a fast enterprise

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by HenryPez, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. HenryPez Member

    Hello everybody,
    I'm struggling to understand the meaning of "fast" in this sentence:
    William Clark is said to have called the expedition across the American continent a fast entreprise.

    I assume that "fast" here doesn't mean "quick" or "immoral". On the contrary it'd rather be something like long and difficult...
    Does somebody have an idea?
  2. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK

    Why would it not mean "quick"? I would translate it as "une entreprise rapide", "qui s'est déroulé rapidement". What makes you think it means "long" and "difficult"?
  3. Hildy1 Senior Member

    English - US and Canada
    Maybe it's the older meaning of "fast", i.e. firm. Like "hold fast".
  4. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    French - France, ♀
    enterprise = initiative ou projet

    fast, peut-être parce que le projet a été mené tambour battant.
    Que dit le reste du texte ?
  5. HenryPez Member

    thanks for your answers.

    newg => the text is about the lewis and clark expedition across America, it took them a while (more than 2 years) to cross North America. That's the reason why I don't think Clark would have said that the enterprise was "quick" or maybe he was being ironic...

    Hildy => "hold fast". that's a good idea, but "a firm enterprise" what would that be like?

    OLN => here is the rest of the text:
    "William Clark once called the expedition a fast enterprise; large, multi-faceted, planned meticulously, it was the product of many minds, many hands, hopes, dreams and many ambitions. Its planning reflected the restless intellect of President Thomas Jefferson, his cabinet and some of the best scientific minds of the day. Once launched, the enterprise depended on the sweat and toil of roughly 50 people, including one African American, several men of both European and Native American descent and eventually one Native American woman and her infant son."
  6. Hildy1 Senior Member

    English - US and Canada
    I can't think of a good way to say it - a definite plan, a major enterprise, something that is definitely going to happen, etc. Ideas from other people, please?
  7. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    Fast is used as in phrases like "fast friends" or 'steadfast' ... specifically the image of a "fast knot," one that cannot (easily) be untied ... so this group was 'cohesive' in more modern parlance ... once banded together they were bound fast the one to the other ... I'll let better minds than mine suggest how to render that into French ... though you might perhaps do something with à toute épreuve, no?
  8. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    ...solide ?
  9. pointvirgule

    pointvirgule Senior Member

    Mtl, QC
    langue française
    C'est le mot qui me venait à l'esprit spontanément.
    Ou bien sûre ?

    Fast colors don't run. :)
  10. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Je ne sais pas si on peut dire 'sûre', parce que c'était une expédition où ils s'apprêtaient à rencontrer des dangers...
  11. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    Except, solide what? Because "entreprise solide" is a pretty well set collocation for a 'sound business, viable firm' ... which is not at all the sense of the original.
  12. pointvirgule

    pointvirgule Senior Member

    Mtl, QC
    langue française
    I dunno, mg. You suggest à toute épreuve but then you say solide isn't the right sense? Don't know what to make of that.
    Solide, in the sense of bien ficelée/organisée, isn't that what is meant?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  13. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    Oh, I just love the phrase à toute épreuve; I pimp it when I can. ... In any case, I guess I mainly mean that you want to avoid any vocabulary in which 'enterprise' would be seen as referring to a commercial venture. Here the word 'enterprise' is intended entirely in the sense--- I don't know if 'etymological' applies here, original?--- of 'undertaking,' a thing a group of people band together to do. Meanwhile "fast" tells us that, once banded together, the bond was a tight and an unbreakable one. So, you know me, I can be wrong about these things, but "entreprise solide" sounds very business. Perhaps 'solidaire' in place of 'solide'? Un effort solidaire ???
  14. pointvirgule

    pointvirgule Senior Member

    Mtl, QC
    langue française
    Hm, OK, well, I take une entreprise here in the same non-business sense as you do in English. As for fast, I'm not sure if there is a single French word that matches it absolutely perfectly for this context. But to me, and I could be wrong, it does sound like Clark is saying that the whole affair was not a haphazard adventure but a well thought out, carefully planned undertaking involving many people. Bref, cette expédition n'était pas une équipée improvisée, c'était du solide. Unless I'm completely out of the ballpark.

    I hope someone comes up with an equivalent à toute épreuve ;), if there is one.
  15. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    I can see how the text would lead you to that association, given the proximity between the appearances of "fast" and "planned meticulously," apposition would tend to conflate them. But the adjective "fast" has (and more importantly, had) no such connotation. The sense is the one the OED gives as 4.b. Of a knot, band, etc.: Firmly tied, not easily loosed. Also fig. of an alliance, etc. There's a citation from Milton where he speaks of a "fast League" certain Prelates have entered into with some former Enemies.
  16. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Une initiative/une entreprise vouée au succès?

    Une opération béton ?
    Ça rime. :D
  17. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    une initiative solide
    une entreprise bien conçue ?
  18. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    Une aventure menée en toute cohésion ?
  19. Quaeitur

    Quaeitur Mod'elle

    Lille, France
    Do we know when he uttered this quote ? If it's before, it can be subject to interpretation. If it's after they finished their trek, I don't think it's unreasonable to consider that he meant quick in this context. The Northern American continent is wide. Crossing it, at the time, in 2 years is quite a feat for me.
  20. petit1 Senior Member

    français - France
    murement réfléchie

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