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  1. #1
    mosquitobitten is offline Newbie
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    Default using foreign words/phrases in writing

    Hello.
    I've encountered a problem when translating an article into English. Since I'm not that experienced in translating, I was wondering if anyone could clarify something to me.

    Sometimes, we use foreign words in speaking, for example, it's common to use "touche" "ad hoc" "au naturel" "femme fatale." There are also some used in writing.

    My question is about the word explicite, taken from French (if I'm not mistaken) meaning explicitly, clearly, ..

    Should I use it in my translation as well or give an English equivalent? I should add that in the original text it was written in italics.

    any suggestions are welcome:)

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: using foreign words/phrases in writing

    When foreign words are included in English text, they are italicized.

    He had a certain je ne sais quoi aspect that I found utterly fascinating.

    While all the ones in your second paragraph are so common that I wouldn't even italicize them, "explicite" is not a commonly used foreign expression in everyday English. If you can simply substitute in the English word "explicitly" I would do that, unless it's important to show the person was using a French word.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: using foreign words/phrases in writing

    Quote Originally Posted by mosquitobitten View Post
    Hello.
    I've encountered a problem when translating an article into English. Since I'm not that experienced in translating, I was wondering if anyone could clarify something to me.

    Sometimes, we use foreign words in speaking, for example, it's common to use "touche" "ad hoc" "au naturel" "femme fatale." There are also some used in writing.

    My question is about the word explicite, taken from French (if I'm not mistaken) meaning explicitly, clearly, ..

    Should I use it in my translation as well or give an English equivalent? I should add that in the original text it was written in italics.

    any suggestions are welcome:)
    Check COCA for popular AmE uses of "explicit" (no final "e"). Commonly used in AmE news media reports and in reference to language/statements/warnings as in "Not suited for children because of explicit language" or "The film contains sexually explicit scenes".

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: using foreign words/phrases in writing

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Check COCA for popular AmE uses of "explicit" (no final "e"). Commonly used in AmE news media reports and in reference to language/statements/warnings as in "Not suited for children because of explicit language" or "The film contains sexually explicit scenes".
    I don't agree. The French word explicite isn't an exact synonym for either 'explicit' or 'explicitly', but it's close enough for a reader to guess. If you want the local colour, I'd stick to 'explicite' (if the translation is from French to English, and the speaker is French; if the translation is from French to English, I'd use something like 'detailed' or 'precise'.)

    But French translation isn't on my CV. And my last ([polishing_nails_on_chest]award-winning [/polishing_nails_on_chest]] translation (from Portuguese) was done in 1974, .... so...

    b

  5. #5
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: using foreign words/phrases in writing

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I don't agree. The French word explicite isn't an exact synonym for either 'explicit' or 'explicitly', but it's close enough for a reader to guess. If you want the local colour, I'd stick to 'explicite' (if the translation is from French to English, and the speaker is French; if the translation is from French to English, I'd use something like 'detailed' or 'precise'.)

    But French translation isn't on my CV. And my last ([polishing_nails_on_chest]award-winning [/polishing_nails_on_chest]] translation (from Portuguese) was done in 1974, .... so...

    b
    You've lost me (not a difficult task), but my French to English translation source for "explicite" includes "clear, specific, unequivocal, expressed without vagueness etc. which I think fit all 5000+ COCA examples including the two I used as examples.

    Last edited by billmcd; 05-May-2012 at 23:52. Reason: typo

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: using foreign words/phrases in writing

    All I meant was that there was not 1 for 1 exchangeability between 'explicit' and 'explicite'. And I don't know where 'explicitly came from; the French explicite isn't an adverb.

    The OP asked
    Should I use it in my translation as well or give an English equivalent? I should add that in the original text it was written in italics.
    Was the text in English with this one word italicized? If so, the author meant something other than just 'explicit', and a translator shouldn't ignore that intention. And note that s/he says 'an equivalent'. Depending on context, that equivalent is unlikely to be 'explicit'.

    b

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