À toi dont la santé défaille


Hi everyone!

I would like to translate this French title in English, but I have no clue how to keep the tone and the spirit of it. Any word to word translation gives a terrible result. This title comes from this article: A toi, dont la santé défaille… if you want to have a sense of the context.

Any suggestion?

  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi jfnoubel, I agree that a word-for-word translation doesn't capture the tone and spirit of the piece. This would actually make a great question in a test for translators. The first question I ask myself is who is the translation for? Evidently not a linguist, but for someone with serious health problems trying to make sense of their predicament and find a way forward. They don't care what the French words are, they want to know what the message is. Having said that, as it is the title of the piece, you want something that will intrigue the reader and make him want to read on.
    Therefore I'm inclined to go completely radical here, and not be too constrained by the French title. In particular I would lose (in English) the "à toi" which, for me, doesn't work at all here in translation. I don't think I'm completely happy with any of these, but here are some options that have occurred to me, for what they are worth.
    Mind over Matter, Substance over Form, When the Body Says No (there is a book with this title), When the Flesh Weakens, Body and Soul.

    I myself can see objections to these too, but that's translation for you - it's an art, not a science. Maybe someone else will be inspired!
    Last edited:

    Graine de Moutarde

    Senior Member
    American English
    I second jetset's suggestion!

    Of course, reading over Enquiring Mind's response, maybe you could say "For those whose health is failing" or

    When the physical interferes

    For those sound in mind but weak in body

    For those whose flesh is weak--sounds more Biblical to me, though.

    When You Body Fails You

    Just some random ideas! I hope they help you a little!

    ~~~Graine de Moutarde


    Wow, thanks! Thanks Enquiring Mind, I appreciate your thinking. The question you raise make my translation work quite difficult. Indeed, do I want to translate words or do I want to translate into another culture? I envy professional translators who can obviously do both. That said, the suggestions you make don't really give justice to the text that follows. So I would rather stick to something closer to the original title.

    Jetset and Graine de Moutarde, thank you for your suggestions. If you both agree that "For you, whose health is failing ?" works, then I'll use it.

    Thank you again!


    Senior Member
    English - American
    Particularly since this is a title, I would agree with Enquiring Mind that there are better translations than a word-for-word translation.

    For me, looking at the article, I might suggest "Living with failing health" or "Failing health and soulful living"


    Thank you JAQT. The title you suggest still doesn't give justice to the article that wants to talk personally to the read whose health fails. The title you propose would work for a how to or a method, but the article doesn't take this path. More like an intimate reflexion. Note that it uses the "tu" for that. Other ideas?
    < Previous | Next >