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English translation: [Commentary on English below.]

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12:51 Jun 7, 2002
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / Literary
English term or phrase: sentence
The following paragraph was given to me. It is a translation from French, and I would like to confirm with English native speakers if it sounds okay in English (considering the formal register, etc).

Thanks.

'The first thing I remark, when considering the standing of humankind, is a manifest contradiction in its ordering, that makes it always hesitant: as men, we live in a civilian state, abiding by the laws; as peoples, each enjoys natural freedom; which ultimately makes our situation worse than if such differences were unknown.'
Carol
English translation:[Commentary on English below.]
Explanation:
"When considering the situation of humankind, the first thing I notice is an obvious contradiction in its ordering that always makes it ambivalent. As individuals we live in a civil state, abiding by laws. As separate peoples, each one enjoys a natural freedom. This ultimately makes our situation worse than if no one knew about these differences."

[Commentary]
English style prefers to avoid nested subordinate expressions, if possible. REMARQUER is normally "notice", rarely "remark". English punctuation rules prohibit commas from restrictive relative clauses. "Manifest" is very old-fashioned and/or pompous. People can be "hesitant", but situations and meanings cannot be. "Civil" means "political, state-, governed", but "civilian" always is the opposite of "military." The abstract "laws" drops the article, as against most other European languages (e.g., la ve'rite' = "truth", la musique = "music"). The passivity of the final sentence is awkward, and "unknown" seems to be a negative of "savoir" rather than of "connaitre" ("desconhecidas/inconnues").

--Loquamur


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Note added at 2002-06-07 13:52:09 (GMT)
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Yes, Kim Metzger does better than I regarding the philosophical logic: \"individuals\", not \"separate peoples\".
Selected response from:

David Wigtil
United States
Local time: 08:56
Grading comment
thanks everybody and thanks A LOT for the explanations!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +3Here's how I would re-write it
Kim Metzger
4[Commentary on English below.]
David Wigtil


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
[Commentary on English below.]


Explanation:
"When considering the situation of humankind, the first thing I notice is an obvious contradiction in its ordering that always makes it ambivalent. As individuals we live in a civil state, abiding by laws. As separate peoples, each one enjoys a natural freedom. This ultimately makes our situation worse than if no one knew about these differences."

[Commentary]
English style prefers to avoid nested subordinate expressions, if possible. REMARQUER is normally "notice", rarely "remark". English punctuation rules prohibit commas from restrictive relative clauses. "Manifest" is very old-fashioned and/or pompous. People can be "hesitant", but situations and meanings cannot be. "Civil" means "political, state-, governed", but "civilian" always is the opposite of "military." The abstract "laws" drops the article, as against most other European languages (e.g., la ve'rite' = "truth", la musique = "music"). The passivity of the final sentence is awkward, and "unknown" seems to be a negative of "savoir" rather than of "connaitre" ("desconhecidas/inconnues").

--Loquamur


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-06-07 13:52:09 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Yes, Kim Metzger does better than I regarding the philosophical logic: \"individuals\", not \"separate peoples\".

David Wigtil
United States
Local time: 08:56
Native speaker of: English
Grading comment
thanks everybody and thanks A LOT for the explanations!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

55 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Here's how I would re-write it


Explanation:
The first thing I perceive when considering the condition of humankind is a manifest contradiction in its ordering that makes it always hesitant: as human beings, we live in civilized states, abiding by the laws; as individuals, each person enjoys natural freedom, which ultimately makes our condition worse than if such distinctions were unheard of.'



Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 07:56
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 277

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jerrie
9 mins
  -> Thanks, Jerrie. I like Loquamur's analysis very much.

agree  5Q
38 mins

agree  Betty Revelioti
4 days
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