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métallurgie...l'orfèvrerie

English translation: the art of working gold, silver and copper

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:la métallurgie du cuivre et l\'orfèvrerie
English translation:the art of working gold, silver and copper
Entered by: Charles Davis

20:05 Aug 13, 2017
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Archaeology / ancient art
French term or phrase: métallurgie...l'orfèvrerie
Hi again!
DOC: 1907 Museum catalog of ancient Egyptian mirrors.
CONTEXT: Patine. - Le pouvoir réfléchissant n'était pas uniquement obtenu par le poli du métal sous son aspect le plus brillant. On savait aussi l'obtenir d'une patine sombre.
Les Égyptiens appréciaient au moins autant que nous la beauté dont une patine naturelle ou artificielle pare les métaux. En cela comme en tout ce qui touche à la métallurgie du cuivre et ***à l'orfèvrerie***, ils étaient passés maîtres.
SOME ATTEMPTS: In this, as with anything related to copper metallurgy and
to the art of silver- and goldsmithing, they became masters.
to silver- and goldsmithing trades, they became masters.
to silver- and goldsmithing trades, they became masters.
to silver- and goldmithery, they become masters
ISSUE: Could my author just be saying: anything related to copper, silver, and gold metallurgy?
In English there's plenty of examples of "gold metallurgy" and "silver metallurgy" but in French I searched for "métallurgie d'or" and "métallurgie d'argent" but it's incredibly rare. So I'm wondering if this is the way to say "silver and gold metalllurgy" in French?
Thanks in advance for any clarification or suggestions on how best to translate this!
angela3thomas
United States
working gold, silver and copper
Explanation:
I don't think it's enough just to mention the metals. In my opinion, the word "working" ought to be in there. Orfèvrerie is an art and craft, not a technology; it's not about smelting gold and silver but about working them to produce decorative objects.

Métallurgie is a (partially) false friend and the word "metallurgy" should certainly not appear here. In English it means the science and technology of metals. It can mean that in French, but it can also mean "travail des métaux" ( métallurgie de transformation, http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/métallurgie ), and that's what it must mean here: "métallurgie du cuivre" means working copper, just as "orfèvrerie" means working gold and silver (or just gold, but I think we should assume that silver is included too). I am sure that the three metals are being referred to in the same way.

Anything with "goldsmith" or "silversmith" is awkward, as your suggestions show. I think just "working gold, silver and copper" is the way to go. The order of the metals can be as you wish, but to me the most natural order is from greater to lesser value.

"Mesopotamian craftsmen excelled in the technique of working gold, silver, and copper"
https://archive.org/stream/historyofart00invinc/historyofart...

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Note added at 5 hrs (2017-08-14 01:56:49 GMT)
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In fact I would be inclined to make it even more specific, and say "the art of working gold, silver and copper".

As I said in my response to Phil, if you say: "in that, as in everything to do with copper, gold and silver, they were past masters", the reader is very likely to understand that the Egyptians were experts in all aspects of these metals, not just in working them artistically. This may be true (it probably is), but it is certainly not what the author is saying here.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 02:29
Grading comment
An essential, educational, enlightening, and clear explanation. Thank you so, so much! And thanks to everyone else who weighed in.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +2working gold, silver and copper
Charles Davis
4 +1working with copper or silver- or goldsmithing
Christopher Crockett
4copper, silver and gold (metallurgy)
philgoddard


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
métallurgie...l\'orfèvrerie
copper, silver and gold (metallurgy)


Explanation:
I would leave out "metallurgy" as I think it goes without saying when you've just listed three metals. But you could include it if you want to.

philgoddard
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 52

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: I agree with Charles: we do need to keep the notion of 'working' here, and 'metallurgy' is a false friend in this instance.
10 hrs
  -> If you say someone is a master of gold, it means they're a master at making things out of gold, not making the metal - gold is gold.
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36 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
métallurgie...l\'orfèvrerie
working gold, silver and copper


Explanation:
I don't think it's enough just to mention the metals. In my opinion, the word "working" ought to be in there. Orfèvrerie is an art and craft, not a technology; it's not about smelting gold and silver but about working them to produce decorative objects.

Métallurgie is a (partially) false friend and the word "metallurgy" should certainly not appear here. In English it means the science and technology of metals. It can mean that in French, but it can also mean "travail des métaux" ( métallurgie de transformation, http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/métallurgie ), and that's what it must mean here: "métallurgie du cuivre" means working copper, just as "orfèvrerie" means working gold and silver (or just gold, but I think we should assume that silver is included too). I am sure that the three metals are being referred to in the same way.

Anything with "goldsmith" or "silversmith" is awkward, as your suggestions show. I think just "working gold, silver and copper" is the way to go. The order of the metals can be as you wish, but to me the most natural order is from greater to lesser value.

"Mesopotamian craftsmen excelled in the technique of working gold, silver, and copper"
https://archive.org/stream/historyofart00invinc/historyofart...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 hrs (2017-08-14 01:56:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In fact I would be inclined to make it even more specific, and say "the art of working gold, silver and copper".

As I said in my response to Phil, if you say: "in that, as in everything to do with copper, gold and silver, they were past masters", the reader is very likely to understand that the Egyptians were experts in all aspects of these metals, not just in working them artistically. This may be true (it probably is), but it is certainly not what the author is saying here.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 02:29
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 52
Grading comment
An essential, educational, enlightening, and clear explanation. Thank you so, so much! And thanks to everyone else who weighed in.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  philgoddard: It's obvious from the context that it's about working these metals, not making them. They're talking about how beautiful the mirrors are.
3 hrs
  -> No, I think you're wrong. If you don't include a verb you're saying that they were experts in patinas and everything else to do with these metals. There's no good argument for omitting it; you save one word, but change the meaning.

agree  Tony M: Excellent analysis — totally agree with your arguments. 'orfèvrerie' is always both gold and silver, since 'argentfèvrerie' doesn't exist, niether does 'cuivrefèvrerie', hence the unavoidable use of 'métallurgie' here. Edit gloss?
10 hrs
  -> Thanks very much, Tony! // Done. Thanks for the reminder. OK now?

agree  Christopher Crockett
2 days 19 hrs
  -> Thank you very much, Christopher
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17 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
métallurgie...l\'orfèvrerie
working with copper or silver- or goldsmithing


Explanation:
"The Egyptians fully appreciated the beauty of a patina (natural or artificial) as much as we do. In that respect, as in everything having to do with working with copper or with silver- or goldsmithing, they were supreme masters."

I prefer your own translation of orfèvrerie as "silver- or goldsmithing."

Note that, though the OED allows as how "smithing" can apply to "the art or process of fashioning or forging [any] metals"

http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/182662?redirectedFrom=smithing...

"coppersmithing" remains somewhat awkward, and "working with copper" is, for the reasons Charles mentions, preferable to trying to do anything with "metallurgy."

Christopher Crockett
Local time: 20:29
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 131

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  writeaway
2 days 1 hr
  -> Thanks, Write. Much as I hate not being able to make a verb out of a proper name and loosing "smithing," perhaps Charles' answer is superior.
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