FR: on ne peut que

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Miss Lauren

Member
Australia, English
Bonjour!

J'essaie de traduire cette phrase "On ne peut que souscrire au point de vue sévère récemment exprimé par Thomas Friedman dans le New York Times..."

I have managed to translate the second part of the sentance as ...'subscribe to the harsh point of view recently expressed by new york times colunist Thomas Friedman' but the first part of the sentance on ne peut que....is troubling me.

Hope someone can help!
 
  • Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    On ne peut que XXX” means that XXX is so obvious that you have – so to say – no other choice but XXX.

    The translation of “On ne peut que…” is pretty straighforward as I think you have a similar way to say it in English: “We can only but…”

    Here “souscrire à” is a rather formal way to say “agree with”. Is “subscribe to” also formal or not?
     

    mnewcomb71

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    One can only agree with (sbuscribe to) the harsh point of view recently expressed by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times.

    I did not include "the comumnist" because it did not appear in the original.
     

    Miss Lauren

    Member
    Australia, English
    Thanks heaps guys - as soon as I posted it I found the answer - should have held out a little longer before posting!
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    Would “one can only but agree…” be incorrect? Or maybe it's too emphatic?
    I would have to say that this is incorrect. 'Only' must follow 'but' if you want to use them together, former strengthening the latter -- for example, you find it in Shakespeare and Milton -- but this usage is no longer current.

    The two possible forms are 'one can but agree' and 'one cannot but agree', meaning 'one can do no more than to agree' and 'one can do no less than to agree' respectively. To translate 'on ne peut que...', the latter form is required, as Outsider suggested.
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    On ne peut que XXX” means that XXX is so obvious that you have – so to say – no other choice but XXX.

    The translation of “On ne peut que…” is pretty straighforward as I think you have a similar way to say it in English: “We can only but…”

    Here “souscrire à” is a rather formal way to say “agree with”. Is “subscribe to” also formal or not?
    I don't believe it is especially formal. It is usually found in particular contexts, e.g. I do not subscribe to the theory/the notion/ the idea/the belief that..., meaning "I'm not one of those who accept..."

    That said, it is perhaps not a good translation for this sentence. "Agree with", perhaps, or simply "accept." Another word that comes to mind is "echo." I think this might be a good choice.

    Cheers!
     
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