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une savante alchimie

English translation: a sophisticated process

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:une savante alchimie
English translation:a sophisticated process
Entered by: Francis Marche
Options:
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14:16 Oct 26, 2007
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
French term or phrase: une savante alchimie
Hi

In a text about crocodile and ostrich skins:
"La filière des peaux précieuses est le résultat d'une savante alchimie."

The rest of the text describes the breeding farms. A word-for-word translation just isn't on but as I'm not really sure what exactly is meant, a translation is slow in coming. My idea is that behind this "savante alchimie" is the notion of expertise, although "alchimie" suggests a combination of factors. And why then just limit the text to talking about the farms?

I'm at a loss!
Many thanks for your help.
Sandra Petch
Local time: 23:46
a sophisticated process
Explanation:
or "a refined process" - just a catch phrase. Don't put too much into it.
Selected response from:

Francis Marche
France
Local time: 23:46
Grading comment
Thanks everyone for taking time to help. It was a close-run "race" between Francis' and Mark's answers. In the end I thought "sophisticated" fitted well for "savante." Thanks again!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +1a sophisticated processFrancis Marche
3 +1the result of a finely balanced alchemy
Mark Nathan
4a blend of (professional) skill and talent
ormiston
4a virtuoso result of science/expertise and mysticism
Carol Gullidge
3cunning forces/machinations have been at work to produce....xxxCMJ_Trans
3an expert mixture1045


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
an expert mixture


Explanation:
Let's wait and see what others will suggest ...

1045
Canada
Local time: 17:46
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  juliebarba: or a mixture of expertise.... ;-)
1 hr
  -> Merci Julie pour votre suggestion ...
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
a virtuoso result of science/expertise and mysticism


Explanation:
I agree that a literal translation would be odd/difficult.
The above is concocted from Le Petit Robert's definition of alchimie: "science occulte née de la fusion de techniques chimiques.... secrètes, et despéculations mystiques tendant à la réalisation du grand oeuvre"

Something along those lines, give or take a word or 2...?

Carol Gullidge
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:46
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 76
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks Carol, a concoction is certainly called for here!

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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
a blend of (professional) skill and talent


Explanation:
might work ?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 19 mins (2007-10-26 14:36:38 GMT)
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'an artful blend of talents' - any better ?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 mins (2007-10-26 14:40:28 GMT)
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no problem - the main thing is to hit the right note !

ormiston
Local time: 23:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 24
Notes to answerer
Asker: Hi and thanks! The thing is, it may not be talking about expertise, skill etc. I'm ideally looking for sth a little vague (and poetic!). Tall order for a Friday afternoon, I know ;-)

Asker: Hope you didn't take the first comment as criticism, just as feedback :-) I really appreciate the help.

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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the result of a finely balanced alchemy


Explanation:
Isn't alchemy being used here to mean turning something that is not valuable into something that is valuable? In which case you might as well keep it.
"Savante" seems a bit of a tautology, since alchemy is almost by definition "savante" (clever, skilful or whatever) - so perhaps "finely balanced" suggests something closer to the truth, i.e. that if they don't get the breeding exactly right then they don't make any money....

I hope this doesn't mean that they do horrific things to the animals in order to get perfect skins.


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Note added at 27 mins (2007-10-26 14:43:52 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

So is the text promoting this breeding? Or disapproving of it?
This could affect the translation of alchemy - which is sometimes used to suggest something dubious.


Mark Nathan
France
Local time: 23:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Notes to answerer
Asker: Life on the farm is rarely fun for the animals...

Asker: Very much promoting...


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  siragui: elegant and accurate (I like keeping "alchemy", which suggests know-how plus a pinch of magic)
2 hrs
  -> Thanks

neutral  ormiston: 'the product of skilful alchemy' might tie it up, if the folowing text is a bare description !
3 hrs
  -> Yes, that sounds alright too
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27 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
cunning forces/machinations have been at work to produce....


Explanation:
my offering

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Note added at 27 mins (2007-10-26 14:44:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

dark forces

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 23:46
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 94

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  ormiston: getting sinister now !
2 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a sophisticated process


Explanation:
or "a refined process" - just a catch phrase. Don't put too much into it.

Francis Marche
France
Local time: 23:46
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 7
Grading comment
Thanks everyone for taking time to help. It was a close-run "race" between Francis' and Mark's answers. In the end I thought "sophisticated" fitted well for "savante." Thanks again!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jean-jacques alexandre: stay neutral enough & should do the trick ( I think )
16 hrs
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Changes made by editors
Oct 31, 2007 - Changes made by Francis Marche:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term


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