State of Emergency: introduction

In this blog on the theme of the French State of Emergency, a group of Lille University masters students present a range of reports from the French media about the security measures introduced in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks. Their English versions of the articles, complete with glossaries and notes, provide an insight into how the French press is treating this controversial subject.

The State of Emergency declared by the French government immediately following the appalling terrorist attacks on November 13 2015 was first extended until February 26 of this year, and has now been further prolonged by a parliamentary vote until May 26. Public opinion seemed initially accepting of the stringent security measures, but human rights groups have been campaigning against the extensions and challenging certain powers and interventions in the courts. Polls suggest that the French people are less favourable to the extensions and this has been reflected in certain areas of the press. Questions are being asked: Will these security measures be constitutionally normalised? If not, how much longer will they last? Is the State of Emergency effective? What has it achieved? Are the measures legal, and how do they relate to France's ratification of international treaties on human rights? How does it affect peoples' lives, and are some affected more than others? ...

This blog, the fifth 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 the State of Emergency: its supporters and its detractors.


Who are we?
Six 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.


  • Clément BESHERS
  • Mélanie GEFFROY
  • Rachel LAGROU
  • Marie LUQUET
  • Julie MARECHAL
  • Alexandre MARGAT




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 the State of Emergency 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 issues, the operational realities for communities and security services, the legal ramifications. 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.