In this blog project on the theme of French responses to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, a group of Lille University masters degree students in English-French translation present a wide range of reports published in the French media in the aftermath of January’s shocking events. Their English versions of the articles, complete with glossaries and information notes, provide an insight into the personalities, groups and issues influencing debate and how these topics are reported in France.

In the wake of the murders of their colleagues at Charlie Hebdo, French journalists are understandably more concerned than ever with issues connected to terrorism, relations between the country’s ethnic and religious communities, republican secularism, the roles of the police and security services, and freedom of expression. Hundreds of articles are being written and as many questions are being asked. Can extra security measures be introduced without undermining the republican principles of privacy and freedom of speech? Are Islamophobia and anti-Semitism on the rise in France? How are they related? How might they be tackled? Might education or social services be reformed to avoid the marginalisation of vulnerable youngsters? Does the mass emotional response to the attacks mark a sea change in French attitudes? Is the French model of ‘integration’, as opposed to ‘multiculturalism’, working?...

This blog, the fourth journalism translation project by students of the MéLexTra JET master’s degree in English-French translation at Lille 3 University, is aimed at readers of Mediapart English who wish to learn a little more about French media coverage of reactions to the atrocities amongst both the political classes and the general public.

Who are we?
Seven students completing their second year ‘JET’ master’s degrees (Traduction Juridique et Technique) specialising in legal and technical translation between French and English. This project is part of a module (Thème journalistique)  in which French journalism is translated into English. It is overseen and edited by the module’s teacher.


  • Sara CHTAINI
  • Sébastien DIEUAIDE
  • Manon DIVET
  • Wendy HO TRAM FOO
  • Magalie LANGUE
  • Richard MARTIN
  • Justine MINARD



What sorts of articles are translated?

The project has two main goals. The first is to allow non-French readers to delve a little deeper into debates surrounding responses to terrorism in France, at both political and community levels. The second is to provide readers with an idea of how these issues are reported and discussed in the French press, and what this might reveal about the country’s news media. 3 groups of translators focus on articles covering 3 themes: political and governmental responses to the atrocities, the reactions and experiences of minority ethnic and religious communities, and repercussions for the principle of freedom of expression. Articles are taken from a wide variety of local, national and international French journalistic sources, appearing in print, broadcast and online. The project seeks, in part, to give non-French readers an insight into the various political leanings of the different sections of the French media and how these correlate (or not) with their positions regarding this issue. Articles have therefore been selected from sources with a broad spectrum of political leanings.

Where can the original articles be found?
In every case, copyright and publishing details are provided in the translations: the original authors, photographers etc. are always indicated. Links are also provided to online versions of the original articles in their original publishing context, wherever possible.

What is our translation policy?
Translations are initially provided by groups of 2 or 3 students, one of which is the initial or lead translator. These are sub-edited by the editor and posted online. They then potentially undergo a final modification by the editors of Mediapart English before being moved to the club section of the paper’s front page. Stylistically, the translations are relatively close to the originals and there is relatively little structural or syntactic reorganisation involved. Articles are not therefore modified to suit English journalistic ‘news style’, for example. One of the key goals of the project is to give non-French readers an idea of how the issues are presented in the French media. French journalistic style is therefore preserved in the translations. For a related reason, a number of terms are left in French, with links to a glossary article being preferred to explanatory translations. These include, for example, abbreviated party names (like UMP and PS) and titles of political offices such as député.

What are the glossaries?
There are certain terms, names, abbreviations and references that recur in the articles which require a little further explanation. Instead of providing cumbersome explanatory notes within the articles themselves, glossaries are available that can be linked to directly from the articles. Alongside translations of party names, political titles, and so on, there are also short explanations of the media outlets concerned and some of the key issues.

The following glossaries are maintained from previous projects:

  1. Glossary 1: Party Names

  2. Glossary 2: French Media

  3. Glossary 3: Political Context

What kind of English is used in MéLexTra blogs?
Mediapart being a European publication, British English spellings are used throughout, as are predominantly British English grammar and vocabulary. However, the French constitution and political context being closer in some circumstances to the language culture of the United States than the United Kingdom, there are a handful of globally recognisable American English idioms that have naturally been incorporated in previous projects. Presidential candidates, for example, are said to be ‘running for office’ rather than ‘standing for election’. This contextual hybridisation of English varieties is likely to continue with all future projects.

Le Club est l'espace de libre expression des abonnés de Mediapart. Ses contenus n'engagent pas la rédaction.