Monday, May 13, 2013

Babylon French-English.

I've tried many French-English automatic translation websites. Here I want to recommend one that has reliably helped me translate notes, emails and short passages from newspapers: has two windows to translate to and from French and English.

So, for example, if you are writing an email in French but are not sure if you got everything right, or have no time to look it up or check with a French speaker, just write it in English, copy-paste into the Babylon window and click translate. Copy-paste the French version.

Do the same for translating back from French.

It's okay for informal correspondence or quick reference, but when you write a serious formal letter in French, make sure it's checked and corrected by a knowledgable French speaker. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Amazon Declaration.

The Normandy Review of Books by Alexander Anichkin is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to 

I am publishing this in compliance with the new rules that are coming into force today, 1 April 2013.

When you click on Amazon links on this blog, The Normandy Review of Books earns a small commission. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Good Year: the Client Is Never Right.

Some time ago I wrote here about the bad treatment that French clients get from after-sales services.

I was watching A Good Year (wiki), the romantic comedy with Russel Crowe (Max Skinner) and Marion Cotillard (Fanny Chenal), and literally jumped up when Fanny, who runs a busy restaurant, tells Max, who is trying to help her as a waiter:

— Remember, in France the client is never right!

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Here's a 'diaporama' of the film with the catchy French version of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Tout-Petit Bikini by Richard Anthony:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Ban on Homework?

KidsinFrance web-site has an item on the appeal by French teachers and parents to ban all homework for two weeks:
Teachers and parents groups are calling for a fortnight's homework ban - starting today - to raise the issue of whether homework helps pupils or, on the contrary, is counterproductive. The FCPE, one of the main parents' associations, and the Icem (Icem-Pedagogie Freinet) are inviting parents and teachers to post their comments on the website 'Ce soir pas de devoirs' (no homework tonight).
Well, with children's schoolday longer than the legally permitted workday for adults, why not extend it for the whole year? Comments on kidsinfrance seem to support the idea.

Image: wikimedia

Saturday, March 24, 2012

OK1 (French Netspeak)

Marianne Semeuse.

Franglais is about borrowing Anglo-American words and phrases into French. 

But the French are as inventive with their own version of netspeak as English-speakers. Not least because phonetically read English alpha-numeric contractions, like gr8, mean nothing to a French-speaker. What's 'grhuit'?

Instead, the French are introducing new contractions in internet French and SMS conversations.

Here are a few examples:

-  A+ or @+: means “À plus“, like “later”, or “l8r”.
- ASV: “Âge, Sexe, Ville”, the equivalent of the English “ASL”, or “Age/Sex/Location”.
- b1sur: “Bien sûr“: Of course. The “1″, “un“, makes up for the syllable “-ien.”
- ENTK: “En tout cas”, means ”in any case”.
OK1: “Aucun“, “none” or ”no one”.
- STP or SVP“S’il te plait”, “please”.
TNKT: Means T’inquiètes“, or “t’inquiètes pas”, meaning “don’t worry” or “no worries”.
- X: Since the word for cross in French ”Croix” is the same for the verb croire (to believe), for the second, you can use just an X, as in “Crois-moi“ or “X moi“, (believe me!)

- via Patricia Mansfield-Devine, SecondCherry - the over-40s babe. Thanks, Trish.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Le client est roi, mais... le roi est mort.

This excerpt is from the eight lessons about the French by Elain Sciolino, the former New York Times correspondent in Paris.
Execution of Louis XVI.

Anyone who has lived in France can testify that after sales service and, generally, customer relations is a horror area of French life. Often worse than people-state relationship in the country.
3: The Customer Is Always Wrong
It is hard for French merchants to admit they are wrong, and seemingly impossible for them to apologize. Instead, the trick is to somehow get the offended party to feel the mistake was his or her own. I’m convinced the practice was learned in the strict French educational system, in which teachers are allowed to tell pupils they are “zeros” in front of the entire class.
A doctor I know told me he once bought a coat at a small men’s boutique only to discover that it had a rip in the fabric. When he tried to return it, the shopkeeper gave him the address of a tailor who could repair it — for a large fee. They argued, and the doctor reminded the shopkeeper of the French saying, “The customer is king.”
“Sir,” the shopkeeper replied, “We no longer have a king in France.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

Audrey Tautou on English Men

Audrey Tautou thinks English men are more 'elegant and gentlemanly' than French men.

And listen to her on on today's Woman's Hour. The actress is England promoting her new film Beautiful Lies.