KudoZ home » French to English » Journalism

billet d'humeur

English translation: short opinionated column

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
19:16 Mar 21, 2002
French to English translations [PRO]
Journalism / newspapers
French term or phrase: billet d'humeur
A type of article in a paper. Is this what we would call a "mood piece" (a term which I have heard but I am not entirely sure of the meaning)?
mckinnc
Local time: 23:56
English translation:short opinionated column
Explanation:
Le billet, ou billet d'humeur, is a very short opinionated column by a senior columnist, usually published on the front page of a newspaper and dealing with any subject under the sun in a witty or acerbic manner. It's the written equivalent of a cartoon. This genre is now rapidly going out of fashion in French newspapers.
To me, a "mood piece" means something looser, not necessarily concise and controversial as a billet.
Selected response from:

VBaby
Local time: 22:56
Grading comment
Thank you
2 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
5whimsical piece / witty piece
Karina Pelech
4 +1mood piece
Lise Boismenu, B.Sc.
3 +1squib
Yolanda Broad
4written as you feel article
irat56
4Opinion
jmleger
4short opinionated column
VBaby


  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Opinion


Explanation:
That's what it is.

jmleger
Local time: 16:56
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
mood piece


Explanation:
They are all over the Internet and so is billet d'humeur...

Lise Boismenu, B.Sc.
Canada
Local time: 17:56
Native speaker of: French

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Thierry LOTTE
57 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
written as you feel article


Explanation:
just a suggestion.

irat56
France
Local time: 23:56
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

26 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
short opinionated column


Explanation:
Le billet, ou billet d'humeur, is a very short opinionated column by a senior columnist, usually published on the front page of a newspaper and dealing with any subject under the sun in a witty or acerbic manner. It's the written equivalent of a cartoon. This genre is now rapidly going out of fashion in French newspapers.
To me, a "mood piece" means something looser, not necessarily concise and controversial as a billet.


    Reference: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859...
VBaby
Local time: 22:56
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 10
Grading comment
Thank you
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
squib


Explanation:
The closest I can come, in English, to what this particular kind of writing is, is a *squib*--a very short newspaper piece used as filler. I realize that the "billet d'humeur" isn't really filler, but I don't think English has anything closer.

Here are a couple of instances where "squib" is used in the sense of short opinion piece:

Letters to the editor
... As for the other opinion piece, the author does not write with the approbation of the ... But reading the squib on Nov. 15 opinion page enabled me to resolve the ...
web.centredaily.com/content/centredaily/2000/11/22/opinion/ letters.htm

Assign#5
... opinion piece," or empty exercise in sarcasm: in other words, if we find ourselves sounding even remotely like a talking head on MSNBC, a "Vox Populi" squib in ...
www.nt.armstrong.edu/assign5.htm

Here is what Termium has:

ENGLISH FRENCH SPANISH
Subject Field(s)  – News and Journalism  – The Press (News and Journalism)
Subject Field(s)  – Information et journalisme  – Presse écrite 
filler Source CORRECT
media filler Source CORRECT
plug Source CORRECT
squib Source CORRECT, REGIONAL, USA
general feature Source
punk Source REGIONAL, USA
bouche-trou Source CORRECT, NOUN, MASC
article bouche-trou Source CORRECT, MASC
texte bouche-trou SourceCORRECT, MASC
article expéditif Source TRANSL. SOURCE, MASC
article de remplissage Source TRANSL. SOURCE, MASC
bouchage Source MASC
DEF – A brief, comparatively unimportant news item, sometimes used merely as a filler. Source
DEF – for "filler" : Short matter kept ready to fill space in a journal or magazine. Source
OBS – Can be used for public relations releases. Source
DEF – Petit texte rédigé au dernier moment pour remplir un espace resté libre dans la page. Par
extension, tout article de peu d'importance. Source
OBS – S'il s'agit d'une annonce, on peut préciser "annonce bouche-trou" (DUVIP, 1990, p. 224). Source
1992-02-03
 © Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada

-----------

Interestingly, the other meaning of "squib" is "a small explosive device," so maybe the equivalency with "billet d'humeur" isn't too far-fetched. After all, opinions are mostly explosive hot air, aren't they? ;-)

Here is one of the 8 entries in Termium explaining that meaning of the word:

ENGLISH FRENCH SPANISH
Subject Field(s)  – Weapon Systems  – Explosives and Pyrotechnic Chemicals
Subject Field(s)  – Systèmes d'armes  – Explosifs et artifices (Chimie) 
squib Source CORRECT
inflammateur Source CORRECT, MASC, OFFICIALLY APPROVED
DEF – A small explosive device, similar in appearance to a detonator, but loaded with a pyrotechnic, so that its output is primarily heat (flash). It is usually electrically initiated and initiates the action of pyrotechnic devices and rocket propellants. Source
DEF – Petit dispositif explosif ressemblant à un détonateur, mais chargé d'une substance pyrotechnique, de sorte qu'il produit surtout de la chaleur (éclair). Il est habituellement mis à feu
électriquement et il permet d'amorcer l'action de pièces pyrotechniques et de poudres propulsives pour fusées. Source
OBS – inflammateur : terme et définition uniformisés par le Groupe de travail de terminologie des Munitions. Source
1998-07-08
 © Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada

-----

Evidently, there is a biography out there on Farley Mowat, the Canadian author, "WRITING THE SQUIB." If you've ever read any Mowat, that should tell you a lot about what squibs are! Here is what a reviewer said about Mowat, in reviewing that book. Note especially the last sentence!

"Mowat's writing is "subjective non-fiction" and he distinguishes between "fact" and "truth." The general purpose of his work is to educate and reform but his sense of humour adds a great deal of entertainment. Through his controversial works he has examined the concerns of the Arctic and its native inhabitants, Newfoundland, Siberia, the Vikings, the trauma of World War II, whales and other environmental concerns. Orange sums up Mowat as "anti-authoritarian, intensely nationalistic, environmentally aware, and passionately romantic." The title derives from a "squib," which is the fuse used to ignite explosives or witty writing; both meanings are appropriate. http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/cmarchive/vol22no4/squib.html




    Reference: http://www.termium.com
Yolanda Broad
United States
Local time: 17:56
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  VBaby: squib: a short amusing piece of writing that attacks someone (Longman), so this fits indeed with billet d'humeur; according to Cambridge Intl. Dictionary of English, squib meaning filler piece is the American sense of the term
40 mins
  -> Good source. Thanks!

agree  Dr. Chrys Chrystello
1 hr

disagree  Karina Pelech: Billets d'humeur do not always attack others. That is a very particular kind of satirical article.
4 hrs
  -> Attack? My definition is "short opinion piece" See also the Mowat review "witty writing." The key, of course, is that it is *short*!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
whimsical piece / witty piece


Explanation:
Whimsy, whimsical or witty.

HTH

Karina Pelech
Argentina
Local time: 18:56
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Apr 21, 2005 - Changes made by VBaby:
Field (specific)(none) » Journalism


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search