Il voit immédiatement une montagne d'obstacles

English translation: They immediately see a mountain of obstacles

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:Il voit immédiatement une montagne d'obstacles
English translation:They immediately see a mountain of obstacles
Entered by: Yolanda Broad

18:44 Dec 10, 2016
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
Social Sciences - Psychology / Essays
French term or phrase: Il voit immédiatement une montagne d'obstacles
Pour le pessimiste, il n’y a dans l’année que des jours nuageux et pluvieux, à peine éclairés, il accepte de le reconnaître, par quelques rayons de soleil. Pour l’optimiste, au contraire, il n’y a que des journées ensoleillées entrecoupées de quelques pluies bénéfiques. On présente un projet au pessimiste ? Il voit immédiatement une montagne d’obstacles qui vont s’opposer à sa réalisation. L’optimiste, au contraire, accepte tout nouveau projet
Chakib Roula
Algeria
Local time: 21:51
They immediately see a mountain of obstacles
Explanation:
To be slightly less effusive than 'a mountain of...', you might tone it down a bit to something like 'a whole heap of...'

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Note added at 40 minutes (2016-12-10 19:24:33 GMT)
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For a more natural-sounding word order in EN, you could try 'At once, they see...' — and this would have the possibly advantage of allowing you to run it directly on from the previous sentence, where the FR rhetorical question sist rather less comfortably in EN.

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Note added at 48 minutes (2016-12-10 19:33:06 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I cannot subscribe to Barbara Cochran's claim that 'immediately' is over used — for a start, we have no idea if it ever occurs again in the source text! I certainly wouldn't want to see it on a recurrent basis, but I do feel that here, specifically, it does help to convey the—immediacy!—of the typical pessimist's reaction. I did, however, suggest 'at once' as being a slightly less formal way of expressing that immediacy; I'd be reluctant to depart much further from the regsiter of the source text.

I do think this is one of those cases where the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" applies — the source text is well written in a natural, non-literary style, and lends itself well to a fairly literal natural, idiomatic rendering in EN, avoiding the pitfall of adding the frills and furbelows of self-conscious style.

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Note added at 1 jour4 minutes (2016-12-11 18:49:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To address a couple of issues raised:

The normally plural pronoun 'they' (et al.) is increasingly accepted these days as a 'neuter' singular pronoun, but as W/A rightly points out, needs to be used with an eye to the surrounding context; certainly, it CAN be used with a singular subject: "Ask a pessimist... and they'll tell you...". However, in certain of the circumstances we have here, it might well be necessary to make the subjects plural as well, for the sake of its "sounding right".

Regarding the use of 'mountain' — yes, I too had a hesitation here; that's why I was trying to look for an alternative, but as Nikki rightly says 'heaps of' is really too far out of register, as would be 'loads of' and any of the other similar expressions I was able to come up with.

I did also consider the idea of using an adjective to describe the obstacles, instead of a quantitative modifier; but I just have this niggling doubt that 'insurmountable' slightly over-translates here; though I hasten to add I don't have strong feelings about this! It's just that to me 'mountain' seems to me to suggest something that merely appears insurmountable to our poor pessismist. And I think there are some precedents for using a term like 'mountain' without its being hyperbole — "making a mountian out of a molehill" comes to mind, as well as Donna Summers's "Ain't no mountain high enough..."
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 22:51
Grading comment
Thank you Tony.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +7They immediately see a mountain of obstacles
Tony M
4He immediately sees a multitude of obstacles
C. Tougas
3she or he sees, and right away, what appears to be unsurmontable obstacles
Barbara Cochran, MFA


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Il voit immédiatement une montagne d\'obstacles
He immediately sees a multitude of obstacles


Explanation:
One of many possibilities

C. Tougas
Canada
Local time: 16:51
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you.

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25 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Il voit immédiatement une montagne d\'obstacles
she or he sees, and right away, what appears to be unsurmontable obstacles


Explanation:
Another possibility.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 27 mins (2016-12-10 19:11:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think that "appear" is actually the correct form of the verb, if I'm not mistaken.

Barbara Cochran, MFA
United States
Local time: 16:51
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you Barbara.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Nikki Scott-Despaigne: I like "unsurmountable" (and was just going to point out the verb). Hwvr, I think "immediately see" flows more easily than "..., and right away,..."
7 mins
  -> Nikki, the reason I didn't use "immediately" is because it is one of those words that is over-used in English. To me, "right away" would be much more engaging to a reader.

neutral  Tony M: Over-interpretation, really: there's no 'appears' in the source text; "she or he" is also unbearably clumsy, given the nature of the source text; and I can't see any justification for adding "and" — it seems to introduce a contrast not there in the S/T.
9 mins
  -> I am a literary translator, and therefore not a literal translator. Literal translation, in texts such as these, do not do justice to the source meaning.
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
Il voit immédiatement une montagne d'obstacles
They immediately see a mountain of obstacles


Explanation:
To be slightly less effusive than 'a mountain of...', you might tone it down a bit to something like 'a whole heap of...'

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 40 minutes (2016-12-10 19:24:33 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

For a more natural-sounding word order in EN, you could try 'At once, they see...' — and this would have the possibly advantage of allowing you to run it directly on from the previous sentence, where the FR rhetorical question sist rather less comfortably in EN.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 48 minutes (2016-12-10 19:33:06 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I cannot subscribe to Barbara Cochran's claim that 'immediately' is over used — for a start, we have no idea if it ever occurs again in the source text! I certainly wouldn't want to see it on a recurrent basis, but I do feel that here, specifically, it does help to convey the—immediacy!—of the typical pessimist's reaction. I did, however, suggest 'at once' as being a slightly less formal way of expressing that immediacy; I'd be reluctant to depart much further from the regsiter of the source text.

I do think this is one of those cases where the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" applies — the source text is well written in a natural, non-literary style, and lends itself well to a fairly literal natural, idiomatic rendering in EN, avoiding the pitfall of adding the frills and furbelows of self-conscious style.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 jour4 minutes (2016-12-11 18:49:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To address a couple of issues raised:

The normally plural pronoun 'they' (et al.) is increasingly accepted these days as a 'neuter' singular pronoun, but as W/A rightly points out, needs to be used with an eye to the surrounding context; certainly, it CAN be used with a singular subject: "Ask a pessimist... and they'll tell you...". However, in certain of the circumstances we have here, it might well be necessary to make the subjects plural as well, for the sake of its "sounding right".

Regarding the use of 'mountain' — yes, I too had a hesitation here; that's why I was trying to look for an alternative, but as Nikki rightly says 'heaps of' is really too far out of register, as would be 'loads of' and any of the other similar expressions I was able to come up with.

I did also consider the idea of using an adjective to describe the obstacles, instead of a quantitative modifier; but I just have this niggling doubt that 'insurmountable' slightly over-translates here; though I hasten to add I don't have strong feelings about this! It's just that to me 'mountain' seems to me to suggest something that merely appears insurmountable to our poor pessismist. And I think there are some precedents for using a term like 'mountain' without its being hyperbole — "making a mountian out of a molehill" comes to mind, as well as Donna Summers's "Ain't no mountain high enough..."

Tony M
France
Local time: 22:51
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 11
Grading comment
Thank you Tony.
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you Tony.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nikki Scott-Despaigne: I think the choice of "they" is spot on for a natural rendering. Don't like "heap" though. Could I go for a mix of "They immediately see" and Barbara's "unsurmountable obstacles"?
26 mins
  -> Thanks, Nikki! I tend to feel 'insurmountable' (sic!) rather tends to over-translate here, but each to their own. / Yes I agree about 'whole heap' — it was an afterthought, but is out of register; just trying to forestall "too literal" criticism!

agree  Jennifer White: I agree, but can't see the problem/ can see no reason for "neutral"
31 mins
  -> Thanks, Jennifer!

neutral  Barbara Cochran, MFA: Way too literal of an interpretation, IMO. More justice needs to be done in relation to the source text.
34 mins
  -> Gilding the lily has its pitfalls! ;-) BTW, where on earth do you get "literal of an interpretation" from? Doesn't sound terribly literary to me...

agree  writeaway: literal works fine. I also can't see the problem. They works but optimist and pessimist need to be plural as well. /oops errant question -along with all the rest!!!!!
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, W/A!

agree  Charles Davis: This is perfectly OK
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, again, Charles!

agree  Michele Fauble
5 hrs
  -> Merci, Michele !

neutral  polyglot45: please not 'mountain' which sounds very odd in English
16 hrs
  -> I wouldn't say "very" odd, but as I was at pains to point out, that was the one term I debated about changing, although my 'heaps' didn't go down too well with Nikki; the trouble is, all the convenient terms I can think of are down-register.

agree  Yvonne Gallagher: perfectly fine
18 hrs
  -> Thanks, G!

agree  Verginia Ophof
20 hrs
  -> Thanks, Verginia!
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