Let’s begin with the very title of the series, shall we?
Buffy contre les vampires
Literally translated we have, in the English :
Buffy against the vampires
Technically, I find, that it could just as easily be (in English) Buffy the Slayer, because she slays a heck of a lot more than just vampires, but that is a discussion, perhaps, for another time.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine regarding the nature of the Slayer and how they translated the word “Slayer” into French. In French, “The Slayer” is “La Tueuse” (Killer in the feminine) but another option, as my friend pointed out, would be “Chasseuse” (Hunter in the feminine) (or even “Chasseresse” but apparently that may be a bit too literary) since she really does “hunt” them down – then “slay” them. And for that matter, what is the technical difference between “slay” and “kill” and as to what that difference in nuance would be in the French? Well, maybe I’ll just google that one later…
The capitalization of titles in French is a complicated one, since, at least from what I was able to gather with the help of Google, there doesn’t seem to be an official “recognized” way to do it. Now, people may argue with me here, and I’m the first to admit I’m not a native (or even fluent) speaker of French.
From my *ahem* extensive research, I’ve determined that in the title of the series Buffy contre les vampires, that only the first word would be capitalized.
Here are two of the pages describing conventions in French for capitalization of titles:
I excerpt from the first link here:
Rationale and detailed rules
Unlike in English, there is no standard for French capitalization. The consensus from discussions on Wikipedia is the following:
General rule: only the first word of a title is capitalized (plus names and the first word of institutions such as Union européenne)
Exception A: if the title begins with a definite article and is not a verb phrase (the definite articles are “le”, “la”, “l’” and “les”)
1. the first noun is capitalized
2. if an adjective is before the noun, both the first adjective and the first noun are capitalized
3. if an adverb and an adjective are before the noun, the first adverb, the first adjective and the first noun are capitalized
4. if the title begins with an adjective which is before a noun, the noun is also capitalized
Exception B: when the author has chosen a special writing, you should respect it
Exception C: if the title is a double title (usually separated by “ou”), the previous rules are applied to both parts
Two cases are not defined:
* if there are several adjectives before the noun?
* what about titles mixing two languages? Do we write: Femme like u, Femme Like U ou Femme like U (K-Maro’s song)?
By default, it is better to use few capitalization as it is the normal behaviour for French plain text (and don’t use the former rules that gave Wikipedia as reference but set the exception as main rule). Note also that uppercase letters are accented, just as lowercase letters are.