KudoZ home » French to English » Poetry & Literature

y voyait

English translation: Dawn broke with this sign, which S. saw less clearly than before

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.
02:06 Sep 6, 2006
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
French term or phrase: y voyait
not sure what the ''y'' refers to here:

L'aube s'annonçait à ce signe, que Sacqueville y voyait moins clair qu'auparavant.
Tegan Raleigh
United States
Local time: 05:21
English translation:Dawn broke with this sign, which S. saw less clearly than before
Explanation:
Normally the Y refers back to something (ie. it, there) : Est-ce que vous êtes allée chez le medecin? Oui j'y suis allée...

But, I hesitate as the Y seems superfluous if it means as I have suggested, as without the Y the sentence also means that he saw the sign less clearly than before...

I would need to discuss it with my French oracle, but he's not available for another 4 hours.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 9 hrs (2006-09-06 11:40:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The oracle (my French husband, a literature teacher), says that he thinks the comma is the problem and that it shouldn't be there at all.
A literal, but not pretty, translation is : The sign that dawn was breaking was that S. could see less clearly.
The y in this context doesn't refer to any part of the sentence, in the same way as je n'y vois rien (I can't see anything)
Hope that helps.
Selected response from:

Emma Cypher-Dournes
Spain
Local time: 14:21
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +2could see less clearlyMatthewLaSon
3Dawn broke with this sign, which S. saw less clearly than before
Emma Cypher-Dournes
5 -2Y =
algtranslator
4 -1"y" refers here to the uncertain light of dawn
swisstell


Discussion entries: 13





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
"y" refers here to the uncertain light of dawn


Explanation:
... when he saw less clearly than before

swisstell
Italy
Local time: 14:21
Works in field
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jlrsnyder
7 mins

disagree  Diane de Cicco: no, "y" here comes from the expression "y voir clair" (to see clearly)
4 hrs

disagree  Fiorsam: agree with Diane
6 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -2
Y =


Explanation:
Y remplace un mot qui n'est pas une personne et qui commence par dans, à la, à l', au, aux... Ici, ce signe...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2006-09-06 03:51:44 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It's like "The dawn light spread on Sacquenville made a sign that was darker then before/ it used to.."

algtranslator
United States
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  MatthewLaSon: "Y" does not always act as substitute. If I say "J'y vois bien" (when referring solely to vision). What is the "y" referring to? It seems to be an empty pronoun, but arguably has spatial implications. It is not clear whether "y" is always a substitute.
1 hr
  -> J'y vois bien.. why not je vois bien? Because Y refers to what you see! Y n'est pas une déco...

agree  xxxsarahl: To ICETRANCE: j'y vois for I can see is colloquial. Y is always a pronoun.//la shukran 3ala ouajib!
2 hrs
  -> Shukran!

disagree  Diane de Cicco: no, "y" here comes from the expression "y voir clair" (to see clearly)
4 hrs
  -> Et voir clair?

disagree  Fiorsam: agree with Diane
6 hrs
  -> Would love to discover the RULE about the formal use of "Y VOIR"! Where did you learn this? This is really NEW!

disagree  Alexandra Speirs: agree wih Diane and Fiorsam
11 hrs
  -> Just following I guess?
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Dawn broke with this sign, which S. saw less clearly than before


Explanation:
Normally the Y refers back to something (ie. it, there) : Est-ce que vous êtes allée chez le medecin? Oui j'y suis allée...

But, I hesitate as the Y seems superfluous if it means as I have suggested, as without the Y the sentence also means that he saw the sign less clearly than before...

I would need to discuss it with my French oracle, but he's not available for another 4 hours.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 9 hrs (2006-09-06 11:40:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The oracle (my French husband, a literature teacher), says that he thinks the comma is the problem and that it shouldn't be there at all.
A literal, but not pretty, translation is : The sign that dawn was breaking was that S. could see less clearly.
The y in this context doesn't refer to any part of the sentence, in the same way as je n'y vois rien (I can't see anything)
Hope that helps.


Emma Cypher-Dournes
Spain
Local time: 14:21
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Fiorsam: Your husband is right. I hadn't seen your note with his translation before. It's good! --To insist on this meaning of "y" is to go back to French 101. "Y voir clair" is an idiomatic expression where "y" is whatever your surroundings are at any given mom
2 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
could see less clearly


Explanation:
Hello,

In French, "y voir" simply means "to see" as in one's vision (vue)

The "y" doesn't translate into English.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 43 mins (2006-09-06 02:50:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

When referring to one's vision, "y" is an "empty pronoun" when put in front of the verb "voir" (fixed expression: y voir). It could be argued, nonetheless, that this "y" has spatial implications; that is, it may serve as an adverb, meaning "in one's surroundings", or "what surrounds someone."

The "y" is to be used in combination with the verb "voir" when referring solely to vision.

Comment y voyez-vous = How well can you see?
J'y vois bien/mal = I can see well/I can't see well
Tu y vois bien? = Can you see well?

I hope this helps.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2006-09-06 03:26:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I am not sure without more context. My confidance should be a 1, not a 4.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 hrs (2006-09-06 23:14:26 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

French prefers to eliminate the "pouvoir" with certain sensory verbs (voir, entendre) whereas English prefers its usage.

J'entends mal le bruit = I can't hear the noise
Je vois mal l'arbre = I can't see the tree

Also, "y" can be viewed as an "empty pronoun" or an "abstract pronoun." I personally believe that it is acting as an "abstract pronoun" (what surrounds one), but it must remain untranslated in English. This is an excellent topic for French linguists.

I hope you are less confused now.

My confidance is now a 4.

MatthewLaSon
Local time: 08:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  algtranslator: Sorry, Y replaces a word here to avoid repetition. Y voir means voir qqc. Voir = to see :-) + Si on ne sais pas de quoi on parle, on ne dit pas j'y vois
6 mins
  -> Not always. See above.

agree  Diane de Cicco: absolutely
4 hrs
  -> Thank you! I appreciate it.

agree  Fiorsam: Yes!!! And this (the fact that he sees less clearly) is also the "sign" that dawn is approaching.
6 hrs
  -> Thank you! I appreciate it.

neutral  writeaway: no 'pouvoir' involved. ability isn't in the French text
8 hrs
  -> I disagree. "I don't see it" means "I can't see it". It's that simple. French prefers not to use "pouvoir" with many sensory verbs such as "voir" or "entendre". "Je vois mal le lac d'ici" = "I can't (not "don't") see the lake well from here."
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