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French to English translations [PRO] Ships, Sailing, Maritime
French term or phrase:gens de mer
Back to the 74-gun ship and all those who sailed her.
"Gens de mer" is a category that includes the topmen, the helmsmen, the ship's boys and the matelots. Initially I translated "gens de mer" as seamen but now I see that the "matelot" are the seamen. I though "sailors" or "crew" may suffice for the general "gens de mer" category and would appreciate expert opinions, agrees or disagrees.
"Seafarers" would be lovely if I had any poetic licence but in this case I don't! While the document has many illustrations and is intended to inform the general landlubbing public who did what on a 74-gun ship, the terms are very precise (hence difficulties when English and French ships are not organised along the same lines!). So ratings it is, as per this examle (not the same era but still relevant) http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/35/a6238235.shtml
Some Admiral would say where he wanted so many Ratings. They called them Ratings, Able Seaman.
Many, many thanks for the discussion and your ideas and a special thanks to Vaughn as his remark that we needed to look in Naval categories reminded me of the page I referenced and which I had already bookmarked.
Just looked at your link, Sandra, and googled a bit - it looks as though "ratings" covers the categories in your text, and sailors were already "rated" in 18th C, so I would hazard a guess that "ratings" is the term you're looking for.
I take your point about supernumeries, Sandra : and it is true that in (eg) Patrick O'Brians books, the seamen and others are often referred to as "men" (which does rather suggest to the unwary that any other people on board were of some other sex ....).
IMveryHO, "Gens de mer" covers anybody who earns his living from going to sea - on a merchant vessel, passengers would be "on ship but not gens de mer", but on a navy vessel "all those who sailed in her" would be in that category, including marines etc.