Il fallait les réussir du premier jet

Angela Thomas

Senior Member
English -- USA
DOC: 1907 museum catalog on ancient mirrors -- Introduction
CONTEXT: Il en est de même des miroirs: je ne me souviens pas d'avoir constaté sur aucun de ceux que l'oxydation a épargnés, la moindre trace de ce défaut. [blowholes or air bubbles] Il fallait les réussir du premier jet, car le bronze ne supporte pas le recuit. Aucun des creux destinés à la fonte des miroirs ne nous est jusqu'à présent parvenu, mais par les moules d'orfèvrerie qui ne sont pas aussi rares, nous pouvons nous en faire idée.
ATTEMPTS: 1. It was necessary to succeed the first time because bronze does not support annealing.
2. It was necessary to be successful on the first attempt because bronze does not support annealing.
QUERY: I think I understand the basic meaning here, is there a better way to put this phrase? Should I perhaps add: The metalworkers had? It sounds awkward to have the passive sentence in this context.
Thanks in advance!
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    They had to be made in one shot/they had to be right the first time, because the bronze could not be melted again.
    By they I mean the mirrors, which should work grammatically, since as they are the subject of the prior sentence. Wait for comments on that one shot thought, as I'm not so confident there.
    Edited to add another thought
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Yes, I had the same thought as Kelly B: the idea of using 'shot'. But my idea was more along the lines of "You only get one shot at it". I'm not happy with that as a suggestion because a) 'you' is being introduced, but there is no justification for this personalisation in the French, and b) it's not the right register of language for a museum catalogue. However, it is correct in the sense of expressing the meaning of the French sentence....

    So, a little reluctantly I'm putting 'shot' to one side; instead, how about "There were no second chances, since bronze cannot be heated to melting point more than once". (...and I would avoid 'annealing', since I believe this means heating and cooling in a particular way, to have a particular effect, while the French here is talking about heating bronze (in a kiln?) to the point where it can be poured into a mould.
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