1. Fleg New Member

    Austalia - English
    Moderator Note: Several threads have been merged to create this one.

    Can someone please tell me what "l'air du temps" means? Perhaps even a more general question - does any one have any good tips for seeking/searching for phrase translation? Thankyou for any tips you may have.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2009
  2. Jean-Michel Carrère Senior Member

    French from France
    l'air du temps : the spirit of the times
  3. charlie2 Senior Member

  4. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    L'air du temps = ce qui est à la mode en ce moment, ce dont on parle beaucoup.
  5. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    Please can you tell me what this means?
  6. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    It means (word for word translation): what people are much talking about, i.e., the topic that is discussed by all medias and fashion-victims, or something that is much trendy (I'm exaggerating in an explanatory purpose, of course! ;))

    In French: parler is not a transitive verb.
    Parler de quelque chose => Quelque chose dont on parle (dont = pronom relatif indirect)
  7. bongbang Senior Member

    So that's what it means, huh ? My mother's favorite perfume is called "the talk of the town". Unbelievable.

    I guess French makes everything seem classy. Maybe they should name a perfume "Connerie" just for laughs. (The same goes with the Chinese characters one sees plastered all over T-shirts these days.) :)
  8. zaby

    zaby Senior Member

    "L'air du temps" est une expression plutôt poétique. Ce parfum est aussi vendu aux Françaises ;)
  9. charlie2 Senior Member

    Merci Agnès, et joyeux 4245!:)
    "The talk of the town" marche parfaitement comme titre de la rubrique, mais cela convient au sens dans mon seconde contexte?
    "Since it is the talk of the town that we don't really love anymore" ?
  10. geve

    geve Senior Member

    France, Paris
    France, French
    Je me demande si dans ce contexte, la forme impersonnelle de l'anglais ne serait pas suffisante ? "Since today no one loves any more" (dans la chanson, Pagny joue sur "air du temps" / "ère du vide")
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2009
  11. undertheweather Member

    English, US
    Is there another way of saying talk of the town which is more formal?
  12. geve

    geve Senior Member

    France, Paris
    France, French
    Hi undertheweather,

    I have no satisfying suggestion, but considering your context, maybe you could find something like currents, trends...?
  13. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    I would suggest the era's ideology but it might sound too political.
    Spirit ?
  14. CARNESECCHI Senior Member

    French / France
    Isn't "ce qui est dans l'air du temps" equivalent to "what is blowing in the wind" ?
  15. Galahaad Member

    French - France
    Air du temps is the kind of locution I like... Three simple words but it is quite impossible to translate, it is always a question of context, feeling, timing, very funny in fact. Air, is it the element (air we breath) ... Or the look (apparence in French) ???
    Anyway, it's a poetic manner to say "now" in my view.
  16. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Just a question.. is it similar to the German word "Zeitgeist"?
  17. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Oui, tout à fait James, j'avoue y avoir également pensé.
  18. CriCri D'amour Member

    English / England
    Hi there,

    I am trying to translate this text into English, which is about the state of football in France. I feel this may be an idiomatic saying in French, which is why I can't seem to get the sense of it.

    The sentence goes; "Il faut interroger cette transmutation morale: elle en dit long sur l'air du temps culturel et politique."

    Its the part in bold I am struggling with. Does it mean that this change in morals is associated with changes in culture and politics?

    Thankyou so much... in advance! Am hitting my head against a brick wall! :)
  19. RuK Senior Member

    Outside Paris
    English/lives France
    It says a lot about the current atmosphere in culture and politics.
  20. Viola_ Senior Member

    Chennai, India
    France, French
    my attemps as an explanation: tendance actuelle
    for instance
    de nos jours, tout le monde a un téléphone portable, c'est dans l'air du temps
    hope this might help
  21. JeanneS New Member

    Romanian Romania
    Hello. I have a context for "l'air du temps" that I would like to translate. It's from Charles Aznavour's song La Boheme: "La bohème, la bohème / Ça voulait dire on a vingt ans / La bohème, la bohème / Et nous vivions de l'air du temps"
  22. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Hello Jeanne, :)

    l'air du temps has a double meaning here. As Agnès and others pointed out, it means the spirit of the era, but it also mean to live on very little, as if breathing was enough to sustain you. We have another similar idiom, vivre d'amour et d'eau fraîche, "to live on love and fresh water alone", it implies that people who have a passion do not have many material needs.
    In the Aznavour song, the young couple dedicate their life to art and love, without caring much about the future or being rich. It's one of my all-time favorites.:thumbsup:
  23. watergirl Senior Member

    San Francisco CA
    English, U.S.A.
    And also, just to add a footnote to this rather old discussion, I don't think the previously mentioned "talk of the town," which in English has a gossipy, overly faddish flavor to it, is at all a good translation for "l'air du temps" -- I think Agnes's explanation was slightly misinterpreted. I vote for "spirit of the times/era" or "zeitgeist" if anyone is keeping score. :)
  24. Merle Senior Member

    Limoges, France
    Is this one of those things that just WON'T translate, and that's why we say it in French??!!

    mood, current mood, current events, signs of the times, trends.....

    aaarrrggggghhh SOS, Merle
  25. Avignonais Senior Member

    USA, Anglophone
    quelque chose est dans l'air du temps ==>This thing is the buzzword these days.
  26. LivyJames Member

    Portsmouth, UK
    UK - English
    Hi. I saw a translation of l'air du temps on the forum, but could anyone explain "L"air du temps serait-il à l'impudeur, au voyeurisme?" (L'Express, 19/7/007). Thank you.
  27. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    The feel of the time (is one of...) (?)

    P.S. Welcome to the forum. :)
    P.P.S. Try to always provide wider context - I looked up the article on the web to get an idea.
  28. IrishStudent Member

    Ireland English

    "Elle n'est pas la seule a avoir voulu relever le defi d'un nouveau poste apparu un beau jour dans l'organigramme parce qu'il etait dans l'air du temps"

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  29. Frenchpastorale Senior Member

    I think it could be " trendy", " fashionable"...
  30. Lis

    Lis Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    English, USA
    According to Le Petit Robert: "L'air du temps: les idées, les manières d'une époque." Hope that helps!
  31. therubyslippers Member

    English - British

    In the context of a history of a department store "...expriment tout ce qui fait l’air du temps à travers une sélection sans cesse renouvelée de marques, des plus accessibles aux plus prestigieuses, des plus françaises aux plus internationales. "

    I have translated l'air du temps as the spirit of the times. Would you agree?

    Thanks in advance
  32. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    French - France, ♀
    l'air du temps : l'actualité, (et probablement ici) la mode

    faire l'air du temps could mean to start a trend or to make up/represent fashion

    spirit of the time has been used before in WR but sounds much more poetic than what I think is intended in what looks like a brochure.
  33. therubyslippers Member

    English - British
    Hi there,
    Thanks for the welcome and these comments. the making trends angle is great - thanks!
  34. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    I think you mean "starting trends" (not "making trends"), right?
  35. pmqs

    pmqs Senior Member

    Portsmouth, England
    English - South
    J'aime pas proposer un mot allemand, mais zeitgeist va bien ici, me semble-t-il.
  36. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    French - France, ♀
    Il y a je crois une nuance.
    L'air est semble-t-il plus léger que l'esprit. :)

    Le Zeitgeist se traduit par l'esprit du temps (tendances d'une époque, reflet de ses dimensions sociales et culturelles), pas par l'air du temps, qui décrit une mode, une actualité.
    Le texte parle de marques accessibles et prestigieuses, françaises et internationales.

    On dira :
    - situer "J'accuse" de Zola dans l'esprit du temps ;
    - au 15e siècle, l'esprit du temps a favorisé de grandes découvertes.
    mais :
    - manger des sushis, les dread locks sont dans l'air du temps.
  37. pmqs

    pmqs Senior Member

    Portsmouth, England
    English - South
    oui, merci pour ca..... ;)
  38. Bastoune

    Bastoune Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
    French & English - Canada
    Would the expression, "sign(s) of the times" work in some cases? It is the first thing that popped into my head.
  39. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    Sorry I don't see that in this case, and I can't think when I would translate l'air du temps that way. :(
  40. Ethel_34 Senior Member

    Hi everybody, need some help !

    Cette entreprise est dans l'air du temps.

    This company is in the spirit of times ?

    Thank you !
  41. ZONGO Senior Member

    France - Paris
    "Remains in touch with its time(s)"?
  42. Wopsy

    Wopsy Senior Member

    The garden of Ireland
    English - Ireland
    .. is of its time
  43. Ethel_34 Senior Member

    Thanks you Zongo, Wopsy i googled "to be of its time" but i found nothing... are you sure i can say "your company is of its time" (i am applying for a job, so i need to be sure... :) )
  44. Wopsy

    Wopsy Senior Member

    The garden of Ireland
    English - Ireland
    No, I think I would say 'yours is a company at the cutting edge (of the xxx industry, e.g.).
    This means that the company is one of the top ones, really modern & go-ahead. This is a very complimentary thing to say in a cv - just be sure that it is true!
  45. jpsqueen New Member

    I remember the commercial years ago when it first came out, and I remember that they said in English "Somethings in the air". However, it can mean a few things. But the perfume name is meant "Something's in the air.

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