s'approprient les obstacles

English translation: conquer the obstacles [of the urban landscape]

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:s\'approprient les obstacles
English translation:conquer the obstacles [of the urban landscape]
Entered by: LaraBarnett

23:24 Oct 22, 2013
French to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / in a Film Synopsis
French term or phrase: s'approprient les obstacles
This is describing how the youths in Sao Paolo scale buildings to reach their football pitch.

"La ville est leur domaine. Ils défient les lois de la gravité et s'approprient les obstacles de la structure urbaine. Une "team" de 3 jeunes acrobates sautent, grimpent toujours plus haut, jouant les équilibristes, pour rejoindre un "terrain suspendu” dans la ville"

I was considering using "take over" for "s'approprient" with the idea that they take over the faces of the urban structures as they scale them. But I am not sure what I would use for "obstacles" in this case as "faces" would not work as a good translation for "obstacles". Could I use take over the "boundaries" or "walls"?
LaraBarnett
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:12
conquer the obstacles [of the urban landscape]
Explanation:
Since 'structure' is singular, I take 'la structure urbaine' to refer to the urban (built) landscape as a whole, and 'obstacles' to refer to the elements of this landscape that, for these youths, are like parts of a giant obstacle course that they 'make their own'.

I think there are a few possibilities for 's'approprient', including your 'take over', but also 'master', 'claim ownership of', even 'tame'. 'Conquer' for me captures both the take over idea and the fact that these obstacles are not really obstacles for them.

Selected response from:

Melissa McMahon
Australia
Local time: 18:12
Grading comment
Thank you.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
3 +4conquer the obstacles [of the urban landscape]
Melissa McMahon
3 +3they make these "obstacles" their own/their playground
polyglot45
3 +2take ownership of the obstacles
DLyons
3 +2make short work of
SafeTex
3 +2transform the urban fabric into an obstacle course
tatyana000
4take the urban obstacles in their stride
Helen Hammond
4are perfectly at home scrambling over (scaling) the urban terrain
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
2take on the hurdles
Daniel Weston


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
take on the hurdles


Explanation:
Maybe? They take on the hurdles of urban structures?

Daniel Weston
United States
Local time: 01:12
Meets criteria
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: 'take on' sounds a bit like confronting them, which seems to me to be taking us further from the idea of 's'approprier'
2 mins

neutral  Emma Paulay: Not quite. But "take the hurdles of the urban landscape in their stride" might do it.
5 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
conquer the obstacles [of the urban landscape]


Explanation:
Since 'structure' is singular, I take 'la structure urbaine' to refer to the urban (built) landscape as a whole, and 'obstacles' to refer to the elements of this landscape that, for these youths, are like parts of a giant obstacle course that they 'make their own'.

I think there are a few possibilities for 's'approprient', including your 'take over', but also 'master', 'claim ownership of', even 'tame'. 'Conquer' for me captures both the take over idea and the fact that these obstacles are not really obstacles for them.



Melissa McMahon
Australia
Local time: 18:12
Meets criteria
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44
Grading comment
Thank you.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  ormiston: I actually prefer your verb (and not make too much of a meal of the exploit) but would say 'barriers'
8 hrs

agree  David Goward: I quite like the idea of "tame" actually.
9 hrs

agree  Janice Giffin: Good idea, the urban landscape as a whole and I also prefer barriers that ormiston has suggested
12 hrs

agree  Karen Vincent-Jones
12 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
make short work of


Explanation:
I propose this English expression, not only cos I believe it fits, but I like the use of 'short' here to overcome 'tall' obstacles.

I don't believe that a literal translation (take ownership of) works at all IMHO


    Reference: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/make+short+work+of
SafeTex
France
Local time: 10:12
Meets criteria
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 11

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Linda Brunet
1 hr

agree  David Goward
2 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
they make these "obstacles" their own/their playground


Explanation:
they defy the laws of gravity and annexe the urban furniture

polyglot45
Meets criteria
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 227

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: makes sense to me!//Seeing ormiston's comment below, I'd say I prefer the 'playground' option. They are using the obstacles as their gym apparatus, rather (a bit!) as we used to love playing "Pirates"
1 hr

agree  Miranda Joubioux: yes, nicely put!
1 hr

neutral  ormiston: slight hesitation about making an obstacle your own (obstacle)// Actually my doubt is about the (nice) idiom IN CONTEXT because if you make an ('obstacle') your own it sounds like it has become...an ('obstacle')!
1 hr
  -> I don't like obstacle myself but I was short of a word and that wasn't the question - whence the inverted commas

agree  kashew
2 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
transform the urban fabric into an obstacle course


Explanation:
just another option if you want to get further away from the text. Essentially, this is what they're doing.

tatyana000
Local time: 10:12
Meets criteria
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: yes, nicely put!
1 hr

agree  Emma Paulay
2 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
take ownership of the obstacles


Explanation:
Sounds like this is about parkour. You may find the link helpful.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 9 mins (2013-10-22 23:33:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Barriers might work also.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 hrs (2013-10-23 10:40:55 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Re figurative usage of this phrase: OED gives "The fact or state of being or feeling responsible for solving a problem, addressing an issue" so a figurative usage certainly exists (and is quite common). Where Carol and Emma's reservations arise (I think) is in using this for something physical like an obstacle. In the physical case, "take ownership" is predominantly used literally, you legally own the object subsequently.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 hrs (2013-10-23 10:48:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

But the figurative use certainly exists e.g. "Our primary goal is to motivate millions of people across thousands of watersheds to take ownership of their streams and rivers ..."


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour
DLyons
Ireland
Local time: 09:12
Meets criteria
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Verginia Ophof
2 hrs
  -> Merci Verginia.

agree  Daryo
3 hrs
  -> Thanks Daryo.

neutral  Emma Paulay: This doesn't work for me.//It's a literal translation. The Fr verb "s'approprier" has a wider field of application than the En equivalent. In English you wouldn't use "take ownership" figuratively.
5 hrs
  -> Thanks Emma. You could be right but why doesn't it work for you?// See my note to Carol. Re "you wouldn't use 'take ownership' figuratively" I think we'll just have to agree to differ, it feels natural to me.

neutral  Carol Gullidge: nor me//Doesn't sound natural - I just couldn't imagine anyone English saying it!
8 hrs
  -> Thanks Carol. You could be right but why doesn't it work for you?//Certainly wouldn't work in speech, but the source seems to me to be in that slightly elevated register which is common in French and "take ownership" matches that IMHO :-)

neutral  David Goward: nor me! / For the same reasons as Emma & Carol. However, considering your note at 10:48:12 (...take ownership of their streams...", I admit a "disagree" was a bit OTT.
9 hrs
  -> Thanks David. You could be right but why doesn't it work for you?
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

13 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
are perfectly at home scrambling over (scaling) the urban terrain


Explanation:
There are any number of ways of saying this but I think the solution lies some distance from a literal rendering. The previous sentence refers to "leur ville". We know they feel it's theirs. The next sentence, the case in point, takes the notion of belonging "s'approprier" in describing how the team goes about making it their town. I reckon you can play on the image of how at ease they are. Not sure "scramble" is the right term (quite like the Asker's "scale"), but I am quite happy with the idea of the expression "to be at home + ING".

Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Local time: 10:12
Meets criteria
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 115
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 day 13 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
take the urban obstacles in their stride


Explanation:
like the sense of movement, plus overcoming difficulties

Helen Hammond
France
Local time: 10:12
Meets criteria
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



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.

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:

Your current localization setting

English

Select a language

Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search