peau d\'âne

English translation: mortality

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:peau d\'âne
English translation:mortality
Entered by: Charles Davis
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18:23 Jul 5, 2018
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
French term or phrase: peau d\'âne
After correcting and translating passages of a research article a first time, I am currently correcting a second version where one of the paper's authors has reinserted a bizarre translation (shagreen skin) of a term that I indicated in the first version did not have a similar level of recognition in English (peau d'âne). It refers to Perrault's fairytale about the princess who wears a "peau d'âne" while in hiding from her father who wants to marry her.
I am stumped as to what I could possible suggest as the final readers are management researchers!!!
michellekb
Local time: 09:56
mortality
Explanation:
As suggested in the discussion area, on the basis that "contemplating their donkey skin/shagreen skin", which the authors have suggested adding to this text, is intended as a reference not to Perrault's story La Peau d'âne but to Balzac's novel La Peau de chagrin, the title of which has been translated as The Wild Ass's Skin and recently also as The Shagreen Skin. In that novel, the "shagreen skin" is a talisman that grants the owner's desires but in doing so shrinks and hastens his death, so the skin represents his life span. Contemplating it is therefore a metaphor for contemplating one's mortality: when the skin has dwindled to nothing, its owner (Raphaël) dies. The only way to prolong his life is to refrain from desire, so perhaps what the authors have in mind is that older businessmen slow down, expend less energy, procrastinate, because they are aware that the time they have left is limited.

Since the metaphor itself, though probably comprehensible to most educated French people, is unlikely to mean anything to the target readers of the English text, it is better to express the concept behind it.
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Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 09:56
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +1mortality
Charles Davis


Discussion entries: 40





  

Answers


21 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
mortality


Explanation:
As suggested in the discussion area, on the basis that "contemplating their donkey skin/shagreen skin", which the authors have suggested adding to this text, is intended as a reference not to Perrault's story La Peau d'âne but to Balzac's novel La Peau de chagrin, the title of which has been translated as The Wild Ass's Skin and recently also as The Shagreen Skin. In that novel, the "shagreen skin" is a talisman that grants the owner's desires but in doing so shrinks and hastens his death, so the skin represents his life span. Contemplating it is therefore a metaphor for contemplating one's mortality: when the skin has dwindled to nothing, its owner (Raphaël) dies. The only way to prolong his life is to refrain from desire, so perhaps what the authors have in mind is that older businessmen slow down, expend less energy, procrastinate, because they are aware that the time they have left is limited.

Since the metaphor itself, though probably comprehensible to most educated French people, is unlikely to mean anything to the target readers of the English text, it is better to express the concept behind it.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 09:56
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks for all you input


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Victoria Britten
2 mins
  -> Thanks, Victoria :-)
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