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15:28 Aug 23, 2000
English to French translations [PRO]
English term or phrase:Mr.Smith is on vacation
No he is not here presently, Mr.Smith is on vacation
Explanation: "Congé" is used for shorter holidays of just a few days or a week or so, "en vacances" being used for the major holidays, in the summer for example.
NB "presently" in GB English means rather "in a short while" than "à présent" thus "at the moment". So, to an English ear (both of mine are English!), to say someone is NOT there in a short while is a rather odd turn of phrase. Further proof that US and GB English are not the same...
This part could be translated as follows :-
Non, il n'est pas là à présent/en ce moment. OR Il est absent actuellement.
Collins & Robert and what I hear being used around me all the time
Explanation: "Non, M. Smith n'est pas ici en ce moment. Il est en vacances."
I would translate with the word "vacances" in preference to "congé", which gives more the idea of some "time off" for some reason often other than vacation. For instance, you have a "congé de maladie", or "congé de formation", or "congé parental", etc. Of course, it can also be used as "congé annuel" meaning annual vacation. It also gives the idea of having to have permission to take such time off. (I am using my Petit Robert dictionary as a resource here.)
Vacances is used in the plural form to mean "Repos, cessation des occupations, du travail ordinaires." also "Temps de repos excédant quelques jours, accordé légalement aux employés, aux salariés." (same source.)