking to the most cynical/sycophantic/nationalistic/calculating
    The point is, everybody can pretend that a given occurence is caused by nationalism, presumptuousness, plain ignorance or whatever, but that could hardly apply to all occurences by every translators / editors. You may find one nationalistic, ignorant professional translator (?); that would not make them all guilty.

    James, do you really think that a significant number of professional translator could believe that US authors do not speak English:confused:..? Honestly...?
    Then traduit de l'américain is either what I say, or a conspiracy...!
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    OK, my two cents then.

    Yes, traduit de l'américain is not only about language.

    No, I did not say it was an exception to the rule [that is, vs. traduit de l'anglais (Etats-Unis) as with other languages], as we also say traduit du hollandais, du brésilien etc.
    I'm sorry. Let me be more clear. It is an exception for English-speaking countries.

    You said (#59) that those other occurences are so few that they should not be considered; I still consider that the volume of American material is so large that it is not surprising traduit de l'américain has acquired a status of its own - simple snowball mechanics.
    OK... and we still have the question why American is different from all other countries. If it's also culture it seems odd to designate only one English-speaking country outside the UK to have a culture that calls for such a distinction. The Australian culture is significally different from the British culture.

    And I didn't try to butter you up by pretending you "should be honored" - that would really be presumptuous;)...
    You're right. I was wrong about that. :) I apologize. I must have picked that up from someone else's post.


    I fully agree with Capnprep when he says

    The point is, everybody can pretend that a given occurence is caused by nationalism, presumptuousness, plain ignorance or whatever, but that could hardly apply to all occurences by every translators / editors. You may find one nationalistic, ignorant professional translator (?); that would not make them all guilty.

    James, do you really think that a significant number of professional translator could believe that US authors do not speak English:confused:..? Honestly...?
    No, I don't, not at all. I would not be surprised, though, if they thought American English was different enough to be considered a different language from British English. There are differences, to be sure (the English Only forum is full of discussions about them), but it is fundamentally the same language. I also think we're talking not only about publishers here but the general use of "américain" in French to designate the language spoken in the U.S.

    Then traduit de l'américain is either what I say, or a conspiracy...!
    No, I don't think it's that black and white and I don't think we'll actually have a chance at discussion if we frame things in black and white like that. It appears to me that there is a lot being added to what I'm saying. I guess that's that entanglement I spoke of.

    I'd be happy if any French speaker or anyone living in France who is participating on this thread would simply acknowledge that the answer to the question "Quelle langue parle-t-on en/au _____" for any English-speaking country is "Anglais" in French unless the country is the U.S. Given that, is that not an exception of one for English-speaking countries? No conspiracy, no plot, nothing evil... just a linguistic quirk.

    For some reason I don't think that will happen.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    I'm sorry. Let me be more clear. It is an exception for English-speaking countries.
    [...]
    OK... and we still have the question why American is different from all other countries. If it's also culture it seems odd to designate only one English-speaking country outside the UK to have a culture that calls for such a distinction. The Australian culture is significally different from the British culture.
    Sheer volume of material...
    I can cite two Australian pop groups - but American groups are uncountable (to me). Same for literature.
    (Australian folks - don't take it the wrong way. I wouldn't be offended to learn that French musicians & writers are not #1 in Australia...)
    Is traduit de l'américain wronger than Hispanic, when Spain-originated Hispanics account for 0.000...% of said Hispanics, and Latino = Latinoamericano would be more precise...?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
    Exactly. And equally the words "traduit de..." surely need to be followed by the name of a language, not a culture.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Well, I'm trying not to get into that. One step at a time. :) I'd just like to see us agree that we have a situation where "Il parle" is followed by "anglais" for all countries but the U.S. If we could even agree on that one point I'd feel like we were making progress in the discussion.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
    Fortunately it is possible to say "il parle anglais" even when referring to an American:D In my opinion "Américain" has not triumphed yet in general speech by normal people. But maybe word has got around not to use that term with me or else...:p If someone were to say "il parle américain" he is making a statement mostly about himself, drawing attention to the fact he considers for whatever reason the supposed difference important enough to mention. Why he would do that you have to figure it out, but as an American you'll soon find out. It's about his ideas, his attitudes, his humor, his received ideas of correctness, his experiences, his background, his way of being, his opinions or his jargon... It's not a neutral thing to say. Mind you he could have said quite simply "il parle anglais avec un accent américain." "il parle anglais. il est américain, du Mississippi..." whatever.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Thanks, merquiades. That's useful information. I wonder if the others who live in France have the same opinion about the phrase "Il parle américain".

    I spoke with a friend at work today who lived in France for many years. I brought up this discussion. He said, "Yes, of course, they say 'Il parle américain' because the vocabulary is different, some of the grammar is different, the accent is different..." and I said, "Yes, but the same can be said about Australia or South Africa." He look thoughtful for a moment and said "Yes, I suppose that's true. That's an interesting point." I asked him if his experience was that people said "Il parle américain" and he said, "Absolutely!" So I'm not sure how widespread this use of "américain" is.

    He lived in Paris, if that's any help. (And he is not American, if that has any bearing on the discussion.)
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Thanks, merquiades. That's useful information. I wonder if the others who live in France have the same opinion about the phrase "Il parle américain".

    I spoke with a friend at work today who lived in France for many years. I brought up this discussion. He said, "Yes, of course, they say 'Il parle américain' because the vocabulary is different, some of the grammar is different, the accent is different..." and I said, "Yes, but the same can be said about Australia or South Africa." He look thoughtful for a moment and said "Yes, I suppose that's true. That's an interesting point." I asked him if his experience was that people said "Il parle américain" and he said, "Absolutely!" So I'm not sure how widespread this use of "américain" is.

    He lived in Paris, if that's any help. (And he is not American, if that has any bearing on the discussion.)
    It's not frequently used in my experience, in fact the only times I have heard it have been in jest.
    It's like here when people say they are English, or French. They don't literally mean they're from England or France, they (especially if spoken in a strong québécois accent) mean that is the basis of their ethnic or linguistic heritage.

    At first, I found this bizarre; now I'm used to it. Words mean different things to different groups.
    You get used to traduit de l'américain too. It's not changing any time soon so it'll just have to be put up with. Point barre. :)
     
    Last edited:

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    Apparently these two things (the exception and the reason for the exception) are too entangled at this point to be able to talk about one without assuming we're talking about the other. It is an exception in the sense that all other speakers of English "parle anglais" but Americans "parle américain". This seems to be a point that cannot be acknowledged. It's a simple observable fact. The reason for it is a separate issue but it is an exception, a break in a pattern.
    Everybody in this thread acknowledges the particular status of américain. If people keep trying to tell you the reasons for the exception, it follows logically that they must agree that there is an exception. For example, when JDS says
    as to why "américain" and not e.g. "australien"
    he is acknowledging that French speakers commonly use américain and not e.g. australien. And when he writes
    it is not surprising traduit de l'américain has acquired a status of its own
    he is saying precisely and explicitly that traduit de l'américain has acquired a status of its own. What more do you need to see before you stop coming back with
    And still no acknowledgement of the linguistic quirk. It's curious.
    :confused:

    If people have seemed reluctant to agree with you explicitly on this point earlier in this thread, it may because they don't wish to validate the language you have used up to now ("anomaly", "oddity", "quirk"), or they disagree with your suggestion that there is some kind of "rule" in French about when the term anglais must be used, and that américain breaks this rule. And if people failed to rally behind you when you wrote
    The strangest thing to me about the discussion is the resistance to recognizing the exception of "l'américain" as a language designator, just as "typhoon" is an exception in labeling weather phenomena. There may be nothing behind the exception, but it's still an exception, an oddity. To claim its an example of precision in the face of no similar precision in other areas makes the whole precision argument suspect.
    it's not that they question the exceptional status of américain, it's that they question the false conclusion that you attempt to draw from this "simple observable fact".
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Everybody in this thread acknowledges the particular status of américain. If people keep trying to tell you the reasons for the exception, it follows logically that they must agree that there is an exception.
    Actually, I can find many examples where people do not acknowledge that its an exception, but I think I've reached the point where I don't think this will go anywhere no matter what is said. In the same post you quote, JeanDeSponde says,

    No, I did not say it was an exception to the rule [that is, vs. traduit de l'anglais (Etats-Unis) as with other languages], as we also say traduit du hollandais, du brésilien etc.
    The "special status" referred to the quantity of books with "traduit de l'américain", as I read it, not that it was an exception. Since the conversation isn't progressing, I don't think I'm adding anything by belaboring the point.

    it's not that they question the exceptional status of américain, it's that they question the false conclusion that you attempt to draw from this "simple observable fact".
    I don't think the conclusion is false. I am still convinced that American English is separated out from all other forms of English, both in the French language and the French mind. I think the separation is misleading at best.

    Obviously, you think the question has been more than answered, so perhaps I'm a lost cause. :)
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I don't think the conclusion is false. I am still convinced that American English is separated out from all other forms of English, both in the French language and the French mind. I think the separation is misleading at best.

    Obviously, you think the question has been more than answered, so perhaps I'm a lost cause. :)
    Well, if this is the case, we English-speakers surely play a role, as we (at least in the UK and Ireland anyway) regularly distinguish between "American", and everything else.

    As I've discovered time and again on this forum, Irish English is probably at least as close to AE as it is to BE, but AE is still "the other". This might be down to American power, American exceptionalism, or just the fact that you guys insist on writing differently. Whatever it is, it's just a fact of life, unjustified perhaps, but there nonetheless. Maybe if America is one day no longer a leading influencer on the world, your privileged traduit de l'américain will reach an end. :)
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    ...or just the fact that you guys insist on writing differently... :)
    Perhaps it's because English is a complex and subtle language that even today continues to enrich it's vocabulary with words from other cultures. While Americian, on the other hand, has been slower to accept these changes to it's original 17th century (English) wordbase. ;)
    And still no acknowledgement of the linguistic quirk. It's curious.
    I'm disappointed that a WR Moderator could lack objectivity. I already gave an example of such an occurence in my post #64. "Il parle irlandais" when they mean to say I speak English. (One and the same for my former work colleagues. So my personal experience contradicts your position on the matter.) Your answer to my post #64 supports my sig, since you read what you wanted to read in that post #64. My subsequent post #67 sought to clarify the point, which I felt you had missed.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    Let me state this "exception" issue otherwise: there is no exception to the rule, because it is not an exception, and there is no rule.
    I'm talking only about traduit de l'américain, because this use:
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
    is clearly out of context. Editors & professional translators are not monsieur tout-le-monde.
    Yes, some (many?) French could say Il parle américain; maybe you'll see here a proof of quirkiness, ignorance, presumptuousnes or nationalism; but read those two successive posts from another thread (my underline):
    [...] I guess it's just not as cool to say "I'm English/British." I guess this is because we both speak (more or less) the same language, we look the same, everyone is familiar with the British accent, etc., so there's less to distinguish that person from others [...]
    I'm sorry...by British I did mean English. Most Americans, and unfortunately I make the same mistake, say British to mean English. If an American were speaking about someone from from Scotland or Wales, I highly doubt they would use the term "British," as that would imply, to us ignorant Americans, "English." Instead, they would probably say "Scottish" or "Welsh."
    Brian may humbly say he's ignorant, though I doubt you will agree. If even knowledgeable people stumble about language / country issues, why put a specific blame on us French?...
     

    ribran

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Could we say of somebody : "He speaks texan." ?:)
    I can't imagine a Texan seriously taking offense at that. There is a heptalingual native Texan guide at the state capitol who always teasingly corrects those who assume that his native language is English. "Naw, my first sentence was in Texan," he says. :D
     

    TitTornade

    Senior Member
    Hi,

    On wikipedia, I read that "The United States editions of the Harry Potter novels have required the adaptation of the texts into American English, as many words and concepts used by the characters in the novels may have not been understood by a young American audience."

    So, if it is possible to translate British English into American English, it is possible to "traduire de l'américain en français" (translate American English into French), possibly through British English...
     

    COF

    Member
    English - English
    I think the French do regard British English and American English as different, but I think that's more of a symptom of their own linguistic purism.

    For example, you will find quite a lot of French people don't even considered Quebec French to be true French and regard it as a creole at best.
     

    doinel

    Senior Member
    France French
    Je m'éloigne un peu mais nous persistons et signons dans notre besoin de précision.
    Je viens de regarder en VO sous titrée Sons of Anarchy à la fin de chaque épisode sont donnés les noms des traducteurs.
    En dessous, en assez gros et entre parenthèses : ( French- Parisian) :)
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi,

    On wikipedia, I read that "The United States editions of the Harry Potter novels have required the adaptation of the texts into American English, as many words and concepts used by the characters in the novels may have not been understood by a young American audience."

    So, if it is possible to translate British English into American English, it is possible to "traduire de l'américain en français" (translate American English into French), possibly through British English...
    Adaptation is not translation.
     

    Jasmine tea

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Having read the last posts, this is the question that comes to my mind:

    What are the translations for AE and BE?

    AE would be "anglais américain" and BE "anglais anglais". In which case, I could most naturally translate AE by the one word "américain" and BE by the one word "anglais"!

    Maybe this is the only reason why....
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Adaptation is not translation.
    It isn't, however, when Quebec series are subtitled on the likes of TV5Monde, typical Quebecisms such as ''je m'en calisse'', ''dépanneur'', débarbouilette'', etc. are ''adapted/translated'' into Parisian French for audiences. I don't think anyone imagines that Quebec French is not French, any more than one would hold that AE is not English, unless one were very ignorant, and sadly, there will always be a certain number of such people around.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Adaptation is not translation.
    Adaptation may be an euphemism for translation, especially when close related language pairs are concerned.
    Written Danish and Norwegian Bokmaal look almost the same, so do Czech and Slovak, Macedonian and Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian, and Hindi and Urdu (the last two pairs differ mainly in the alphabet used).
    In Portugal, they translate/''adapt'' Paulo Coelho from Brazilian Portuguese, I guess it's because:

    1. Paulo Coelho is not serious literature, of great literary value, but is seen as kind of self-help literature
    2. with self-help literature (as well as in children literature) you want to sound as close as you can to the reader, and not not from another country/continent since any regionalism can be distracting

    On American TV, most regional (nonRP) British accents are subtitled.
    ''Girls Aloud'''s singer Nathalie Coyle was subtitled when she was a mentor on that Tyra Banks' model show.
    And Cheryl Cole was not even allowed to be a judge on the American X Factor because the producers thought her accent would not be understood by Americans.
     
    Last edited:

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Having read the last posts, this is the question that comes to my mind:

    What are the translations for AE and BE?

    AE would be "anglais américain" and BE "anglais anglais". In which case, I could most naturally translate AE by the one word "américain" and BE by the one word "anglais"!

    Maybe this is the only reason why....
    But that is a classic case of confusing "English" with "British"! When wishing to refer specifically to the English spoken in England the phrase "English English" is often used even though it sounds awkward; "Anglo-English" sounds better.

    I think this thread can be summed up as follows: In English (whether British or American) the word "American" is not (except jocularly) used as a noun to describe the English language as spoken or written in America. English speaking Americans have no problem calling the language they speak "English"; if they need to contrast it with other varieties of English they call it "American English" and not "American". This being the case, native English speakers have asked why French publishers have found it necessary to make a distinction that native English speakers do not make. The apparent answer is that it is all about precision. The response to that is that this precision is very selective.

    What English speakers are really objecting to is that using the phrase "traduit de l'américain" gives the impression that American English and British English are two significantly different things when they are not - at least when talking about the two written standards.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    On American TV, most regional (nonRP) British accents are subtitled.
    This is simply untrue and extremely misleading. Gordon Ramsey is not subtitled. Neither is Tabitha on that salon takeover show or Eddie Izzard or Phoebe on Frazier or the characters on Dr. Who or Antiques Roadshow or Absolutely Fabulous or Top Gear or dozens of other shows. I can't think of a single show I have seen that subtitles British accents.

    The bizarre choice of one reality show to subtitle is the exception and not the rule.
     
    Last edited:

    ampurdan

    Senior Member
    Català & español (Spain)
    I dare say that most people in my country would think of it as quite odd too if they started to see "traducido del americano" or "idioma original: americano" (although it's true that Spanish speakers have their own axes to grind about the use of "americano" meaning only "from the USA", as many discussions in these forums attest to). Most people say "inglés" ("English") when they mean "británico" ("British") in everyday speech (this last word is too cumbersome). Of course, this should be avoided in formal situations. But my point is that if anything, foreign cultures tend to exaggerate similarities between countries of the same cultural background, like people calling Mexican citizens "Spanish".

    I guess this américain thing comes of old habit among the French. I remember an old man from Toulouse who was a dear friend of my uncle told me when I was a kid, as a response to my own quite inappropriate rebuke that English was more important than French when he asked why I wasn't learning his language, that "ce n'est pas l'anglais, mais l'américain qui est la langue la plus internationale" or something along those lines. I didn't get the idea that he thought that the two were different languages though, but that the two dialects were very different.
     
    Last edited:

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    This is simply untrue and extremely misleading. Gordon Ramsey is not subtitled. Neither is Tabitha on that salon takeover show or Eddie Izzard or Phoebe on Frazier or the characters on Dr. Who or Antiques Roadshow or Absolutely Fabulous or Top Gear or dozens of other shows. I can't think of a single show I have seen that subtitles British accents.

    The bizarre choice of one reality show to subtitle is the exception and not the rule.
    I once saw an Irish guy subtitled on CNN, but it must be said that he had a very strong West of Ireland accent which even I struggled with. I think I've also seen a few Scots get the same treatment. Generally though, U.S. TV doesn't subtitle us (British Isles speakers). Then again, sometimes Americans subtitle their own citizens (strong Southern accent, some speakers of AAVE), so fair's fair.
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Having read the last posts, this is the question that comes to my mind:

    What are the translations for AE and BE?

    AE would be "anglais américain" and BE "anglais anglais". In which case, I could most naturally translate AE by the one word "américain" and BE by the one word "anglais"!

    Maybe this is the only reason why....
    Beaucoup d'éditeurs indiquent par exemple "traduit de l'anglais (Angleterre)". Et on voit aussi "traduit de l'anglais (Grande-Bretagne"). Les premiers sont sûrement ceux qui indiqueront également "traduit de l'anglais (Écosse)". Plus précis, tu meurs...
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Beaucoup d'éditeurs indiquent par exemple "traduit de l'anglais (Angleterre)". Et on voit aussi "traduit de l'anglais (Grande-Bretagne"). Les premiers sont sûrement ceux qui indiqueront également "traduit de l'anglais (Écosse)". Plus précis, tu meurs...
    Traduit de l'anglais (Irlande, Province de Leinster, Ville de Dublin, Rue O'Connell, achevé le 17 Mars 2012 a 05:37). Le français est précis hein. :)
     

    Jasmine tea

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Et voilà l'avis d'un écrivain américain. (article paru dans le Magazine Littéraire d'Août 2012, cet entretien avec Russel Banks date de 1999) :

    Q. : Vos romans appartiennent au domaine un peu indéterminé de la littérature anglo-saxonne. Pourtant, la page de titre précise "traduit de l'américain". Est-ce important pour vous?

    Réponse de Russel Banks :
    "Les Anglais ne font absolument pas la distinction. Il n'y a que les Français pour la faire. L'anglais n'est pas une langue pour un pays donné, cela fait longtemps qu'il a quitté sa terre natale. Il y a tout de même des différences essentielles entre l'anglais de Grande Bretagne et celui des États-Unis, bien plus influencé par la manière juive, italienne, latino-américaine, afro-américaine de parler. Ma langue appartient incontestablement à l'anglais d'Amérique. J'adore les différents courants qui parcourent cette langue. Il ne s'agit pas uniquement d'un brassage de cultures, mais également de classes sociales. Je suis très sensible au langage parlé par les marginaux et beaucoup plus sensible à l'anglais parlé qu'à l'écrit."
     

    WME

    Senior Member
    French-France
    As an American who has lived in France for over ten years (mostly in Paris), I am unhappy to report that yes, the French do seem to think that we speak a different language than English. And phrases like traduit de l'américain only serve to reinforce this wrongheaded idea.
    I also know Americans who indeed believe that English was invented by Americans...
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    :) Americans are often ridiculed for their geographical ignorance but we are not alone in this, either. I remember a teacher whose European relative was coming to visit her in Idaho. She wanted to be picked up in Denver (1,340 km), swing by the Grand Canyon (1,118 km) and San Francisco (1,269 km) on the way back to Boise (1,026 km). She couldn't understand why this would be a problem, since all of these locations were in the western U.S. :)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    On the subject of translation into American or English, I am presently reading "Easy Money" by Jens Lapidus. It is a translation from the Swedish. Unfortunately, the translator, Ms Astri von Arbin Ahlander, drifts between American and English and struggles with idioms and slang in both dialects. Whereas the plot is very clever and the characters well-drawn and consistent, I found myself drifting into proof-reading it into English, which, after 160 pages, is ruining the pleasure of reading.

    I really don't mind whether it is in English or American, as long at the translation, like the book's characters, is consistent.
     

    funnyhat

    Senior Member
    American English
    Having read the last posts, this is the question that comes to my mind:

    What are the translations for AE and BE?

    AE would be "anglais américain" and BE "anglais anglais". In which case, I could most naturally translate AE by the one word "américain" and BE by the one word "anglais"!

    Maybe this is the only reason why....
    Isn't anglais britannique a better translation? Anglais anglais translates to English English, which implicitly leaves out the rest of the UK.
     
    Last edited:

    palomnik

    Senior Member
    English
    Americans may presume it's a slight, but I don't think so. I think it is perceived like this:

    Anglais: think Evelyn Waugh.

    Americain: think Raymond Chandler.

    I think that sums it up.
     

    alaric

    New Member
    English
    If this discussion is still live, I am writing to ask for help because I am trying to write something about this very topic. Like most of the contributors to this discussion, I have some personal experiences (anecdotal) and a personal hypothesis (similar to some of the other posters, namely, the snarky attitude towards American culture that is typical of a CERTAIN class of European), but few hard facts. I would like more of the latter, eg, to find out when this usage first started. Because after all it is entirely possible it started for some reason X which may be entirely different from the real reasons Y1-Yn that cause it to persist which may be entirely different from the various reasons Z1-Zn that any or all of us imagine. The only thing I would ask everyone to consider (perhaps someone else has said this too?) is that this is NOTHING to do with France and the French per se. The same usage exists in Dutch and German for sure and likely in several other European languages. So whatever attitude it now reflects (or shapes or reinforces) is a more widespread one, and so any explanation has to be Euro-wide and not specific to France. And thank you in advance for any help.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    .... this is NOTHING to do with France and the French per se. The same usage exists in Dutch and German for sure and likely in several other European languages. ....
    Hello alaric,
    Speaking of few hard facts, are you sure of this? I am of the opinion this is very much a french publishing practice. But, I am happy to be shown to be wrong on this point. However, for now, for example in Germany
    From the German edition of a New York bestseller, we find
    « Aus dem amerikanischen Englisch »

    Originalausgabe
    A.J. Finn
    deutschsprachigen Ausgabe
    Christoph Göhler
    My German copy of Der Hobbit (Tolkien ie UK) gives Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Wolfgang Krege.
    I could not find an example for an American author in Dutch. For a UK writer eg. Harry Potter series we find:
    Vertaald uit het Engles door Wiebe Buddingh’ I am not at all convinced Germans/Dutch Publishers do this.
    Do you have some examples of other European publishers using « translated from American » à la OP?
    traduit de l'américain, rather than the traduit de l'anglais
     
    Last edited:

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I would say it makes a difference if they write Aus dem amerikanischen Englisch or Aus dem Amerikanischen. I would the latter rather off but the former merely over-precise.

    Distinguishing between English and American as languages is not necessarily a sign of
    snarky attitude towards American culture[.]
    It often merely reflects the perception them being different languages. Written British and American English are not more different then, e.g. , German and Austrian German, yet no German speaker would consider written German and Austrian German as a separate languages.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top