The French They Never Taught You 17: rêver

Early in their French studies, students learn that rêver means "to dream" and un rêve is a dream. So far so good. But the expression "to have a dream" (when you're asleep) in French is not "avoir un rêve" but faire un rêve. By the same token, "to have a nightmare" is faire un cauchemar. However, avoir is used if you mean "harboring a dream": je n’avais aucun rêve secret d’Élysée means "I wasn't harboring any secret dreams of becoming the President of France." Then there is the expression faire rêver, literally "to make dream," but that won't work as a translation into English. Here are some examples: l'histoire d'amour qui a fait rêver l'Amérique the love story that captured America's heart

Another Legal Term to Watch Out For

As we saw in an earlier post, there are certain terms that can cause translators to and from the Romance languages to stumble. One of these terms is conflict of interest (plural: conflicts of interest). In English we say conflict of interest, not "conflict of interests," but in the Romance languages, the word for "interest" is in the plural (so that literally they are saying "conflict of interests"). Thus we have: French: conflit d'intérêts Spanish: conflicto de intereses Italian: conflitto di interessi Portuguese: conflito de interesses When we translate these into English, we must remember not to make the last word plural: it's conflict of interest in English. And when we translate from En

The French They Never Taught You 16: Social isn't Always Social

The French adjective social has three basic meanings, two of which are fairly obvious to English speakers and one of which is not. First of all, social can of course mean "social", in the sense of "relating to society" (la société). So mobilité sociale is "social mobility." Second, social can mean "corporate," in the sense of "relating to a company" (which is also called la société in French). So une dénomination sociale is a company name. The third meaning is less apparent and sometimes trips translators up. Social in French (but not in English) can mean "related to work or labor." Therefore: Droit social is labor and employment law. It's another way of saying droit du travail. Revendicatio

The French They Never Taught You 15: Countries and Their Leaders

There are so many countries whose names can be translated from English to French by changing the IA ending to IE that it would be reasonable to assume that they all work this way: Albania = l'Albanie Algeria = l'Algérie Armenia = l'Arménie Australia = l'Australie Bolivia = la Bolivie Colombia = la Colombie Croatia = la Croatie Estonia = l'Estonie Ethiopia = l'Éthiopie Georgia = la Géorgie Indonesia = l'Indonésie Malaysia = la Malaisie Mauritania = la Mauritanie Mongolia = la Mongolie Namibia = la Namibie Romania = la Roumanie Russia = la Russie Serbia = la Serbie Slovakia = la Slovaquie Slovenia = la Slovénie Somalia = la Somalie Syria = la Syrie Tanzania = la Tanzanie Tunisia = la Tunisie E

Defining Terms in German Contracts

It is customary to define important terms in contracts in English by capitalizing them. Thus, for example, we might find the following: This End User License Agreement (the “Agreement”), consisting of the terms and conditions set forth below, is made and entered into as of the 25th day of January, 2015 (the “Effective Date”), by and between ABC, Inc., a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware (hereinafter referred to as “Vendor”) and XYZ, Inc., a corporation organized under the laws of Oregon (hereinafter referred to as “End User”). Vendor and End User shall be collectively referred to herein as the “Parties” and shall sometimes individually be referred to as a “Party.” The probl

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