The return of the Frenchie…

20 Déc

It is so nice to have a permanent presence on the web that does not disappear when I enter a time of complete “non-blogging”. It may have seemed that I must have withdrawn from society to go off to intense jedi training or meditation, but in reality, I got to a point of busyness where I could not focus on “fun”, or creative work other than translation projects and my awesome marketing and advertising on-line class at NYU this past semester.

Advertising vs PR

Advertising vs PR (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

Although I never got my “textbook” (recommended reading: L’ABC du style publicitaire français, currently out of stock, still waiting…), the curriculum was relevant and current. The weekly homework assignments as well as forum exercises kept our group of students busy. Despite the on-line format, our professor managed to keep us engaged and challenged in all aspects of marketing and advertising, from the creative and adaptation aspect on one hand, to space constraints and time adherence on the other hand (and the often required “backtranslation” process). It was interesting to me that for some ads I was completely inspired and was able to come up with a flow of ideas in minutes, and other topics required more research, reading and preparation. However, no matter what topic you are dealing with (whether plumbing devices or pheromone-filled lingerie detergent…), you have to adapt and come up with a way to communicate the essence of the brand or product to the target market in a way that inspires the reader to take action.

Techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way (Source: Merriam-Webster Concise Encyclopedia)

"Don't Miss Your Great Opportunity" ...

Too bad I cannot publish some examples of my fun findings for the sake of copyright and future students taking the class. However, let’s not complete this article without sharing a “word of the day” that has become an “Anglicism” in some contexts:

Nom commun féminin.

1/ Caractère opportun (de); caractère de ce qui est opportun.
Nous devons réfléchir à l’opportunité d’intervenir (ou d’une intervention).

2/ (Anglicisme) Occasion ou circonstance favorable.
J’ai lu une annonce décrivant un poste qui te conviendrait parfaitement; tu devrais saisir cette opportunité.

Cet usage, dérivé de l’anglais « opportunity», qui se répand de plus en plus dans la presse et par conséquent dans le langage courant, est encore très contesté. Les puristes lui préfèrent « occasion », « possibilité », voire « perspective ».
Etymologie : Emprunté au latin opportunitas (« opportunité, condition favorable, convenance ; commodité, avantage»). (Source : CNTRL)

I try my best to use the French alternatives, but I must say that sometimes I give in (ex. “sales opportunities”, usage calls for “opportunités de ventes”; however, “if the opportunity presents itself”, clearly the equivalent expression is “si l’occasion se présente”).

Talk about a field inundated with a hurricane of English loan-words, French words that take on an English meaning, or “mots valise(a portmanteau word is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word; ex: adulescent, franglais, motel, progiciel)… I can say I struggle with two tendencies:

1) the purist inside me cries each time I feel like my language is in jeopardy of losing more and more French words to “franglais” words, and aspires to utilizing the wealth of vocabulary available in French

2) the pragmatic concedes that some “anglicisms” have made their way into the French language completely (marketing, email, coaching, brainstorming, etc.), especially in sales and marketing, and trying to introduce the proper French equivalent (often coined by the Quebec office of the French language or the French academia, such as “remue-méninges” for “brainstorming”) will actually deter the reader from the ad (particularly if the ad targets the millennial generation or a cool-hyp group, it will sound “vieux-jeux” (old-fashioned), uninteresting and not catch the reader’s attention).

A constant battle of the mind, the translator’s daily struggle.

Finally, some personal updates and upcoming topics:

– I am no longer the “roller-blading interpreter”… I have traded high-impact fall-prone sports to walking, hiking, swimming or yoga. You have guessed: I am expecting! Related blog topic: Raising Bilingual Children

– I finally have a (second-hand) electric Yamaha piano. Baby and I are enjoying the sounds of Beethoven, Chopin and Freddie Mercury… and whatever piece I decide to work on each night. Related blog topic: Musical Inspirations

– I had zero time for extensive cooking or baking, so I am only now starting to bake my favorite Christmas cookies. In 2013: healthy, high-protein meals. Stay tuned for Recipes.

– Of course I will be sure to share some French words when they come up in translation or in daily life, I love my dictionaries!

13 Réponses to “The return of the Frenchie…”

  1. Jonathan décembre 20, 2012 à 18:24 #

    It’s nice to have Nadia back and as a loyal reader of this blog I’m hoping to see frequent postings.

    • FrenchNad décembre 20, 2012 à 18:26 #

      Thanks Jonathan, I hope to post more frequently and work on a few collaborations next year! Happy holidays!!

  2. David Farrell décembre 20, 2012 à 21:59 #

    Hi Nadia!
    Wonderful news! Congratulations!!
    Trust you and your husband will have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

    • FrenchNad décembre 20, 2012 à 23:03 #

      Merci David! We sure will, it is wonderful to know our little girl is coming in just a few months… Best Christmas gift ever, in an interesting package (bye-bye Nadia Comaneci ;)!

      How are you? Email me some updates, it is great to hear from you!

  3. Seycen décembre 21, 2012 à 01:55 #

    nice to see you back again. I’ve been away for too long too, and hope to back soon.

    CONGRATULATIONS on the baby news 🙂 and I hope 2012 is happy and healthy for you and all your family.

    • FrenchNad décembre 21, 2012 à 09:26 #

      Thanks Elaine! Hope to see more of you too in 2013 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your new home! In the meantime, merry Christmas and happy new year to you and yours!

  4. Seycen décembre 21, 2012 à 01:56 #

    oops, I think that should be 2013 🙂

  5. achrys décembre 21, 2012 à 09:34 #

    I know how you feel about borrowed words . . . except for me it’s letters and sounds. I just traced X through history. That poor letter was traded around, changing shape and sound! Language is always changing though – exciting and sometimes frustrating. I hope you have a good new year and your baby is healthy and strong(and you too)!

    • FrenchNad décembre 21, 2012 à 09:53 #

      Thanks for your comment! Linguistics are a fascinating science… if time and money were no object, that is what my husband would spend all his time researching and studying.
      Thanks for your well-wishes!! Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year!

  6. La poutre dans l'œil décembre 27, 2012 à 12:10 #

    Le conflit incessant de l’usage et des règles… Je compatis. Les traducteurs sont toujours des traîtres 🙂

    • FrenchNad décembre 27, 2012 à 12:26 #

      Tout à fait ! Il ne nous reste plus qu’à déterminer quand contourner et quand respecter ces règles… Un vrai défi !

  7. catherinetranslates janvier 12, 2013 à 00:20 #

    Congratulations, Nadia!!! I hope the pregnancy is going well.

    • FrenchNad janvier 12, 2013 à 21:39 #

      Thanks Catherine! All is well and I can’t believe we are almost there… A couple more weeks and I will be entering the third trimester, then it will fly until April. In the meantime, projects, projects, projects! 😉
      All the best for the new year!


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