The gender of proper nouns Français translation jobs
Home More Articles Join as a Member! Post Your Job - Free! All Translation Agencies
Advertisements

The gender of proper nouns


Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just $8 per month (paid per year)





Cliquez ici pour voir ce version en Français

Celine Graciet photo A colleague contacted me for help. She had to translate a sentence containing "Alaska", and was wondering how to deal with its gender. Her dictionary was telling her that Alaska is masculine, but she thought it should be feminine, as the -a ending is normally associated with the feminine form.

This is a common issue with proper nouns, which don't necessarily have a clear gender. There is no neutral pronoun in French and so it can be difficult to decide whether something is male or female: is February a "il" or a "elle"?

There is a general rule that says that, when in doubt, a noun should be awarded the gender of the generic noun it's linked to. For example, Paris is "la ville de Paris", and will be considered female. February is a month (un mois, masculine) and hence a he. However, a problem arises when a noun can be associated with several generic nouns. Alaska could be seen as a State (un État, masculine) or a region (une région, feminine). That's when translators start reaching for headache tablets.

To get around this problem, I have a little trick that helps me deal with the situation : I displace the gender issue altogether.

For example, if I had to translate

Alaska is colder than Morocco

I wouldn't try and decide whether it should be

L'Alaska est plus froid que le Maroc
or
L'Alaska est plus froide que le Maroc

I would simply enrich the sentence to get rid of the issue, for example:

Le climat de l'Alaska est plus froid que celui du Maroc (Alaska's climate is colder than Morocco's).

The adjective "froid" isn't associated with the gender-confused "Alaska" any more, but with the very male "climat".

Another example, which can be useful when translating marketing materials:

Fabulouspots is present in 75 countries

becomes

La société Fabulouspots est implantée dans 75 pays


Et voilà !

 

The article was originally published at: http://www.nakedtranslations.com/en/2005/02/000332.php

 










Submit your article!

Read more articles - free!

Read sense of life articles!

E-mail this article to your colleague!

Need more translation jobs? Click here!

Translation agencies are welcome to register here - Free!

Freelance translators are welcome to register here - Free!








Please see some ads as well as other content from TranslationDirectory.com:


Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive news from us:

 
Menu
Recommend This Article
Read More Articles
Search Article Index
Read Sense of Life Articles
Submit Your Article
Obtain Translation Jobs
Visit Language Job Board
Post Your Translation Job!
Register Translation Agency
Submit Your Resume
Find Freelance Translators
Buy Database of Translators
Buy Database of Agencies
Obtain Blacklisted Agencies
Advertise Here
Use Free Translators
Use Free Dictionaries
Use Free Glossaries
Use Free Software
Vote in Polls for Translators
Read Testimonials
Read More Testimonials
Read Even More Testimonials
Read Yet More Testimonials
And More Testimonials!
Admire God's Creations

christianity portal
translation jobs


 

 
Copyright © 2003-2019 by TranslationDirectory.com
Legal Disclaimer
Site Map