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  1. Wildcat_M Junior Member

    french
    I am looking for a translation of 'en une seconde' which would carry the idea of extreme speed and at the same time be in a rather formal register.

    the sentence is the following:

    "je passais en une seconde par-dessus des siècles de civilisation". This is from Proust and I am really having a hard time translating it...
    I tried "in a flicker of a second", or "in a second", but it doesn't sound right to me...

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French-France
    Bonjour,

    In a blink of an eye (par exemple).
     
  3. Transfer_02 Senior Member

    Espoo, Finland
    English - British
    ... the blink of an eye ;)


    I think that's a good suggestion.
     
  4. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French-France
    Merci Transfer_02, je croyais que les deux étaient possibles. :)
     
  5. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    in a flash
    in a split-second (really fast)
    --but these both may be too "modern" for Proust.

    at lightning speed might be more appropriate...
     
  6. Transfer_02 Senior Member

    Espoo, Finland
    English - British
    "in a blink of an eye" gets approx 100K google hits but "in the blink of an eye" gets over 800K hits and is definitely more idiomatic, IMO.
     
  7. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French-France
    Yes, I was thanking, not contesting, you are the native English speaker, here! :D
     
  8. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    It does mean "fast", but in the blink of an eye sounds like a fairy tale to me--similar to three shakes of a lamb's tail.

    Not very Proustian...
     
  9. frenchifried Senior Member

    France
    English - UK
    This is a very short sentence for Proust. I'd like to know what precedes it and what follows - but here's my try: "For a split second, I hovered over/above centuries of civilization."?

    Il faut se méfier des "hits" de Google - ils sont très utiles parfois, mais pas toujours définitifs.;)
     
  10. Transfer_02 Senior Member

    Espoo, Finland
    English - British
    Sure. But 100,000 hits versus 820,000 is pretty conclusive I think. Especially when you search for a string as I did. Anyway, the search confirmed what Michelvar suggested: both "the" and "a" can be used...

    Whether or not it is Proustian is another matter. I don't have Proust in English...
     
  11. SteveD

    SteveD Senior Member

    Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
    British English
    In a trice perhaps.
     
  12. The Prof

    The Prof Senior Member

    I am not certain, but a quick Google search revealed the following:

    ... in a flash I would traverse centuries of civilisation ...
     

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