Season Recaps : Previously…

5 10 2010

Dans les saisons précédentes de Buffy contre les vampires

I’d  translate this as :

In previous seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…

but really I’d say, as you hear on the show :

Previously, on Buffy

There is a recap of the previous seasons in the French hardcover collection, and as I only have the individual issues beginning with Issue 3, I can’t make any comparisons in the translations yet.


TITLE : un long retour au BERCAIL

4 10 2010

bercail /bɛʀkaj/ – n.m

Amongst the definitions in my French/English dictionaries I’ve found that bercail means :

bercail –
home (figurative)
fold (religion)
familier home

My French dictionary gives the following :

famille, foyer (home), pays (natal) (native land) also adds rentrer au bercail return to the fold.

That just doesn’t have the right ring to it, though. What is the French equivalent for “home“?

TITLE : un long RETOUR AU bercail

4 10 2010

Also the “retour au bercail” tells me that it’s typically “retour à” something or someone or someplace, so that’s the next thing to investigate…

retour /ʀ(ə)tuʀ/ – n.m.

retour – return, back action, homecoming, recurrence, turning back, back, return journey, comeback

retour à – return to

TITLE : un LONG retour au bercail

4 10 2010

Typically we learn in French class that adjectives go AFTER the noun in French. So then why is the word “long” (meaning long) in FRONT of our noun retour?

Excellent question.

The answer is that French is annoyingly filled with babillions of exceptions, and here is one :

“The placement of most adjectives in French is after the noun…
There is a small group of adjectives, however, that normally precede the noun. These adjectives may be categorized as adjectives of Beauty, Age, Numbers, Goodness, and Size (BANGS).” (courtesy of UT Austin)

And voilà! There is my answer.

Here are some more adjectives that are placed before the noun :

  • bon/ne – good
  • mauvais(e) – bad
  • grand(e) – big, great
  • petit(e) – small, little, petty
  • jeune – young
  • vieux/vieille – old, aged
  • long(ue) – long
  • beau/belle – handsome, beautiful
  • faux/fausse – false, fake
  • gros/grosse – gross, rude
  • nouveau (new)
  • joli (nice, beautiful)
  • Of course, some adjectives change their meaning depending on if they are placed before or after the noun. But let’s just leave that topic alone for the moment, shall we?

    TITLE : UN long retour au bercail

    4 10 2010

    Tome 1 : Un long retour au bercail

      So, In the English we have The Long Way Home.

      Un long retour” is pretty evident – a long return – and I’m wondering here why they didn’t translate it as “Le long retour” using “le” rather than the “un” that the translator selected. The nuance between the indefinite article “a” meaning there could be more than one way to return home, and the definite article “the” suggesting a single way to do it.

    Buffy contre les vampires : Capitalization

    1 10 2010

    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.


    Why comics?

    1 10 2010

    There are a couple of reasons that I decided to bone up on my French with the help of Buffy.

    #1. It’s just a fun idea. I mean, come on, comics are just fun.

    #2. There are images in the story which helps with understanding the meaning as well.

    #3. Words are written out, so it also improves spelling.

    #4. Comics, being a visual medium, aren’t generally big on descriptive passages, pictures being worth a thousand words and all. This means more dialogue, which is how you normally have conversations with people, anyway. And you can learn lots of colorful language that you may not learn in “real life” when you work with people under the age of 12 on a daily basis.

    #5. I’ve already read the English language version, so I know the story. I did the same thing with the Harry Potter books. It’s a lot less frustrating to read something when you don’t have to pick up the dictionary every couple of words. I can figure out the meaning, generally, though the context.

    #6. See #1. Comics are just fun.