Major de promotion

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by kittyyo, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. kittyyo New Member

    france-french
    Moderator note:
    This thread is the result of
    merging threads on the same
    subject.


    Hello

    I'm doing my resume (with lots of difficulties...:)) in English and I don't know how to translate "Major de promotion" in English. It means i've been the "most brilliant student" of the promo. I've found "major of promotion" but i'm not convinced it's a good translation.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    KY
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2008
  2. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    If you were a student in the US, you would call yourself a valedictorian. If you're looking for a British equivalent, I'm going to have to think a little...

    ...OK, I've had a little think, and a little google, and I'm a little frustrated because there isn't a nice single word like in the US, but here are the options:

    'top of my year' is probably the best
    'first in my year' would also work
    'top of the year' might also work, but it also means 'Happy New Year', especially in Ireland.
    'top of the form' used to be used, but then became associated with a TV quiz show which I vaguely remember from the distant depths of my childhood, so I'd avoid it. Besides, 'form' is really a class than the entire year.

    I'll get back to you if I think of anything else. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2009
  3. brendan Senior Member

    France
    Ireland, English
    in my thirty something years, I've yet to hear any of my fellow country men ever say 'top of the year' meaning 'happy new year' - only place you're likely to hear this is an 1930's (sorry, should be 1950's) John Wayne movie set in quaint, little old Oirlande :)

    anyway, back to topic, I'd agree with ' first in year' or ' first in class'.
     
  4. josephboen

    josephboen Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    US - American English
    I agree with Aupick - use valedictorian if the resume is for the US. Another possibility is perhaps something like highest class average or best class average.
     
  5. kittyyo New Member

    france-french
    Thank you very much for your replies, I'll send my cv in London.
    I think I'll use "first in my year" because the other ones remind me "top of the pop" ;) and maybe this one sounds less pretentious.

    I'm surprised by the speed and serious of the answers so thank you again. I'll come again to see if I can help anybody in French...
     
  6. David Senior Member

    All US, probably no help:

    I graduated first in my class.
    I graduated first in a class of 336.
    I graduated at the top of my class.
    I had the highest GPA (grade point average) in my class.
    I was valedictorian of my class.

    "First in class" sounds like the best poodle or the best hunting dog in the dog show. Don´t use it.
     
  7. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I'm going to say something that is probably unpopular here. No one in BE would mention that they came top in their class in something in a CV, it's too unimportant (for a CV, it's still obviously a great achievement personally). Yes top in a national exam/test etc, but not just in their year or class. I'll probably be inundated with lots of opinions to the contrary but I would find "top in my year in German" a very strange thing to read in a CV, not least because it is completely unverifiable. I would avoid writing that if BE eyes are to read it.

    This is why we take national exams, to have something that is comparable across schools.
     
  8. pen Senior Member

    Maryland,USA
    Honduras/Spanish
    Hi Timp!
    I definitely agree with you Timp, It looks more professional if you do not include it and leave it for the interview then you have something interesting to add to the interview.

    :)
    pen
     
  9. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    I would generally agree with you, Tim. It sounds a little strange to British ears -- perhaps that's why it took me a while to think of something. But if the 'major de promotion' refers to the results of a concours, especially for a grande école, it would be worth mentioning since a top rank would be an extremely prestigious achievement in France. (The rankings of successful candidates is usually made public and is quite a big deal. It would be a shame not to be able to reflect this in a CV.)
     
  10. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Ah ok, so it's much more than just being "top of your class" then. OK, fair enough. This is where it is so difficult to translate things such as CVs where there are terms specific to the country. After all, the average British employer would not understand how much an achievement this was, so perhaps a bit of surtranslation is needed, eg "winner of my local "concours" (national competition)".
     
  11. huijianz New Member

    China
    I would say 'Top honors'...This is probably the equivalent in UK so far as I know...In Uk there is First Class honors but it is awarded to many students with similar achievements, but top honors means you are realy the top of your year.
     
  12. Taron New Member

    French
    Bonsoir, j'aimerais dans le cadre d'une traduction de CV traduire "Major de Promotion" en anglais (UK)..

    Merci !
     
  13. Already-Seen mod'if

    US
    French - France
    The US term is valedictorian.

    ETA: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=209456

    Sorry I just re-read your OP and saw you wanted it in BE not AE... no clue then...

    Per wiki,

    In schools in Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Iceland, Dux is a modern title given to the top student in academic and sporting achievement (Dux Litterarum and Dux Ludorum respectively) in each graduating year. In this usage, Dux is similar to the American concept of a valedictorian.

    It only cover the Scottish part of the UK though. They might not have a word for it in England/Wales/Northern Ireland. Maybe you could say something like "top student" or "highest ranking student".
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  14. Vicky28 New Member

    Paris, France
    Germany, German
    Hello everybody,

    I'd like to know if the term 'class' valedictorian' is commonly comprehensive for the person with the best grades in a CLASS (and not a schoolyear), e.g. in a class of Master specialization.
    In France, it'd be called 'major de promo'.

    Anybody ever heard of a class' valedictorian?

    Thanks in advance for your reflections!
     
  15. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    For valedictorian, the WR dico says "promo" and contains this thread besides. So what's your question? :confused:
     
  16. FrancophoneInTraining Junior Member

    Washington, DC
    English - USA
    Forgive me if I've misunderstood your question. But I'm under the impression that you're looking for an expression that characterizes the best student in a class (that's is, French, or Biology, or Algebra). I think "head of the class," "top student," or "star pupil" can be used for this purpose. Note: this last one is, perhaps, a bit outdated. "Star student" could be used as well.
     
  17. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    Also, perhaps I don't understand what major de promo is... There is only one valedictorian per school, chosen from the students in the graduating class. Is that the case for major de promo as well?
     
  18. Vicky28 New Member

    Paris, France
    Germany, German
    Thank you so much, Already-Seen! I swear I didn't see them when I was searching. Though they absolutely answer my question.

    Bloomiegirl: After all I’ve read, I think indeed that there’s some sort of confusion about the meaning of « major de promo » : in French it characterizes the best class average (or best average of all participants in a “concours”). The thing is, when French say “class”, they (usually) refer to a whole group of students doing the whole school year together sharing all subjects. In contrast to this organisation, students in the US use to study by modules (ergo, one class = one subject)., and this is why the term “head of class” obviously sounds less ridiculous, but has not much in common with the “valedictorian”.

    I think the most suitable translation for “major de promo” is “best/highest class average” after all.

    I thank you all for your replies!
     
  19. FrancophoneInTraining Junior Member

    Washington, DC
    English - USA
    Thanks for the clarification, Vicky28. In the U.S., we actually use the word "class" to mean more than one thing, which can lead to misunderstanding and ambiguity.

    A class in the U.S. can be either all the students at a particular school, who are expected to graduate the same year OR it can be a single group of students who are taking the same course. (e.g., The whole class struggled to understand the teacher's convoluted explanations.)

    I think this thread aptly illustrates how the same information can be interpreted differently.
     
  20. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    I've just read this entire thread and it seems to me that everyone is talking at cross-purposes, but that may be because I haven't understood what they've said.

    I understand 'major de promotion' to mean that someone has come top in a 'concours', in other words they have got the top mark in a competitive exam out of all the students in France who have taken that same exam in that same year. Is that right?

    All the English equivalents, from 'valedictorian' to 'first in my year' etc. seem to me to refer to a much smaller set of people, partly because 'my class' and 'my year' are ambiguous terms that could be taken to refer to a class or year within a particular school or institution, and partly because the systems are very different. Well actually I have no idea how things are organized in the US, but in the UK we have always had more than one exam board setting even national exams. I don't know why or how it works, but that is what happens. And we have no competitive exams equivalent to the CAPES or agrégation for example, in which, as far as I'm aware, the same exam is taken by all candidates in France in any given year.

    So the only thing you can say in the UK that will convey the meaning (if I'm right about 'major de promotion') is 'top in the whole country' or 'first out of the whole country', but that's too conversational to put on a CV. I suppose you could say something like 'ranked first in France'.
     
  21. LART01

    LART01 Senior Member

    The Hague,Netherlands
    French-France
    I understand 'major de promotion' to mean that someone has come top in a 'concours', in other words they have got the top mark in a competitive exam out of all the students in France who have taken that same exam in that same year. Is that right?

    Hi
    No, as explained before
    Major de promotion means the student with the best grades in the class . Depending of the school it could be that the grades throughout the year are accounted for ( best averages) or other systems like term exams or one final exam. Sometimes, it's a combination of both.
    Please note that best grades does not necessarily mean outstanding grades!
     
  22. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    OK, thanks LART01. So the nub of the matter here is what 'class' means – and also what kind of 'school' you're thinking of.
    The context that has brought me to this thread is a university form for prospective doctoral students. They are supposed to have a Master's degree and some may also have the CAPES.
    There is a reference to 'major de promotion', but I can't tell fom the document I'm working from which qualification they are talking about.
    If it's the Master's, assuming they have done it in France, how would you define the 'class' within which they are ranked?
    Same for the CAPES. What would the 'class' be?

    In the UK I think the only possible comparison would be with other students from the same year of the same course at the same university - that's the only meaning of 'class'. So not very many people, could be no more than 5 in my experience, though of course departments vary in size. Generally students' results are not ranked in this way in the UK, probably because, as indicated at the start of this thread, unlike the grade - merit, distinction, however it is given - the order of candidates is of no interest to anyone outside the small group involved.

    I think that, in France, the ranking must include more people to be worth mentioning. But perhaps I am wrong. If the ranking refers to a Master's it seems I must be as, unlike the Bac, I don't see how a Master's involving research could be a national exam, and even a taught Master's would presumably be shaped and examined by its institution, with input from external examiners. But if you come top out of say 20 people who took your particular Master's programme in your particular year, is that meaningful enough for you to be asked to put it on an application form for a doctorate? In my case the form specifically asks for the 'mention' as well.
     
  23. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    That sounds very much like the stage Irish ''top of the morning to ye'', which if I ever heard any real Irish person say I'd bludgeon him/her with a cudgel. :) More seriously, top of the year is not used to mean ''Happy New Year'' in Ireland.

    I'd stick class valedictorian down on my CV personally, every native English speaker should know what it means, whatever its provenance.
     
  24. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    Well no, actually. I'd never come across it until I visited this thread. As far as I'm aware this term is not used in the UK, probably because students aren't generally given this kind of ranking.
     
  25. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    In my experience "major de promo" is used in a highly competitive environment: "classes préparatoires", some university courses, engineering schools and other schools of higher education.

    In national "concours" such as entrance exams to prestigious institutions (ENS, Polytechnique, HEC ...) and for teaching diplomas (CAPES, Agrégation ...) people talk about their "rang".

    I don't think this can be indicated on a CV and completely understood outside France and is maybe best left (as has already been said) for the interview stage.
     
  26. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I find it most surprising that you've never come across the term, unless you're over the age of 50 and have never watched an American television show of any description.
    Ireland has the exact same university grading system as the UK and I know precisely where I ranked in my undergraduate degree. I have regularly put class valedictorian on my CV relating to my Master's degree (taken in France) and have never had a British or Irish employer ask me what it means.
     
  27. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    Well that just goes to show how different people's experiences can be. I've been in and out of academia all my life and have three children who have been through school, which has also meant I have watched endless American TV series and films set in high schools. I don't remember ever hearing the term 'Valedictorian', but it's possible that I did and classified it as something to do with goodbyes. I wouldn't assume that the reason why no one has asked you what 'Valedictorian' means on your CV is that they know.
    Similarly I have no idea where I ranked out of the other 25 or so people who took their degree at my college at the same time as me. And I've never heard any British person of any age (or indeed anyone at all, come to think about it) mention the ranking of their degree in any context whatsoever, other than on this thread.

    What I really need though is an answer to my question about the size of the 'class' in which people are ranked for higher degrees in France, as in my post above. Can anyone help with that? I would be immensely grateful.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  28. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    It has been discussed in interviews, ''so you came first in your class in X, tell me more about how you achieved such a result..'' etc. Admittedly, my undergraduate degree was limited to a class size of fourteen, but the results (by student number) were transmitted to us for the class as a whole, as well as on an individual basis, so it was obvious where everyone ranked (First, 2.1, etc.) As my former university is one of the seven ancient universities located in the British Isles, I should imagine that the same process is likely to occur across the water, but maybe not.

    In any event, I should suppose that only a small amount of people would ever consider using the term on their CV, as coming first in your year (whatever the discipline) is a rarity in and of itself.

    EDIT: Hmm..reading back on the exchange, I realize that I sound like a bit of an obnoxious twit! I definitely won't win any valedictorian titles for communication, but my rather ill-made point is that it is (however rarely) used in contexts hors North America.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  29. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    "the results (by student number) were transmitted to us for the class as a whole, as well as on an individual basis, so it was obvious where everyone ranked (First, 2.1, etc."

    Yes, we were told who got a first, who a 2:1 etc. I think there were maybe two firsts in my year, plenty of 2:1s and 2:2s, possibly one or two thirds. But within those categories there was no ranking. No one came top, or 15th, or 24th. These days students get their individual marks for each module and an overall mark for the degree as well as their classification by grade (1st, 2:1 etc.) but they are not ranked. I know this for a fact as my oldest daughter graduated this year at a British University. I suppose theoretically they could all get together and work out a ranking, but life is short...

    As for your last point, well, someone's going to come top of every class, whether they know it or not... But if you've got it, flaunt it, of course!
     
  30. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    See the edit! In any one course, the number of people achieving firsts is likely to be exceedingly small, in mine, for example, there was only one, whilst everyone else got either a 2.1 or 2.2, enabling the valedictorian to be identified right off the bat. Discussion between us enabled everyone to know where they came, but in bigger groups, you're right, it'd be a waste of time (and people would probably lie anyway).

    But if you're out looking for your first or second job, and you know you've got it, why not use it - that'd be my thinking behind it.
     
  31. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    Difficult to answer, it depends...
    A "classe préparatoire" is usually composed of around 40-45 students.
    For first year medical students that could be 1000 or more, dropping to 200 or so in the second year.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2012
  32. LART01

    LART01 Senior Member

    The Hague,Netherlands
    French-France

    Hi again,
    Just to be clear : As far as I know you cannot get this "title" from the CAPES or Aggregation as they are "only " examinations.
    Take a military school like Saint-Cyr for instance.
    You will study there 3 years to become a commissioned officer.You will be in a class of 20 to 30 out of a total number of 100 students ( 4 classes total) in the same study year.
    The 3rd and last year you will take your final exams and there will be a ranking from the results you get. If you get the best averages, you will be bombarded major de promotion, the promotion being the total number of students passing their exams.
    ( let's say 95 passed out of 100; then you are number 1 out of 95)

    Same principles apply to a business school, say for a Master degree as long as students have the same majors. This is the difficult part :
    How can you rank students if they study different things? What is comparable? What is not?

    Saint-Cyr is a good example as cadet officers all learn the same things and take the exact same exams!
     
  33. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    Thank you very much both moustic and LART01

    Moustic, for a 'classe prépa' of 45 students, would there be lots of classes of similar sizes preparing for the ENS entrance exam all over France? So you could be 'major de promo' out of your class, but not enter the ENS with highest marks for your year of entrants? Is there an entrance exam even? If so, is it a competitive exam?

    I'm still trying to ask the right questions here. Thanks for continuing to answer...

    I'm interested LART01 that you say people taking the CAPES and Agrég are not ranked, as I would have thought that, being competitive exams, the ranking would be very important, particularly as, as I understand it, they are used to assign teaching posts. Am I right about that? If I am, my understanding is that the number of people who are awarded the degree in any given year corresponds to the number of posts, with the top however many it is getting both degree and job. If there are 500 posts available it matters very much whether you come 499th or 501st in your year, so surely the candidates must be ranked, even if they are not told what their ranking is?

    "Same principles apply to a business school, say for a Master degree as long as students have the same majors. This is the difficult part :
    How can you rank students if they study different things? What is comparable? What is not?"
    This is exactly my problem. What's the point of asking for ranking on an official form when the course may have been taken by a handful of people or less? If you did a research-based Master's, no one will have done the same thing as you, by definition, so how can your results be ranked?

    Can anyone give me an answer specifically referring to higher degrees at French universities? Let's say, a Master's in sociology or something. Would you get a ranking for that?
     
  34. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I can jump back in to answer that. I have an M.A. in political science from one of the French ''Sciences Po''. Unlike in Ireland, general rankings were never shown to the class, though as French results are broken down to a granular level (i.e. 15.96/20), it's easier to know where you fall within the general titles of ''mention assez bien, bien, très bien''. For me to know where I came exactly however, I had to ask everyone else what they got.
     
  35. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    Thank you very much Pedro, that is so useful! And it makes perfect sense. Particularly if it was a research-based Master's, where your dissertation wouldn't have been directly comparable to anyone else's. Ranking only works if like is being compared with like I would think. But maybe it was a taught course?

    Either way, if you weren't given a ranking for your Master's at Sciences-po, I assume that non-assignation of rank for Master's would be general at universities in France?

    So then I'm stuck wondering why the question of ranking is raised at all on this wretched application to enrol for a Doctorate! Unless it applies to, say, holders of the CAPES, where ranking seems crucial to the point of the thing, but LART01 says it's not used there either...

    Any ideas?? In the meantime I'm going to put 'First in your year' and hope that those reading it will either a) be familiar with the system and know what that means or b) not have a ranking and leave it blank.

    Thanks again to everyone who has helped so far with this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  36. LART01

    LART01 Senior Member

    The Hague,Netherlands
    French-France
    I'm interested LART01 that you say people taking the CAPES and Agrég are not ranked, as I would have thought that, being competitive exams, the ranking would be very important, particularly as, as I understand it, they are used to assign teaching posts.

    Hi
    Students would request where preferably they would like to be assigned ( I think on a regional level, they cannot choose a school)
    Then depending on availability of posts in a region and points they gather from their grades but also their family situation
    If you are married with kids you get a number of points..Single, less or no points etc....There might be other conditions
     
  37. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    I hope this clarifies the subject a little more for you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  38. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    I've just seen yours Moustic, which is really helpful, so thanks very much for that.

    I've also just done a quick google (why didn't I think of that before?) and it seems that there are lots of people out there being awarded 'major de promotion' at the CAPES and Agrég... And also Maîtrise.

    So, one last question, if you are ranked 'major de promotion' specifically for the CAPES, which is, I think, like the Bac, a national exam, the same for all in a given discipline, does this imply you have come top out of all the people in France for that year, so out of hundreds - thousands for all I know? Or just top of the say 30 students in your class? Or top in your region, perhaps, if it is set regionally?

    I'm asking this out of interest - I'm going to leave my translation as it is. But I really would like to know, for future reference.
     
  39. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
     
  40. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    Ah, OK, thanks. That's the opposite of what I assumed from your response about the ENS, where a 'major de promotion' from a specific class might not be good enough to be among the students accepted into the institution, so definitely not top nationally, or even necessarily within the Académie.

    So if you got your CAPES in 2010 and 1000 people took the same paper as you and you were 'major de promotion', everyone would understand that you came top out of 1000 people?

    Does this mean that all those people who turn up via google saying they were 'major de promotion' at this or that CAPES were first in France?

    I'm sorry to go on about this, but I really want to nail it and it just keeps slipping away...
     
  41. florence a Senior Member

    Paris
    French
    I've never heard promotion being used for agrégation or CAPES.
    Major de promotion, I think, refers to schools where you have a competitive exam at the end of the school (in addition to entering it): ENA, Polytechnique, etc.
     
  42. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
     
  43. franc 91 Senior Member

    France
    English - GB
    The CAPES and the Agrégation are competitive examinations (concours) held each year for prospective teachers for a limited number (nationwide) of teaching posts in the various subjects taught in a lycée or at a university (they can also do research). These two examinations just mentioned have nothing to do with un major de promotion, who is - as has already been explained - the person who has gained the highest marks from among his or her 'promotion' at the completion of their course. Une promotion is the yearly intake of students that have passed the competitive examination to enter une grande école and progress together through that school. The word and the tradition that goes with it originated at the Military School of Saint Cyr where the first student officer of his or her year is given the grade of sergent-major. This idea has since spread to many other grandes écoles around France who have obviously reinterpreted it according to their own needs. - I suggest - First of his/her year's intake at (School).
     

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