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|French to English translations [PRO]|
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
|French term or phrase: passage obligé|
|I gather this phrase has been used in English on occasion, but whether it's common enough for me to use it, I don't know. I've been mulling over what to do with it for a while now and can't come up with anything I like, even though I have a definition in French. And my eyes badly need a break from this screen...|
It's in a journalistic piece about Algeria and what the inhabitants of Algiers do at night. It seems they abandon the big city and head for the coast... the journalist takes us on a journey by night from the deserted capital to the sea, and 1km from the coast we come to a small village studded with ice-cream parlours and restaurants filled with families...
"Notre virée s'arrête à Staoueli, un petit village à 20km d'Alger, qui s'est transformé en un lieu de privilégié pour les familles...
L'avantage de Staoueli réside dans le fait qu'elle se situe à un kilomètre de la plage et des stations balnéaires de XXX (several names of resorts). C'est un *passage obligé*, un point d'arrêt très prisé par les familles."
Then we hit the coast, so that's about it for useful context. I think the meaning may be that if you want to get to the coast, you just *have* to pass through Staoueli (though not necessarily stop there) as there's no other route, but the best I've come up with so far is "necessary stage on the journey...", which sounds rather long-winded. Anything with "compulsory/obligatory" makes it sound almost like a prison; I thought of "must-XXX" but can't come up with a suitable XXX. I'm not sure about "must-stop" as I think that really means "very desirable/essential place to go to/stop in" rather than a place you literally can't avoid passing through - or maybe that's exactly the meaning? But then I was thinking of "stopping point" for "point d'arrêt" and want to avoid the repetition if I can.
The definition I've got from a monolingual dictionary is: "condition, action nécessaire pour la réalisation d'un projet". Any suggestions?
There seems to be a lot of repetition in your quote. My own thinking on the translation was along the lines of Suezen, but as S. also points out, that idea is conveyed already (lieu de privilégié pour les familles ... un point d'arrêt très prisé par les familles).
So my proposal would be to drop it (unless it is on the ONLY road to the beaches mentioned), considering it to be not only redundant but, as you comment about the expression being used in English hints, not having a "natural" equivalent in few words in English. IOW, in French the term "passage obligé" is insufficiently clear even in French to do without the explanation "un point d'arrêt très prisé". Why translate what is not clear when a perfectly natural and translatable equivalent follows?
A bit like trying to translate "hale and hearty" or "fit and well" as two words in each case.
Selected response from:
Local time: 01:23
|Thanks very much indeed to everyone for your help. I really did like "absolute must", but on further reflection, I also agreed with Bourth that the text is quite repetitive here (and in other places too, in fact) so in the end I did actually leave it out. Thanks again!|
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