au chomage technique / partiel / temporaire

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by chouchou4484, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. chouchou4484

    chouchou4484 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France - French / US - English
    Hello all :)

    Almost everyday I have to translate "1200 travailleurs au chomage partiel" or "au chomage technique" and I always wonder which way to put it in English (the "au" part).

    Is it on, under, subject to, or a totally different structure? I usually try to turn the sentence around to avoid the problem but it's really bothering me so if someone could give me an answer I would really appreciate it.


    ~ Chouchou
  2. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    I suspect it may depend on the exact sentences (if that's the whole sentence we would probably say "laid-off workers/employees" or "workers/employees who have been made redundant") - previous thread here.
  3. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    It varies from case to case:
    • 1200 people on short-time working (= partiel)
    • 1200 workers structurally unemployed (= technique, though I don't know what that means)
    • 1200 workers made redundant (= économique)
    • 1200 people temporarily out of work (= temporaire)
    However, my dictionary gives en chômage for all of these - is there a difference in meaning here between en and au?
  4. chouchou4484

    chouchou4484 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France - French / US - English
    Thanks to both of you for your quick answers.

    cropje_jnr, that's usually what I do :) and thanks for the thread, it is usefull.

    Keith, I have never seen or heard en chomage technique ou partiel ou economique, always au.

    I don't think there is much difference between chomage partiel and chomage technique, but in both cases employees temporarily stop working for a defined period of time for lack of production needs.
  5. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    1,200 laid-off workers would work in AE, or 1,200 workers experiencing (temporary) layoffs

    Laid off/on a layoff really means au chômage technique, but it is often used instead of "fired" because it doesn't sound quite so bad. To be precise you could say temporarily laid off

    redundant is BE; we don't use it in the US
  6. archijacq Senior Member

    french France
    également: furlough (chômage technique)
  7. chouchou4484

    chouchou4484 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France - French / US - English
    Thanks a lot, especially since I write in US English :)

    Archijacq, is furlough BE or AE? Is it colloquial or formal? How can it be used in a sentence? Sorry but I've never heard it before, I'm intrigued :D
  8. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    See this other WRF thread on furlough here.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  9. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    Je crois qu'on appelle 'chômage technique' l'arrêt d'activité de l'entreprise en raison de contraintes extérieures. Par exemple dans l'industrie du bâtiment et travaux publics (BTP), lorsqu'il fait trop froid ou que le temps est trop mauvais, l'entreprise ferme et les employés sont "au chômage technique".
  10. anglais428 Senior Member

    UK, English
    je dirais que 'chomage technique' veut dire 'structural unemployment' (the jobs available do not suit the labour available) et 'chomage partiel' veut dire 'cyclical unemployment' (unemployment due to changes in the business cycle).
  11. tygwyn Member

    UK English (native)
    I know this is an old thread but in my humble opinion, the discussion seems to be heading towards the incorrect conclusions. There is another, more accurate, thread on "chomage technique" versus "redundancy" and "layoffs" here.

    I most humbly submit that contrary to anglais428's suggestion, "chomage technique" does not mean "structural unemployment". "Chomage technique" is quite well defined by the thread cited above. It means that I cannot do my job (cf. the verb "chomer" which means, roughly, to not work) for technical reasons. "Structural unemployment" means the level of unemployment in an economy which can never be reduced, because (as anglais428 says), the remaining jobs available do not suit the remaining labour available.

    Similarly for "chomage partiel", which means that, for example, my employer reduces my time from 100% to 60% because of a lack of work to do. In this example I might consider that I am 60% employed and 40% unemployed. This was seen during the recent economic downturn in French industry where some factory managers preferred to reduce everyone's hours, rather than keep some employees and make others redundant.
  12. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Regarding "furlough" - this is AE, never used in British English. (I always thought it meant leave, holiday, derived from the German auf Urlaub.)

    Regarding "redundant" - this means that the post (NOT the individual) is no longer necessary to the operation of the business. E.g. The introduction of word processing made the position of copy-typists redundant.
  13. chouchou4484

    chouchou4484 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France - French / US - English
    Ok, thanks for this explanation Keith
  14. Entrains Senior Member

    For all practical purposes, "chômage technique" is improperly used as you will not find it in the French Labor code. "Chômage partiel" is the one that Courts and Labor lawyers use.
    The expression "en chômage partiel" is correct.
    But when you collect unemployment (you're on the dole) then you are "au chômage".
  15. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    And in AE, the term redundant/redundancy is unknown (and would not generally be understood) in this context.

    She had her job eliminated is the usual way we express this. The company has decided on a number of job eliminations, or more generally, downsizings.

    The bureaucrats in the US have created a fancy euphemism for this here: reduction in force (commonly known as a RIF - "riff"). She got riffed (but this is generally only used in the public sector.)
  16. Chuck Bass

    Chuck Bass Member

    French - France
    Voilà une explication précise de ce qu'est le "chômage partiel" :


    Selon le site du Pôle Emploi "chômage partiel" et "chômage technique" sont deux façons de dire la même chose.

    Ceci ne peut pas se traduire par "redundancy" dont vous trouverez la définition ici :

    "Structural unemployment" serait une autre façon incorrecte de traduire "chômage technique" :

    Finalement "layoff" a aussi un sens différent puisque ça implique un licenciement définitif SAUF s'il s'agit d'un "temporary layoff".

    Conclusion: Le terme qui se rapproche le plus est donc "temporary layoff" comme vous pourrez le constater en lisant le site suivant :

    Néanmoins il faudrait plus de recherche avant d'affirmer qu'il s'agit d'une correspondance exacte des termes, chose qui m'étonnerait un peu :)

    Je voudrais noter que c'est inutile de répondre "je crois que...", "je pense que..." ou "je dirais que.." si on n'est pas sûr de ce qu'on va proposer puisqu'on confond les usagers et on risque de donner une mauvaise traduction. Vaut mieux faire une petite recherche si on veut aider lorsqu'on a des doutes ;)

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