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18:24 Dec 3, 2010
French to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
French term or phrase:esquif
Je décidai de ne pas trop m’éloigner. Pour me libérer, j’aurais dû me transformer en esquif, j’étais près d’y parvenir…
That's exactly the point I was trying to make: the use of 'esquif' here is surely not a technical one, referring to some specific type of craft; but rather, especially with the 'frêle' association, just to the notion of a rather flimsy craft in general — nothing to do with big ships, of course! 'esquif' can be used in this jocular, informal way in FR, whereas the technical equivalent 'skiff' cannot really be so any longer in EN — it does so conjure up either rowing teams, or lazy, hazy, daisy summer days on the Thames at Windsor...
I rowed crew for many years and I can tell you that when we use skiff in French, we mean rowing shell.
Now, "esquif" is usually paired in French with the adjective "frêle", so we are not talking about "some kind of boat" but of a boat much closer to the "périssoire" (I love French because of such words) than to the packet boat. It's a frail craft, and one which does not have an engine, even one as asthmatic as the African Queen's.
the 'esquif' is a funny reference to the 'African queen' which is the name of the derelict old 'ready-to-sink' motor boat skippered by humphrey bogart; i can't find a funny equivalent, 'raft' is closest
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Explanation: In keeping with the metaphor of life
Marco Solinas Local time: 20:36 Works in field Native speaker of: English, Italian PRO pts in category: 33
Explanation: I'm not very familiar with this rather gooey process, but I believe it does entail quite a bit of water... so surely the 'baby' is suggsting that the best way out would have been to have been 'some kind of little boat' — and I don't think it ought to be too specific, since surely it's just the image of riding the rapids in something that floats...? The idea of 'raft' is appealing, except that the shape is well... rather painfully wrong..! Something like a canoe might have been more apt...
Tony M France Local time: 05:36 Works in field Native speaker of: English PRO pts in category: 312