skeletons escaping their closets

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by mylarbono, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. mylarbono Senior Member

    English, USA
    Bonjour:

    While I know that <<Il a des squelettes dans son placard>> is not really a French phrase, if I nonetheless wanted to joke about that phrase, and I wanted to say, "Skeletons have a way of escaping their closets," would this make sense: <<Les squelettes ont une façon d'échapper à leurs placards.>>

    Merci d'avance...

    -Mylar-
     
  2. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    Alsace, France
    French - France, ♀
    Peut-être : son /le passé a tendance à ressurgir ou à refaire surface [de lui-même ?]
     
  3. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    That's definitely what it means; now I'm curious too, though, how weird would it sound to translate directly, even if it's not truly idiomatic? Here's my try at it: Les squelettes savent/peuvent sortir des placards, or just des squelettes sortent des placards.
     
  4. mylarbono Senior Member

    English, USA
    Yeah, that's exactly what I'm trying to figure out: because "skeletons in the closet" is not truly a French phrase to begin with, would it be best just to do a literal translation of "Skeletons have a way of escaping their closets" or would that just be too odd. If it makes a difference, both people involved in the exchange speak fluent English and French, so the original English idiom would be familiar to both people.

    The thing that makes this even more complicated is that the intonation of the English sentence is important. It's not just "Skeletons can escape their closets" but "Skeletons have a way of escaping their closets." In English, of course, the difference is that the first sentence is a bland statement of a fact whereas the second sentence has a more "sinister" implication, as if the person speaking might reveal the secret.
     
  5. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    Alsace, France
    French - France, ♀
    "avoir un cadavre dans le placard" ou "dans l'armoire" se dit, alors avec beaucoup d'imagination, on peut concevoir qu'ils sortent de là comme des zombies sans attendre qu'on les y découvre.

    C'est peut-être pousser un peu loin, mais on peut inventer une phrase comme Tôt ou tard, les cadavres sortent des placards / finissent par quitter les placards.

    Plus réaliste et plus drôle à mon avis : ils tombent des placards (quand les placards sont trop pleins ;)).
     
  6. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    Plus un secret est honteux plus il se révélera...
     
  7. mylarbono Senior Member

    English, USA
    Actually, OLN, your middle suggestion seems quite close to the intention of the original English: "Tôt ou tard, les squelettes finissent par quitter les placards." I wonder if that might work.

    Merci bien.
     
  8. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Tôt ou tard le refoulé fait surface
     
  9. Raffa.English Senior Member

    France
    French
    Hello.
    1 - 'Quitter les placards' or 'échapper à leurs placards' does not sound idiomatic to my ear.
    2 - 'Avoir un cadavre dans le placard' is idiomatic but probably more colloquial in French than in the original.
    So I suggest: 'Le cadavre pourrait bien s'échapper du placard'
     
  10. mylarbono Senior Member

    English, USA
    Thanks for the thoughts, Raffa. I know that in French it would be more natural to use "cadavre dans le placard," but in this instance, the exact word--skeletons--is essential as it has been a theme throughout the conversations these two people have been having. Would changing the "cadavre" in your final suggestion to "squelettes" ruin the natural feel? Also, do you think the "pourrait bien" replicates the "sinister" intonation I mentioned above (see a couple of posts back)?

    Merci bien.
     
  11. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    ...trouvent moyen de sortir... ( :eek: )
     
  12. Raffa.English Senior Member

    France
    French
    Hello.
    1 - Technically, you can put 'squelette' instead of 'cadavre', but I feel you lose the natural idiom somewhat. The reader will get the gist, I presume.
    2 - That's why I put in the 'bien'; I thought it gave a slightly more worrying ring to the sentence, as intended.
     
  13. mylarbono Senior Member

    English, USA
    Thanks so much for all of the replies.

    Right now, this is what seems to best capture the intended tone: "Les squelettes pourrait bien s'échapper du placard."

    Merci bien.
     

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