1. distille Senior Member

    France, french
    How would you translate adjoint au maire?
    Assistant of the mayor does not seem right since the 'adjoint' is not a collaborator of the cabinet, he/she's an elected member of the town council and he/she helps the mayor in one specific sector (transport, economy..)

  2. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    deputy mayor
  3. Newangle Senior Member

    Normandy, France
    English, France
    Be careful, WordReference users! "Député-Maire" is someone who doubles as Député (MP or Representative) and Mayor. The "Maire-adjoint" is one of two or three town councillors (in a small town or village) or rather more (up to 8 or so in a large city I think) who are delegated certain responsibilities by the mayor, and receive a small stipend. So although there's no better way I have foound of translating "maire adjoint" than "deputy mayor", we are in "faux amis" territory as far as "député-maire" is concerned.
    Hope this is not too confusing!
  4. eclypse Senior Member

    I often see the French title "première adjointe au maire" (Anne Hidalgo)

    Yet, its English translation is split between "First Deputy Mayor", and just as often as simply "Deputy Mayor"

    Now if I am not mistaken, in the UK, Mayors have only ONE Deputy, and thus including First (Deputy Mayor) makes little sense. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Furthermore, could someone please explain the 'logic' behind the French title; do French Mayors have several Deputies, and thus including Premier / Première indicates the particular rank ?

    Thank you ;)
  5. Bibah New Member

    Arabic - French & English
    You're right eclypse. In France, as well as other countries, the mayor has many ranked deputies called "deputy mayor". So there is the first, the second, and more ...
  6. Newangle Senior Member

    Normandy, France
    English, France
    I'm not too sure about the situation in the UK, but in France, as I explained in an earlier post, there are two or more deputies.

    There is a "pecking order" based on the order in which they were elected which affects their right to stand in for the mayor to perform certain duties, such as "état civil" registrations (births, marriages and deaths), passport applications and so on. If the Mayor is absent, it falls to the First Deputy to replace him or her... unless the First Deputy is also absent, in which case it's over to the Second Deputy. Wait a minute, no sign of the Second Deputy... never mind, here's the Third Deputy. And so on.

    Note that the delegation of specific responsibilities is not directly related to this ranking. The Mayor has no direct say over the pecking order, because they are elected in that order by the Council. However, he is free to delegate specific duties to them at his discretion, or, in some cases, not at all.

    French local politics!
  7. belange New Member

    Bonjour à tous, j'ai cet intitulé de poste officiel dans un courrier à traduire.

    Je pensais traduire par "Deputy Mayor" pensez-vous que c'est juste? avez-vous d'autres propositions?
  8. Jack-the-hat Senior Member

    English - British
    Historically, English local government used a commitee system so Commitee Chairmen (or Chairs) would capture the idea of responsibility for individual functions, such as Finance or Housing.

    Most authorities now have a cabinet-style of governance. The term Cabinet Member with responsibility for xxx' is quite common.
  9. jagor Member

    Paris, France
    I do not advocate using "Deputy Mayor" to translate "Maire adjoint" under any circumstances whatsoever because--as has been mentioned previously on this thread--in France, the same person can be both a "Député" in the National Assembly and the "Maire" of his or her town. [The French call this curious custom "le cumul de mandats."]

    After thinking about this, my suggestion would be "Assistant Mayor" or "Associate Mayor." And as for "premier adjoint au maire" I would use "Primary Associate Mayor" or "Primary Assistant Mayor."

    The problem, for us Americans, arises because when we see the word "deputy" we immediately think of Deputy Dawg, AKA "Deppity Dawg" the famous cartoon character! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deputy_Dawg. And I know for a certain fact that no Député-Maire in France wants to be mistaken for a canine cartoon character!

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  10. LART01 Senior Member

  11. jagor Member

    Paris, France
    For LARTo1, with all due respect, I explained very precisely in my post why "Deputy Mayor" can be ambiguous and misleading--especially to a native French speaker reading the term in English, who would immediately think of "Député Maire" instead of "Maire Adjoint." I needed to translate the term "Premier Maire Adjoint" into English for a post on my website, so I used "Primary Associate Mayor," which I believe to be clear and unambiguous to both Anglophones and Francophones.

    This problem could be solved once and for all if France would finally get rid of the bizarre and antiquated custom of "le cumul des mandats!" How any one person can hold two [or even more] full-time jobs at the same time escapes me! In the United States, we only have one person with a "cumul des mandats." The Vice President of the United States is also President of the Senate, but the latter position is largly symbolilc; his presence is only required to break a tie vote. Dick Cheney cast a total of eight tie-braking votes over eight years in office; Joe Biden has cast none.

  12. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    If the translator is translating a French text for an American English audience, I agree with Lart01. Deputy Mayor is a more natural-sounding and familiar term to me for a position that is approximately equivalent to the one in the thread title. I wouldn't automatically avoid a suitable English word because a French reader of the English version might be mislead by its false cognate.

    I don't make the same immediate association with the cartoon character, either, though I'm familiar with it. Perhaps if we were talking about a sheriff... ;)
  13. jagor Member

    Paris, France
    For Kelly B, Alea jacta est.

  14. Dunce Member

    It all depends on the context, of course, but "Député-Maire" and "Deputy Mayor" look so similar that any English reader with a smattering of French would get confused. On British local councils you can be Chair of such-and-such a committee, so (if the délégation is specified) "Assistant Mayor and Chair of the Finance Committee", or whatever, looks to me the best solution.
    Incidentally, I am involved in French local politics.
  15. emmsy

    emmsy Senior Member

    Orleans France
    UK English
    Mayoral aide, would that work in some of the contexts mentioned?
  16. jagor Member

    Paris, France
    For Dunce, you are certainly right about the confusion in the mind of a native English speaker--at least an American--about the term "Député-Maire." I distinctly remember the first time I met a certain French gentlemen who introduced himself to me as "député-maire." We shook hands and then I set off promptly to find the "real" mayor! The problem is that, in France, one human being can hold more than one elected office: it's called "cumul des mandats." We in America don't have it except for one person: the Vice President of the United States is also President of the Senate. In fact Cheney caused a momentary uproar when he announced on one occasion that he was neither a part of the executive branch or the legislative branch. So, political scientists like me startwed innundating the internet forums with complaints that the arrogant Cheney had set himself up as "the fourth branch of government." To hell with checks and balances!

    Anyway, to get back to France. The title I was trying to translate is "Maire-ajointe" (it's a lady). Newangle has it right [above] in writing: the "Maire-adjoint" is one of two or three town councillors (in a small town or village) or rather more (up to 8 or so in a large city I think) who are delegated certain responsibilities by the mayor, and receive a small stipend. The "maire-ajointe" I know is in a fairly small town and does receive a small stipend. Eclypse is also right that, in some towns, there is a "premier maire ajoint."

    I finally decided on the term "Associate Mayor," as I indicated above, with full knowledgte that it is not really the most accurate rendering of the term, but at least the English-speaker understands that the person is neither the mayor nor a deputy sheriff!

    This whole confusing situation could be cleared up if France got rid of the "cumul de mandats" system, which might have made sense in the horse-and-buggy days of the 19th century. Every time there's a new administration in France, there's talk of abolishing the system, but the talk soon dissipates and the system continues. That's France in a nutshell: everybody loves to complain and demand change, but a soon as somebody actually proposes a change it's promptly rejected.

    Of course, "ajoint" is a cognate of "adjutant" in English. Maybe that would be the solution: "Adjutant Mayor," sounds pretty darn impressive, maybe too impressive considering the measly stipend they get.

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  17. Dunce Member

    For clarification, there are ALWAYS a "1er adjoint au maire" ("1ère adjointe") and "2e adjoint(e) au maire". In small villages a 3rd one is optional (my village chooses to have one but others the same size don't) and you add more adjoints the bigger the commune. To refer back to Newangle again, it's both the order they they're voted by the council (you vote for the major first, then 1er adjoint, then 2e adjoint, and so on) and the strict order in which they are entitled to perform the mayor's duties in the absence of the mayor. Usually the mayor and the adjoints belong to the same party or list, so they're all on the same side and the mayor delegates specific duties to each of them (although this is discretionary). However, if by some quirk an opposition councillor is elected an adjoint by the council the mayor is not obliged to delegate responsibilities. Similarly, if there is a falling-out of any sort, the mayor can strip the adjoint of his or her responsibilities. I've seen that happen a number of times.
  18. jagor Member

    Paris, France
    See my revised post above: why not "Adjutant Mayor?"


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