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La rentrée -how do you translate this?
Thread poster: Louise TAYLOR

Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
French to English
Jul 14, 2015

I often translate for for catalogues and clothes web sites and when I come across phrase with "la rentrée" I wish that we had a snappy way of saying it.

For me it depends on whether it is children's clothes or adults clothes and how the phrase is put together. For adults it will be the end of the holidays or the summer. For children it is back to school. My daughter (100% French) assures me that it is really only the first day back at school. But with phrases like "un indispensable de la rentrée" the client will not want to suggest that this garment/footwear is only for one day.

What do you use? I would be interested to know how others translate this well used phrase.

Louise


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
The problem is... Jul 14, 2015

...that in the non-Latin world there is no such thing as the summer mass "exodus" when everyone leaves the cities, and consequently there is no mass "rentrée" either ("rientro" in Italian).

So I think you'll just have to go for something non-snappy, such as "at the end of the hot summer holidays when the entire population of all the cities, who had all left in July, all come back in one weekend at the end of August and create major traffic jams"



Maybe just "back to school" would do here.

[Edited at 2015-07-14 15:58 GMT]


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Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Snappy.. Jul 14, 2015

Yes - that sounds great Tom and a perfect description. Might not fit in the short description box

Back to school is what I use for children. Back to work - no. End of the holidays or end of the summer for adults clothes.

[Edited at 2015-07-14 12:29 GMT]


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Texte Style
Local time: 19:11
French to English
What's wrong with back to work? Jul 14, 2015

I have used "back to work" on occasion.

Then again, if it's a title in a catalogue, why tie yourself down? The English speaking people who'll be looking at the catalogue are looking for new clothes for the autumn, so why not attack from their angle and find a snappy title that will attract their attention?

You'll need perhaps to check out the clothes on sale in the catalogue, but "Look awesome this autumn" might well be a suitable sort of heading.

Of course, this is where translation slips into transcreation. I would only offer that level of quality if the client is paying a decent rate, doesn't insist on deadly deadlines and pays up before I've had time to print their invoice out.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
When summer goes serious Jul 14, 2015

When the silly season is over

The smart end of summer

I had a client who always went on and on with clichés about 'pre-autumn' (definitely not what he really meant!)

These were a couple of suggestions I came up with. I'm not sure they ever made the catalogues - my texts used to be mashed up quite a bit, but I renounced all connection with them except in my own original versions.


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
German to English
School's back Jul 14, 2015

"Time for term" or "Let's get down to business", "Getting back to business", "New year - New you". Something along those lines.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:11
Chinese to English
Dial a Marxist Jul 14, 2015

It seems to me we need a little class analysis here. Because as I'm understanding it, this rentree is an absolutely outrageously upper class/bourgeois concept. I'm pretty sure that most people with non-public sector jobs don't get to leave the city for the whole summer.

So what you're after is a word which implies that kind of bourgeois lifestyle in the UK/American context. And it's formal wear for hot weather, is it? You can't knock around in the old shorts you wear in the countryside now that you're back in cultured Paris, but it's still hot? Smart casual+class shibboleths... this has got to be possible.

Referring to the city as "town" is an old-fashioned way of signalling that you have a country house as well. Bit passe, but you might be able to use it. What about "the season"... no, just checked, wrong time of year. Shows what I know! ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season_(society) )

So my best idea would be to use "town", but there must be something more modern. Need to hang out with more posh folk!


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Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting... Jul 14, 2015

Some nice suggestions there Christine. I might try them out next time.

Phil - the phrase is used by anyone and everyone for the end of the holidays and going back to school or work. Even people who haven't been away from the city or the town. It isn't only for the posh people. Tom was just being amusing although it has been said that if you invaded France in the Summer no one would be there to defend it as they are all on holiday.

When the children in my village talk about "la rentrée" they are simply talking about returning to school.

As for cities or towns - a city has a cathedral a town doesn't, I don't think the other meaning is used any more. The old fashioned use that you stated wouldn't really work in the general sense.

- a great shirt for returning to town

What about all those who don't have a town house and a country house.

Season might work though - the end of the holiday season - the late holiday season - or Christine's - silly season - those who have been working the fields all summer or directing holiday traffic might not think of it in quite those terms.

I could try using those somewhere - see what the clients think.


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M-E BELL  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member
English to French
+ ...
The concept of 'La rentrée' Jul 14, 2015

is, indeed, typically French. It applies to all layers of society and simply means 'back to work after the summer break'.
So, it is 'back to school', and this is not just one day, but the period following the start of school I am also 100 % French!), but also 'back to work'.
I don't think there's any need for more details as when you say 'back to work', I believe it's generally assumed that you mean you have been on holidays, however long they were.
Something like "Back to work/late summer must have" ??? By the way, is it for adults or school-age children/teens?
Back to school also works for parents whose life is, or has been, organised around children and it is still the simplest way to translate 'la rentrée', because there is a back to school day/period in every country, and it always means after the summer break.

Good luck Louise!


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Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Back to school .... Jul 14, 2015

Thanks M-E Bell

It looks like I have been using the most common then - back to school for children's clothes and end of summer for adult's. I do both and at the moment doing some new catalogues for the end of summer season. It comes up a lot in descriptions along with "ultra-everything" and "Vitiminée". Buzz words of the season

I think what my daughter is referring to is when all the children get together to discuss what they are going to wear for 'La rentrée' - meaning just that one day. I wasn't schooled in France and so don't have that cultural background - my daughter has been at school here for 16 years, apparently what you wear for that fist day back is very important.

I don't have a problem with the phrases I use I'm just interested in what others do.

Thanks for the good wishes also!


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Faustine Roux  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:11
English to French
school in the UK ? Jul 14, 2015

I might be completely off-topic here, but if you translate these catalogues for the UK market, should you really translate "la rentrée" as "back to school" for children ?
I mean, since they have to wear their school uniforms, the "back to school" idea for clothes seems a bit inappropriate, to my very humble opinion.
What about the "end of the holiday" idea for both adults and children, when it comes to clothes ? And the concept of "rentrée d'école" for all school related items (bags, stationary...)

Just a thought.


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Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Uniforms Jul 14, 2015

You have a good point there Faustine that I had not previously considered. I should have as I well remember donning my uniform at the end of summer. Hated it!

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:11
Hebrew to English
What’s in a word? La rentrée in translation Jul 14, 2015

I found the discussion of this term here: http://jaltranslation.com/tag/la-rentree/ to be rather illuminating.

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Louise TAYLOR  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:11
Member (2015)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Wonderful Jul 14, 2015

Thanks Ty

That is a great article and sums up all the problems there are in translating this phrase.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:11
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
US usage - an interesting counterpoint Jul 14, 2015

In the US, while the ubiquitous "back to school" sales do mark the end of children's summer holidays, for parents they symbolize not a return to post-vacation drudgery (what's a "vacation"? ) but freedom regained (especially for stay-at-home parents)! With the children happily ensconced in their classrooms again, parents no longer have to plan the kids' entire days and weeks, pay for expensive day care or camps, and so on.

There's no real adult equivalent - we just ride the kids' back-to-school coattails.


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