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Le Limousin (definite article)

English translation: Limousin [no article] or (better) the Limousin region

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:Le Limousin (definite article)
English translation:Limousin [no article] or (better) the Limousin region
Entered by: Lesley Clayton
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

13:13 Feb 10, 2009
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics
French term or phrase: Le Limousin (definite article)
Examples of text: Le Limousin en quelques chiffres; Le Limousin, une région au carrefour de l’Europe.

In the above examples, I would not translate the definite article. I would put 'Limousin', and not 'the Limousin'. My client is insisting that it should be 'the Limousin'.

I've looked this up and found conflicting advice.
Under 'le', Robert & Collins Senior says: (devant nom propre: singulier) non traduit.
In the English grammar section, Harrap's Shorter says: les noms de régions prennent l'article: the Tyrol, the Orient, the Ruhr, the Crimea etc.
Under 'articles .. place names', Michael Swan (Practical English Usage) says: We usually use no article with: continents, countries, states, counties, departments etc (Africa, Brazil, Texas, Berkshire, Westphalia).

So which should it be - 'Limousin' or 'the Limousin'?
Lesley Clayton
France
Local time: 19:44
Limousin [no article] or (better) the Limousin region
Explanation:
This is my own policy!

If we were talking about the UK situaion, we would talk about 'Wessex', or else 'the Wessex region'.

Withion the country / culture, everyone knows that Wessex or Limousin are regions; but outside it, readers might be forgiven for not knowing with any great detail what is a département, a region, etc., and I think the most helpful thing to do is to spell it out in one or two key places where it can be fitted in seamlessly, and then elsewhere, just refer to it as 'Limousin'.

Although it may be the convention in the source language / culture, it seems to me that a translator has to guard against producing a risible result in the target language — after all, just because it is called 'Le Cap' in FR, we wouldn't feel obliged to write 'The Cape Town' in En, now would we?!

I feel the same applies to départements — I believe we should say 'Dordogne' when we mean the département, and 'the Dordogne' when we mean the river; just as we would refer to the county in the UK as 'Avon', but to the river as 'the Avon'.

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Note added at 16 mins (2009-02-10 13:29:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think Vassilios has highlighted an important point: this is a specific, clearly defined region, not simply an area of territory — something like 'the Tyrol' equates more to 'the North of England', or 'the Thames Valley', for example.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 20 mins (2009-02-10 13:33:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Like I said at the outset, I would be tempted to occasionally add in the 'region' even where it isn't used in FR, to allow for the possibly inferior geographical knowledge of an EN reader.

Do note carefully, though, that where 'Région' is used in FR, this very often in fact will be referring to the regional administration / authorities etc. — things like "this project is being funded by the Region", so you may need to find a way to reflect that nuance in your translation.
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 19:44
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone for your very helpful contributions, references and discussion.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +3Limousin [no article] or (better) the Limousin region
Tony M
5Limousin
Vassilis Paraskevas
4the Limousin regionwordgirl
3 +1The Limousin...
Fiorsam
4Limousin/the Limousin area
Susanna Garcia


Discussion entries: 6





  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Limousin/the Limousin area


Explanation:
Don't you just hate it when that happens!

I'd do as above - one or the other personally

Susanna Garcia
Local time: 18:44
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: I would avoid using the hazy 'area', since Limousin is literally a region.
6 mins
  -> sorry - I meant region. You're quite right.
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
The Limousin...


Explanation:
...or
the Limousin region

Fiorsam
United States
Local time: 13:44
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Italian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  rkillings: Of course. It's "the Dordogne" nearby, so why not "the Limousin"? Besides, the client is always right.:-)
16 hrs
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13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Limousin


Explanation:
THE goes with:
-Geographical names of plural form (The Himalayas, The US, etc)
-Rivers, canals, expanses of water, areas of territory (e.g. The Crimea, The Suez Canal, The Thames, The Rhine etc) **Limousin is not an area of territory**
- Theatres, galleris, major buildings (The Eiffel Tower etc.)
- Ships and aircrat (The Titanic etc.)
- Journals (The Times etc.)
(from Greenbaum & Quirk)

Vassilis Paraskevas
Local time: 20:44
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GreekGreek
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Limousin [no article] or (better) the Limousin region


Explanation:
This is my own policy!

If we were talking about the UK situaion, we would talk about 'Wessex', or else 'the Wessex region'.

Withion the country / culture, everyone knows that Wessex or Limousin are regions; but outside it, readers might be forgiven for not knowing with any great detail what is a département, a region, etc., and I think the most helpful thing to do is to spell it out in one or two key places where it can be fitted in seamlessly, and then elsewhere, just refer to it as 'Limousin'.

Although it may be the convention in the source language / culture, it seems to me that a translator has to guard against producing a risible result in the target language — after all, just because it is called 'Le Cap' in FR, we wouldn't feel obliged to write 'The Cape Town' in En, now would we?!

I feel the same applies to départements — I believe we should say 'Dordogne' when we mean the département, and 'the Dordogne' when we mean the river; just as we would refer to the county in the UK as 'Avon', but to the river as 'the Avon'.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 16 mins (2009-02-10 13:29:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think Vassilios has highlighted an important point: this is a specific, clearly defined region, not simply an area of territory — something like 'the Tyrol' equates more to 'the North of England', or 'the Thames Valley', for example.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 20 mins (2009-02-10 13:33:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Like I said at the outset, I would be tempted to occasionally add in the 'region' even where it isn't used in FR, to allow for the possibly inferior geographical knowledge of an EN reader.

Do note carefully, though, that where 'Région' is used in FR, this very often in fact will be referring to the regional administration / authorities etc. — things like "this project is being funded by the Region", so you may need to find a way to reflect that nuance in your translation.

Tony M
France
Local time: 19:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 23
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone for your very helpful contributions, references and discussion.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mary Davis
26 mins
  -> Thanks, Mary!

agree  Charlie Bavington: Yup, this gives her some ammunition - altho ultimately if her client insists, what can she do? East Anglia is another "region" where Lesley might be able to show we don't use "the"
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Charlie! yes, there really are loads of good examples,a ren't there? I guess it all depends if this stubborn client is a nnative FR person or not,, as to how open they may be to being persuaded.

agree  xxxEuqinimod
7 hrs
  -> Merci, Dominique !
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the Limousin region


Explanation:
always important to make clients happy... so how about using the word region?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 mins (2009-02-10 13:36:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

By the way, I agree with you that in this case the article is not really indicated, as GENERALLY the def. article is not used with countries and political divisions inside countries, while with geographical areas it is used more, hence the Sahara (desert), the Tyrol (socio-cultural/geographical area extending over more than one country), the Orient (includes many countries) and the Amazon.
For further amunition with your client:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/eslart.html
:) hope this helps!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 30 mins (2009-02-10 13:44:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Hi, with regard to your note (which I just saw, sorry!) - I haven't seen your doc, but I am imagining that both terms "région Limousin" and "Le Limousin" are in actuality referring to the same area, so I would use region again (after all, that is what it is) or even (depending on the type of document, as it is oh so slightly tongue in cheek) use "Le Limousin" but in italics (you know, local flavour and all...). What sort of doc is it, anyway?

Example sentence(s):
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limousin_(region)
wordgirl
Italy
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: There were places in the text where it said la Région Limousin, which I translated as the Limousin Region, but there were other times when Le Limousin was on its own as in the examples.

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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
Non-PRO (1): juliebarba


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Changes made by editors
Feb 10, 2009 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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