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c’était une première

English translation: uncharted territory

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18:22 Dec 3, 2010
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
French term or phrase: c’était une première
La caverne faisait un coude puis je restai coincé dans un couloir étroit. Je voyais bien que c’était une première, comme la descente des rapides dans African Queen, mais il me fallait agir seul. Je décidai de ne pas trop m’éloigner. Pour me libérer, j’aurais dû me transformer en esquif, j’étais près d’y parvenir…

This is a slightly humourous/strange passage of someone describing their own birth.. I am struggling with two aspects of it. so I wll follow up with a second question.

Whe I try and translate it this way, it sounds strange.

I could see this would be a first for me, like taking the rapids in the African Queen, and I would have do it on my own.

Does that sound right to you. Feedback appreciated and any other suggestions as well!

Thanks
S
Sarah Robertson
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:59
English translation:uncharted territory
Explanation:
I think this is what they're getting at. Going where no man has gone before. I'm therefore presuming (s)he's the firstborn child - so it's a first for the mother rather than a first for him/her.
Selected response from:

Emma Paulay
France
Local time: 15:59
Grading comment
Excellent!

Thanks
S
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +13uncharted territory
Emma Paulay
4I'd never done this beforecc in nyc
4i could see it hadn't been done/tried before
philippe vandevivere
4it was a first time experience
markuslebt
4the first (of a series)xxxBourth
3That was a first
swanda


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
it was a first time experience


Explanation:
yes, your translation sounds right, even though i never heard about the movie mentioned in the passage.

markuslebt
Local time: 15:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +13
uncharted territory


Explanation:
I think this is what they're getting at. Going where no man has gone before. I'm therefore presuming (s)he's the firstborn child - so it's a first for the mother rather than a first for him/her.

Emma Paulay
France
Local time: 15:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 126
Grading comment
Excellent!

Thanks
S

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: and nicely understated humour!
25 mins
  -> Thank you, Carol!

agree  Irene McClure: Nice!
27 mins
  -> Thank you, Irene!

agree  Travelin Ann: fits with "The African Queen" which was heading out into open water
33 mins
  -> Absolutely. Thanks, Ann.

agree  bcsantos
45 mins
  -> Thanks.

agree  Martyn Greenan
1 hr
  -> Thanks.

agree  Helen Shiner: uncharted waters perhaps rather than territory to stick to the watery theme?
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Helen.

agree  philgoddard: Very witty.
2 hrs
  -> Thank you Phil. I like compliments even more than I like agrees ;-)

agree  Gilla Evans
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Gilla.

agree  Gallagy: agree Helen, uncharted waters
5 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  Louise McNeill
6 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  xxxSMcG: uncharted territory
15 hrs
  -> Yes, I prefer it too! Thanks!

agree  Marian Vieyra
18 hrs
  -> Thanks, Marian.

agree  Cristina Talavera
21 hrs
  -> Thanks!
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
That was a first


Explanation:
*

swanda
Local time: 15:59
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 6
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
i could see it hadn't been done/tried before


Explanation:
reference to humphrey bogart movie suggests it is not a first for the author, but for the performance itself, ie indeed unchartered territory

philippe vandevivere
France
Local time: 15:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
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34 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
I'd never done this before


Explanation:
Of course this isn't a "literal" translation of "Je voyais bien que c’était une première," but it might be in keeping with the slightly humorous tone of the French text.

cc in nyc
Local time: 09:59
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 153
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the first (of a series)


Explanation:
Can't be sure without the rest of your story, but the African Queen has to negotiate several sets of rapids, each worse than the one before.

Rose comes up with a plan to convert the Queen into a torpedo boat, and sink the Louisa. Charlie points out that navigating the river would be suicidal: to reach the lake they would have to pass a German fort and negotiate SEVERAL DANGEROUS RAPIDS [ ... ] During their journey down the river, Charlie, Rose and the African Queen encounter many obstacles, including the German fort and three sets of rapids. The FIRST SET OF RAPIDS is rather easy; they get through with minimal flooding in the boat [ ... ] Luckily, Charlie manages to reattach the hose to the boiler just as they are about to enter the SECOND SET OF RAPIDS. The boat rolls and pitches crazily as it goes down the rapids, leading to more severe flooding in the boat and also collapsing the stern canopy. [ ... ] Later on, the couple decide to take a pit stop to gather more fuel and drain the boat. Back on the river, Charlie and Rose watch crocodiles frolic on the nearby river bank when the THIRD SET OF RAPIDS comes up. This time, there is a loud metallic clattering noise as the boat goes over the falls.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_African_Queen_(film)

The phrase is oddly turned if this is what they are getting at, I admit, but if this is not what they are driving at I don't see what they can be talking about.


xxxBourth
Local time: 15:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 204
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Changes made by editors
Dec 4, 2010 - Changes made by Stéphanie Soudais:
Field (specific)Cinema, Film, TV, Drama » General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters


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