For readers of Mediapart’s English pages who wish to learn a little more about the candidates in the first round of the 2012 French presidential elections, students of the MéLexTra JET master’s degree in English-French translation at Lille 3 University are providing English versions of a series of profiles and interviews appearing in the French news media in the run up to the election.
Who are we?
Eleven 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.
- Mélanie BENAITEAU
- Agnès BRIHAYE
- Jérémy DELHAYE
- Samuel FLORIN
- Antoine GERVAIS
- Aurélie GONTIER
- Antoine HOUZE
- Fleur HOUZE
- Noémie LEROY
- Clémentine RAYER
- Juliette ROSARD
Which candidates have been chosen?
For practical reasons, the number of candidates involved in the project has been restricted to 10. The incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been left out for two reasons : firstly, he is already very well known by a non-French readership ; secondly, he had not declared as a candidate when the project began in January. At the beginning of the project, the students divided themselves into 5 groups, each of which chose one of the top 5 candidates in the poles (in order of their pole scores at the time):
Each group then chose one of the remaining ‘minor’ candidates. The candidates chosen were (in alphabetical order):
This means that Jacques Cheminade and Corinne Lepage are not represented in the project. It also means that Christine Boutin and Dominique de Villepin appear amongst the candidates, despite having (respectively) transferred support to Nicolas Sarkozy, and withdrawn due to a lack of electoral sponsorships, since the project began.
What sorts of articles are translated?
The principle concern is to give non-French readers a basic idea of who the candidates are, how they position themselves politically (particularly in relation to one another), and what their key policy proposals are. Most of the articles chosen are therefore basic profiles of the candidates or interviews they have given. They come from a wide variety of local and national French news media sources, from student television stations to major national newspapers. Part of the point of the project is also to give non-French readers an insight into the various political leanings of the different sections of the French media. 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 undergo a final modification by the translators. Stylistically, the translations are relatively close to the originals and there is very little structural or syntactic reorganisation involved. Articles are not therefore modified to suit English journalistic ‘news style’. One of the key goals of the project is to give non-French readers an idea of how the candidates 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 the glossary article being preferred to explanatory translations. These include, for example, the abbreviated party names (like UMP and PS) and titles of political offices and institutions such as député and l’Assemblée nationale.
What is the glossary?
There are certain terms, names, abbreviations and references that recur in the articles that require a little further explanation. Instead of providing cumbersome explanatory notes within the articles themselves, a glossary article is available and can be linked to directly from the articles. Alongside translations of the party names, political titles, and so on, there are also short explanations of the media outlets concerned and some of the key issues, such as the ‘500 signatures’.
What kind of English is used?
Mediapart being a European publication, British English spellings are used throughout as are predominantly British English grammar and vocabulary. However, the political context of a presidential election is obviously closer to the language culture of the United States than the United Kingdom, so there are a handful of American English idioms that have naturally been incorporated. These include, for example, ‘running for President’.