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"pousser dans ses retranchements"

English translation: force the translator to use all his talent and resourcefulness (to meet the challenge)

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18:33 Sep 21, 2007
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / art/science of translation
French term or phrase: "pousser dans ses retranchements"
I have another 'abstract' to translate, from a thesis on .... translating. The student writes that considerable difficulties are found at the comprehension stage: the source text may contain intentional/unintentional ambiguities of language etc, but also there are the difficulties of translating cultural references, proper nouns, sociolects etc. As a result, he says:"Ces obstacles poussent le traducteur dans ses retranchements". My dictionary only gives "back to the wall", which seems to me to be excessive as well as not the right register. I had thought of "These obstacles are the ultimate challenge to the translator". I'd be very grateful for your comments and suggestions.
Thanks in advance!
katsy
Local time: 03:12
English translation:force the translator to use all his talent and resourcefulness (to meet the challenge)
Explanation:
These obstacles force the translator to use all his talent and resourcefulness (to meet the challenge).

Let's face it, translation is a mixture of one part inspiration and two parts perspiration. Why not include the concept of "talent"?
Selected response from:

Paul Cohen
Greenland
Local time: 23:12
Grading comment
This is the one I think! Will give the student the choice of including 'talent', (the thesis being of somewhat scientific precision) but I like your whole sentence best, and agree with your sentiment about talent!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +1these tasks really put a translator to the testJim Tucker
3 +1force the translator to use all his talent and resourcefulness (to meet the challenge)
Paul Cohen
3 +1stretches his skills/resourcefulness to the limit
siragui
3place him well and truly on his mettlexxxCMJ_Trans
2forced to use last resorts
Emma Paulay


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
these tasks really put a translator to the test


Explanation:
these things really show a translator's mettle

I would avoid "ultimate challenge" as hyperbolic

Jim Tucker
United States
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
Notes to answerer
Asker: yes, "hyperbolic" was my feeling too

Asker: Thanks Jim


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  ormiston
1 hr
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47 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
forced to use last resorts


Explanation:
The CR says "to be driven into a corner" so I'm trying to stick to the original. Maybe you could say his options are limited, that he is disarmed. Perhpas he's saying that faced with these problems, the translator has only instinct to fall back on.

Incidentally, nearly all the refs I've found are for "DERNIERS retranchements". It seems to be the set phrase.

Emma Paulay
France
Local time: 03:12
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 8
Notes to answerer
Asker: Hi Emma - yes, that's what I saw 'derniers' retranchements too.... et pourtant, c'est un Français!

Asker: Thanks Emma

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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
stretches his skills/resourcefulness to the limit


Explanation:
Off the top of my head, to get the ball rolling.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 hrs (2007-09-22 07:33:33 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry, should be (these obstacles) "stretch" -- I forgot what the subject was when I was typing my answer. As for "to the utmost", only you can say if your writer wants to go that far ("to the breaking point" is also possible). It might be better to scale back the emphasis, and simply put "test the translator's resourcefulness". (The original doesn't say "dans ses derniers retranchements", after all.)

siragui
Local time: 03:12
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Insofar as this one of the major ideas is 'the limits' of translation, I have a pb with limits - otherwise I like your suggestion.. how about "to the utmost"?

Asker: Many thanks for your comments


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  ormiston: nice
1 hr
  -> thanks ormiston
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16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
place him well and truly on his mettle


Explanation:
also

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 03:12
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 32
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks CMJ

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17 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
force the translator to use all his talent and resourcefulness (to meet the challenge)


Explanation:
These obstacles force the translator to use all his talent and resourcefulness (to meet the challenge).

Let's face it, translation is a mixture of one part inspiration and two parts perspiration. Why not include the concept of "talent"?


Paul Cohen
Greenland
Local time: 23:12
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
This is the one I think! Will give the student the choice of including 'talent', (the thesis being of somewhat scientific precision) but I like your whole sentence best, and agree with your sentiment about talent!
Notes to answerer
Asker: oops, forgot my manners! Thanks Paul


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Emma Paulay
1 hr
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