KudoZ home » French to English » Certificates, Diplomas, Licenses, CVs

pour servir et valoir ce que de raison

English translation: for all intents and purposes

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:pour servir et valoir ce que de raison
English translation:for all intents and purposes
Entered by: xxxjohnthomp
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

00:36 Sep 1, 2008
French to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Certificates, Diplomas, Licenses, CVs
French term or phrase: pour servir et valoir ce que de raison
En foi de quoi nous avons délivré le présent pour servir et valoir ce que de raison.

Thanks....
xxxjohnthomp
for all intents and purposes
Explanation:
Bourth, this one of the best cultural observations I have read in a long time. Well though, well written, very entertaining, and SO true. Thank you, you made my day.

Now, what I'm not comfortable with here (and with this kind of debates) is that we are talking legal here, so while I personally tend to go for idiomatic expressions in all other kinds of translations, and always try to find equivalences 'in use' in the target language, when it comes to anything legal, it seems very wrong to me to wander far away from the meaning, for the purpose of sticking to the customs and habits of the target language .
I don't have a problem to translate a 'Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l'expression de mes considérations les meilleures' by a mere 'Yours sincerely', although a lot is lost in the translation, including the slight differences in meaning that made the author choose this formula over twenty other available ones, to best adapt to his/her reader and to the situation; but in legal documents, the documents are used to make claims, and their exact value and meaning is not supposed to be changed through translation.
This is why when Matthew says" has to do with the purpose it is serving", and proposes a translation which goes: 'for WHATEVER', then I think a line is crossed. If the Legalese is different from one language to the next, that is indeed unfortunate for the level of comfort of the person who reads the document; but the translation has to remain accurate and true. Besides, efforts to understand and adapt to a foreign culture are never wasted. ;-)
This may indeed sound too cartesian to some. But Cartesianism has its good sides. After all, there must be a reason why France is a global competitor on nearly all high-tech industries, and England on virtually none.
Now, the true meaning here being 'in order to serve and be used for as much as is reasonable', if YOU want to skick to something idiomatic, then why not go for something as neutral as possible, such as "for all intents and purposes"?
Selected response from:

Serge F. Vidal
Switzerland
Local time: 22:27
Grading comment
Was considering this too, but forgot to mention it. Thanks Serge, and everyone -- very interesting answers and discussion.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +1to grant all the rights and privileges herein
Karine Gentil
4 +1for all intents and purposesSerge F. Vidal
2 +1for whatever purpose it may serveMatthewLaSon
4 -2To whom it may concernxxxBourth
Summary of reference entries provided
B D Finch

  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
to grant all the rights and privileges herein


Explanation:
The complete translation shall be
In witness wereof, the present certificate is issued to grant [her/him] all the rights and priviliges herein

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2008-09-01 01:47:15 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In witness whereof...

Karine Gentil
United States
Local time: 16:27
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jean-Louis S.
48 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
for whatever purpose it may serve


Explanation:
Hello,

I don't believe that this is the same as "pour servir et valoir ce que de droit." The latter part of the phrase is "ce que de raison", which I think has to do with the purpose it is serving."

ce que de raison = what is the intent

I hope this helps,

MatthewLaSon
Local time: 16:27
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Penny Hewson
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Penny!

neutral  Serge F. Vidal: 'ce que de raison' os old French for 'as much as is reasonable'. Nothing to do with an intent.
7 hrs
  -> Thanks, Serge, but "for as much as is reasonable" implies "for whatever purpose (intent) it may serve." I can't explain it all here. At any rate, if a translation can be given here, it surely can't have the word "reason" in it.

neutral  Karine Gentil: actually the "purpose" is to grant all the rights and privileges which the document will give to the bearer.
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, Karine, but I'm not convinced that I'm wrong or right.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -2
To whom it may concern


Explanation:
Boilerplate which in French is attached to the end of a document, in English to the front.

Whether it ends with "droit" or "raison" is irrelevant, it simply means "To whom it may concern" which in turn means "to be used for whatever purpose or purposes is felt necessary", so help me god.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs (2008-09-01 15:12:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To Karine : It's purely French. Why the document was issued is largely irrelevant, but it's very Cartesian. It's like captioning a photo of a pine tree "Photo of a pine tree", as the French do, instead of saying something interesting like "Pine trees can grow to X metres". It's like the "lu et approuvé" the French insist on at the bottom of documents, or the "bon pour pouvoir" I just wrote a the bottom of ... yes, you guessed it, a "pouvoir".

In English we can quite happily do without "Pour servir et valoir ..." (why WOULD anyone draw up a certificate other than to certify something to the best of their knowledge, ability, etc.) and generally do. It's only because French law and thinking is so heavily codified, so the issuer of the certificate is providing himself with an "out" to say "I'm not issuing this because I actually think person A is (competent to do the job, honest under all circumstances, really IS the father of that child, etc.) but just because to the extent of my knowledge and based on my experience of the person so far, he is quite a competent chap, has always seemed honest, and has raised the child as if it were his own. If you find none of this to be true, then you have no comeback on me because I put a limitation on it by saying "Pour servir et valoir ...".

In English we simply don't think that way.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs (2008-09-01 15:21:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I believe Max O'Rell (Léon-Paul Blouët) would have said something similar to the following of the desire to translate these expressions (from Drat the Boys!) :

"English boys have invented a special kind of English language for French translation.

It is not the English they use with their classical and other masters; it is not the English they use at home with their parents, or at school with their comrades: it is a special article kept for the sole benefit of their French masters.

The good genus boy will translate 'oui, mon père', by 'yes, my father,' as if it were possible for him to forget that he calls his 'papa' 'father', and not 'my father', when he addresses him.

He very seldom reads over his translation to ascertain that it reads like English; but when he does, and is not particularly satisfied with the result, he lays the blame on the French original. After all, it is not his fault if there is no sense in the French, and he brings a certain number of English dictionary words placed one after the other, the whole entitled FRENCH.

Of course he could not call it ENGLISH, and he dared not call it NONSENSE.

He calls it FRENCH, and relieves his conscience."

[http://www.wissensdrang.com/drat1.htm#VI ]


xxxBourth
Local time: 22:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 32

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Karine Gentil: This has nothing to do with the context. To whom it may concern is mainly used to address someone or persons which names are unknown and in general. This phrase concerns the reason why the document was issued and not to whom it's addressed to
6 hrs

disagree  roelens: That's all true but "pour servir et valoir..." does have a meaning. It refers to the purpose of the document. (As Karine said.)
1 day5 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

22 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
for all intents and purposes


Explanation:
Bourth, this one of the best cultural observations I have read in a long time. Well though, well written, very entertaining, and SO true. Thank you, you made my day.

Now, what I'm not comfortable with here (and with this kind of debates) is that we are talking legal here, so while I personally tend to go for idiomatic expressions in all other kinds of translations, and always try to find equivalences 'in use' in the target language, when it comes to anything legal, it seems very wrong to me to wander far away from the meaning, for the purpose of sticking to the customs and habits of the target language .
I don't have a problem to translate a 'Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l'expression de mes considérations les meilleures' by a mere 'Yours sincerely', although a lot is lost in the translation, including the slight differences in meaning that made the author choose this formula over twenty other available ones, to best adapt to his/her reader and to the situation; but in legal documents, the documents are used to make claims, and their exact value and meaning is not supposed to be changed through translation.
This is why when Matthew says" has to do with the purpose it is serving", and proposes a translation which goes: 'for WHATEVER', then I think a line is crossed. If the Legalese is different from one language to the next, that is indeed unfortunate for the level of comfort of the person who reads the document; but the translation has to remain accurate and true. Besides, efforts to understand and adapt to a foreign culture are never wasted. ;-)
This may indeed sound too cartesian to some. But Cartesianism has its good sides. After all, there must be a reason why France is a global competitor on nearly all high-tech industries, and England on virtually none.
Now, the true meaning here being 'in order to serve and be used for as much as is reasonable', if YOU want to skick to something idiomatic, then why not go for something as neutral as possible, such as "for all intents and purposes"?

Serge F. Vidal
Switzerland
Local time: 22:27
Works in field
Native speaker of: French
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Was considering this too, but forgot to mention it. Thanks Serge, and everyone -- very interesting answers and discussion.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  roelens: Absolutely. I like Matthew's proposal as well, but his explanation does not convince me.
14 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Reference comments


9 hrs
Reference

Reference information:
http://fra.proz.com/kudoz/french_to_english/law_patents/2558...

B D Finch
France
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 85
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search