points de suspension (use)

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pollycat34

Senior Member
English - NZ
This type of punctuation is used a lot in a document I am translating. I keep repeating "and so on", "and so forth". How would you translate this in Enlglish, do you have a better way, apart from "etc."?
 
  • DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Hello pollycat34 :)

    Please note that you are in the French-English forum while I have the impression you just want English synonyms of "and so on and so forth".
    Could you please explain what you want exactly, so that forer@s don't try to guess ;)

    Thanks for your understanding :)

    DearPrudence
    moderator
     

    pollycat34

    Senior Member
    English - NZ
    I am looking for how we would replace the profuse use of "..." in a French book, when translated into English. The French like using the ellipse much more than the English do, and I am looking for a good way to get around this in an English translation. No, it would not be possible to keep all the instances of "..." in English. In the context, this is a particularly French use of punctuation.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    Apart from this "etc." usage, note that "..." if also often used to indicate that some words have been removed, e.g. for clarity sake when quoting a long sentence.
    I.e. you said in your 1st post How would you translate this in Enlglish...apart from "etc."?
    Usually, ellipsis is within brackets ("[...]"), but not always.
     

    pollycat34

    Senior Member
    English - NZ
    You're right Jean. I will see if I can keep some of the "..." and translate the others by "and so on" or "etc".
     

    Nicosito

    Senior Member
    French /UK English - bilingual
    I am facing the same question as pollycat34 was about a year and a half ago regarding this "particularly French use of punctuation".

    I'll have to find a way around it for each individual sentence. Perhaps there are ways to insinuate something that suits the specific idea each time.

    However, if anyone has any generic solution in addition to "etc." and its variants "and so on and so forth", "and all that jazz" "the rest is history" "The rest, dear reader, is for you to imagine" and anything useful that's less clichéd, I'd be grateful.

    Nico.
     

    Nicosito

    Senior Member
    French /UK English - bilingual
    Ok, but this particular use: to insinuate there is something more, to create mystery and incite imagination, to replace "etc." works in French but doesn't exist in English.

    Whence the problem of what to replace it with in translating to English.
     

    pollycat34

    Senior Member
    English - NZ
    Hi Nicosito,

    I'm glad to see someone else knows what I'm talking about. So to all of the people who replied: yes, of course, the "ellipse" is a well-known and useful form of punctuation in English too, no one is disputing that fact. However, there are some instances in French writing when it is used profusely in a particularly French style - and this is where the English text needs to find another worthy equivalent.
    So yes, I am asking for English synonyms, but no, this is not a question for the "English only" forums because it is a specific translation problem when translating French (mainly literary) to English texts.
     

    xiancee

    Senior Member
    French
    pollycat34 can you give an example of what you are talking about? :) That would make answers easier, working on matter!
     

    Nicosito

    Senior Member
    French /UK English - bilingual
    [Hi pollycat34, I felt the same way too!]

    Xiancee:

    Here are a couple, from the blurb on the back of a book (this also contains a third paragraph, and ALL of them end the same aforementioned way):
    "Un livre de rêve, indispensable a tous les amateurs de six cordes..." [Sous-entendu: à vous faire rêver, vous les amateurs de guitares aux yeux songeurs et 50 Euros dans la poche.]


    So far: "A dream book and a must for all lovers of the six strings"

    "Ces guitares devinrent légendaires également parce qu'elles surent séduire de grands guitaristes qui, souvent, leur restèrent fideles tout au long de leur carrière. Ainsi B.B.King et sa Gibson ES 335 nommée Lucille, Jimi Hendrix et sa Stratocaster, George Harrison et sa Rickenbacker 12 cordes électrique, Jimmy Page et sa Les Paul…"

    [Sous-entendu: et cetera, et cetera et y il y en a d'autres et j'en passe -peut être que si tu achètes le livre tu en sauras plus? T'es curieux? Avoue!]

    To date: "These guitars also became legends because they were good enough to seduce great guitarists who in many cases stayed faithful to them throughout their careers. Thus we have B.B.King and his Gibson ES 335 named Lucille, Jimi Hendrix and his Stratocaster, George Harrison and his electric, 12-string Rickenbacker, Jimmy Page and his Les Paul"

    Et voila.

    Nico.
     
    Last edited:

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello,
    It seems to me that the two samples given by Nicosito suggest that there may not be a generic solution.
    For the second guitar sample one could end with:
    "... are just examples."
    but that wouldn't fit for the first.
    Maybe I'm too pessimistic.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    There is no fast answer. It's very rare that good English style can leave these French dots unchanged, though perhaps in some circumstances...?

    Because in English the '...' means either:
    1. that there are words missed out ("Friends, Romans, countrymen ... I come to bury Caesar...") or else,
    2. they trail off in teasing suspense as I did after "circumstances" above.
    In English they don't mean etc. and can't be left untranslated. All the above suggestions are good.
     

    Nicosito

    Senior Member
    French /UK English - bilingual
    Thanks to both of you.

    I might go for something like "to name but a few" for the second example, and indeed seek a tailor-made solution for each occurrence -though something tells me this text is going to have a fair number of them....

    Nicholas.
     

    xiancee

    Senior Member
    French
    Do you really think that "..." really have to be translated? What about that part of mystery induced by those dreamy dots....
    Points de suspension ... suspense!
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Do you really think that "..." really have to be translated?

    Everything in a translation has to be translated. The difference is that some things, when translated, actually look the same -- words like expansion or payable or football. But everything, including punctuation, ought to pass through the mind of the translator. And most punctuation changes between French and English.
    • the space disappears before ? and ! and :
    • guillemets change into inverted commas
    • most colons should be replaced by a semicolon or a dash
    • the decimal comma becomes a point
    • many commas should be replaced by a semicolon, others by and or or
    • ...and these dots often have to go!
     

    Nicosito

    Senior Member
    French /UK English - bilingual
    I second Keith Bradford's emotion.

    A way around that insinuation of mystery hasn't yet had a specific answer here, though there must be a way -or a multitude of ways- to obtain an equivalent effect.

    Nico.
     
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