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il vaudrait mieux voir les vieux que de les entendre

English translation: old people should be seen and not heard

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08:01 Apr 5, 2018
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
French term or phrase: il vaudrait mieux voir les vieux que de les entendre
The context is a series of screen shots of a film. It takes place in a classroom where a pupil has just been told off for talking. I am assuming that this voice over must be from the teacher dressing him down, à la 'children should be seen and not heard' sort out thing.
Chris Galtress
Local time: 18:16
English translation:old people should be seen and not heard
Explanation:
The usual English phrase is "children should be seen and not heard".
Selected response from:

philgoddard
United States
Grading comment
Thanks Phil
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +7old people should be seen and not heard
philgoddard
3 +1it would be better for old people to be seen and not heard
Tony M
5 -3It's better for him to see old people than to hear them.
Mohamed Hosni


Discussion entries: 10





  

Answers


31 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it would be better for old people to be seen and not heard


Explanation:
Taking this as being the pupil's riposte to the teacher, I think there could be some justification for retaining the comparative:

Teacher: "Children should be seen and not heard"
Pupil: "it would be better for old people [i.e. like teachers!] to be seen and not heard!"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2018-04-05 09:16:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Self-evidently, I am only providing the confirmation that Asker seemed to be seeking of their own intuitive understanding — my well-intentioned point was simply to expand the interpretation slightly further by discussing the teacher / pupil relationship...


Tony M
France
Local time: 18:16
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 316

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  liz askew
23 mins
  -> Thanks, Liz!

agree  Victoria Britten
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Victoria!

disagree  Mohamed Hosni: Sorry,I disagree .Nous avons ici une comparaison et pas une négation.
3 hrs
  -> It's important to be sensitive to the way this pretty standard expression is expressed in both FR and EN.

neutral  Barbara Cochran, MFA: Like some of us have indicated, "old fogies" would be a better option.
3 hrs
  -> I don't entirely agree, Barbara... that expression seems to me extremely dated these days, so it would really only fit if this were perhaps a period piece.

neutral  philgoddard: I agree with the meaning, but this sounds rather wordy and awkward in my opinion.
5 hrs
  -> Thanks, Phil! I think it all depends on the precise context as to how it could then be "streamlined" ;-) If it's the pupil actually speaking, then a more familiar register would of course be needed and allow more leeway.

neutral  AllegroTrans: As a workable translation, yes; but I think the time-worn play on "children etc..." is intended here
8 hrs
  -> Thanks, C! I don't doubt that's the intention — but we don't have to be slavish about it, and the wider context might prove something along these lines to be useful.
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
old people should be seen and not heard


Explanation:
The usual English phrase is "children should be seen and not heard".

philgoddard
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 147
Grading comment
Thanks Phil

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Odette Grille: Bien sûr, comme les enfants ! C'est charmant ...
38 mins

agree  Tony M: As Asker said, that's all very well... but I suspect there is an opportunity to squeeze more meaning out of this, depending on context.
44 mins

agree  Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.
1 hr

agree  Jennifer White: Yes, as Polyglot suggested a while back............
1 hr

agree  AllegroTrans
2 hrs

agree  writeaway: well asker should feel very reassured since everyone one but one has used his original suggestion as basis
3 hrs

agree  katsy
5 hrs

agree  Yolanda Broad
12 hrs

disagree  Mohamed Hosni: Nous avons ici une" comparaison" et pas une "négation" .
19 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -3
It's better for him to see old people than to hear them.


Explanation:
Or, It would be better for him to see old people than to hear them.

Hope it helps.





--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs (2018-04-05 12:15:50 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Or, It would be better to see old people than to hear them.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs (2018-04-05 15:03:13 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It depends on the precise context ,it isn't so clear.

Mohamed Hosni
Morocco
Local time: 17:16
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Jennifer White: who is "him"?/ this reply doesn't make sense.
2 mins
  -> Selon le contexte si il est impersonnel ou personnel.

disagree  Daryo: CL5 means 100% sure it's the one and only possible translation - not quite the case here: you added a twist that is not there in the ST: "for him" - (not to mention that for all we know, it could as well be "for her")
10 mins
  -> No comment.

disagree  Tony M: There's is no sense of 'him' here — I think you are mistaking the impersonal expression 'il vaut mieux...' as if it were a 3rd person singular. / There is no question that in this set expression 'il vaut mieux + infinitive', it is bound to be impersonal.
22 mins
  -> Selon le contexte si il est impersonnel ou personnel.
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
Non-PRO (3): GILOU, David Hayes, Tony M


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Changes made by editors
Apr 5 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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