faire la différence

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Senior Member
UK, English
I/m translating a product catalogue for a cosmetics company...It says that (I've missed out the name of the company)
Les laboratoires..... ...... ont pour objectif de faire la différence et d'innover...

Does it mean stand out from the crowd perhaps?

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  • bezani

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Ok, so the context is a court case wherein the applicants were able to demonstrate that the notary must have made an error in drafting the deceased's will, which did not seem to reflect her true last wishes.

    So. I have "En effet, il revient aux demandeurs de démontrer que le notaire n’a pas consigné adéquatement les volontés du défunt… sans bénéficier du témoignage de ce dernier quant à ses intentions ! Bref, de tels recours posent un défi important au niveau de la preuve, et la qualité de celle qui origine du défunt fait la différence."

    My attempt:
    Indeed, it is up to the applicants to prove that the notary did not accurately record the deceased’s last wishes… without the benefit of her testimony as to her intentions! In short, such actions pose a significant challenge in terms of evidence, and the quality of that coming from the deceased makes the difference.

    The part in bold is where I feel that this is not really what is meant in the French. The underlined sections are the parts that I would also like suggestions for better formulation.

    Thank you all,


    Senior Member
    "Faire la différence" can mean "to win, to prevail, to tip the scale ....".

    E.g. During a bicycle race, a participant is more efficient than his competitors when climbing a slope, and so manages to get ahead of the others when the race crosses mountains.
    You might say "il a fait la différence dans la montagne".

    Or during a legal battle, the final judgement was determined by the crucial testimony of a given witness. "C'est ce témoignage qui a fait la différence".

    I don't know if that particular meaning applies to your sentence.

    there seems to be a problem with this part of the sentence : "la qualité de celle qui origine du défunt fait la différence". I think something is missing. The verb "originer" doesn't exist. We have : avoir pour origine (= trouver son origine dans, provenir de, venir de) and être à l'origine de (= être la cause, la source de). And also "à l'origine" = "originally".
    And you refer to "le defunt" ("ce dernier") as "her". The deceased was a man or you would have "la défunte" and "cette dernière".
    Otherwise the explanations given by
    Magonette are fine.


    Senior Member
    "Originer" might be an overenthusiastic translation of "originate".

    Could this text be a French translation of a text originally written in English?


    Senior Member
    USA English
    I agree with Magonette's suggestion: the French reads like a translation
    it is up to > it falls to, it is the responsibility of
    actions > course of action,
    sans bénéficier > in the absence of written proof of
    a significant evidentiary challenge (??)
    and the final determination will depend upon the cogency of evidence attributable to the deceased


    Senior Member
    English UK
    As I often work in the world of sport, I usually think of confrontation and for me "faire la différence" = "gain the upper hand" (in a struggle). There's also "pull away from the field". That could work here, especially if field is replaced by competition => "pull ahead of the competition".


    Senior Member
    English, from Ireland
    To distinguish oneself means to stand out from the crowd, I humbly suggest: "XXX Laboratories aim to distringuish themselves, to be innovative ..."
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