Saturday, December 10, 2011

Translation is tough!

English Translation
We are staying in a fabulous little apartment (two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc) here in Toulouse.  But there is a sign on the door to the kitchen that was a bit confusing to me.  What do YOU make of it?

I was really confused (reading the english), until i switched to reading the french version of the sign.

Then I realized that translating something is just as hard for francophones as for anglophones, and that a dictionary is not always your best friend.  Because the word "entretien" can indeed mean 'interview', but it can also mean 'care'.  And the word "charge" can mean 'load', but it can also mean 'responsability'.  Further, "propre" can well mean 'appropriate', but can also mean 'clean'.  Context does matter!  

French original
Truth be told, the sign (and the translation) made me feel more at ease with the (low) level of my french competence, and encouraged me to keep trying my french this week. If THEY can be brave, so can I!

Plus, I brought lots of advil with me, so i can use it both to sooth my aching head after all the effort, and can also share it with the french folk around me who will have to put up with my efforts!  :-)

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