RIC CARL, sinon rien

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by dov, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. dov

    dov Member

    hi all,

    I would like to find an accurate translation for many slogans of RIC (the institutionnal proposal of the gilets jaunes, referendum by initiative of citizens) :

    "RIC CARL, sinon rien" my attempt : "RIC CARL, or nothing" (?)
    "le vrai RIC ; méfiez-vous des imitations !" my attempt : "the real/true/genuine (?) RIC ; beware of imitations !" (?)
    "à instituer sans modération !" my attempt : "to institute (???) without moderation"

    BTW, I want to translate "RIC CARL" (Referendum d'Initiative Citoyenne constitutive, abrogative, révocatoire, législative) in english while preserving the order of the letters of the acronym : What do you thing about "Referendum by the Initiatibe of Citizens for Constitution, Abrogation, Recall and Legislation" ?

    Thank you in advance for your help ! ;):p:oops: :thumbsup:o_O:thumbsup:

  2. Esperluète

    Esperluète Senior Member

    England & France
    French - France
    "RIC CARL, sinon rien". You'll no doubt know that it’s a play on words on « un Ricard, sinon rien », making it thus nigh on impossible to translate while keeping the very culture-specific pun.

    RIC = Citizens’ Initiative Referendum.

    "le vrai RIC ; méfiez-vous des imitations !". Also a slogan adapted from a long-standing Pernod Ricard advertising campaign, so if you kept the same pattern in English (We demand the genuine CIR/the genuine article/the real McCoy etc. beware of imitations!) the gist of the message would be understood but the actual joke would fall flat.

    "à instituer sans modération !". This one also has a boozy flavour… (« A consommer avec modération », « Boire avec modération » etc.) but it might be slightly easier to find a jokey equivalent with this one. It’s "Drink responsibly" in the UK.
  3. dov

    dov Member

    Hello Esperluette,

    the strength of the first slogan is its simple wording : "sinon rien" is litteraly equivalent to "or nothing", it does not involve humour or cultural implicitness

    "à instituer sans modération" : No one says "drink with moderation" in English ?? does "to institute without moderation" or "to institute responsibly" can work ("institute a referendum" ? Do I use the right verb BTW...? It sounds a little literal...)
  4. Esperluète

    Esperluète Senior Member

    England & France
    French - France
    I'm sorry but it does. As I explained in #2 "RIC CARL, sinon rien" is a play on words on « un Ricard, sinon rien », it's a very culture-specific play on words that cannot be rendered in English. For starters, you'd have the big hurdle of the acronym RIC CARL to clear (very similar to RICARD) as it's an untranslatable and then the humorous effect to render on top of that.

    "Drink in moderation" is commonly said ("Moderation in all things/All things in moderation" is an old saw), although "Drink responsibly" is the health warning used in campaigns etc. But most of the examples of "Drink with moderation" you’ll find on the Internet are direct translations from the French or other languages that use that phrase.

    No, people would probably use "to enforce" here.

    It would be OK if you considered the concept systemically. But "to hold" a referendum is much more common (also to launch).
  5. dov

    dov Member

    Thank you, your detailed answer is very helpful.:)

    I found a quote from the manufacturer Paul Ricard (Pernod Ricard celebrates invasion of Scotland) explaining that the slogan does not sound good in Scotland, here is what he says: "In France, we have a slogan "Ricard or nothing". It works well there - Ricard is the number one spirits brand. But if we say that in other countries, it wouldn't succeed."
    His explanation points out that the slogan does not work for market reasons (which are a cultural reasons indeed).
    by trying to reverse the reasoning, if slogans such as "Nexpresso, what else?" should be translated in french, it would simply sounds like "Nexpresso, quoi d'autre ?" not eloquent once translated, but remaining intelligible to be in the advertising parody (To note, the purpose of this translation is not to render the marketing power of the slogan).

    I see. In this specific case (that of the RIC), the proposal is intended to be incorporated into the constitution (and therefore into the legislation)... "to enforce" (appliquer, exécuter) would mean it's already in the law, "to hold" (tenir), "to launch" (déclencher) too ?
    the aim here is to introduce into the law and democratic procedures an innovative framework allowing citizens to petition for a referendum without needing the consent of the parliament or president.

    I was inspired by this article, Gilets Jaunes Referendum by Initiative of Citizens (RIC): Push to Revive a Democracy | NEWS JUNKIE POST, knowing that the acronym to be translated is more complex (RIC being unhexausive). RIC-CARL means in French Referendum d'Initiative Citoyenne Constitutive, Abrogative, Révocatoire et Législative, "CARL"referring to the constitutional possibility of referendums "in all matters" (i.e. 4 different situations). Based on the article (and trying to preserve the acronym), I would have translated it as : Referendum by initiative of citizens for Constitution, Abrogation, Representation and Legislation.
    Constitution :
    constitutional amendment, Abrogation : abrogation of laws, Legislation : proposition of laws, Representation/Recall : the revocation of politicians' mandates.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  6. Esperluète

    Esperluète Senior Member

    England & France
    French - France
    If it’s part of a system then “to institute” is fine although I’m not a great fan of the word for a one-off event, just as “instituer” would work much better with “un (système de) referendum” than with “un référendum on its own (hence my comment "It would be OK if you considered the concept systemically"). The RIC would be part of a whole system geared towards prioritising referendums I understand, and as such would have to be embedded into the constitution, so “to institute” (or “instigate”, “establish”, “introduce” etc.) would make more sense in this case. “To enshrine (in law)” is probably a better term here but not for the purposes of your sentence (a slogan).

    “To enforce” (faire appliquer) was in response to your question in #3) (“does "to institute without moderation" or "to institute responsibly" can work). "To hold" and "to launch" a referendum have slightly different meanings; whether they actually mean that “it’s already in the the law” is moot as it all depends what an organisation like the Gilets Jaunes for instance would make of the existing or future legislation.

    Even if you managed to replicate in English the exact acronym used by the Gilets Jaunes (RIC CARL) in a convincing way (enough for it to stick), you’d never manage to invest your slogan with enough cultural heft for it to resonate with English speakers (unlike the French who would automatically associate “Un RIC CARL sinon rien” with “Un Ricard, sinon rien”). So while it might be technically possible to juggle with the letters and come up with something half acceptable, it would end up being any odd slogan (and probably a weird one at that) thereby defeating the point, you'd only go through a lot of trouble to end up with a culturally meaningless motto. There is a multiplicity of meaning here that just cannot be reproduced.

    The translation in your source/link, “Referendum by Initiative of Citizens" (RIC), is far too literal and is just plain wrong. There are no other Google occurrences for it, other than those referencing this French journalist’s half-baked translation, he clearly has made no effort to actually translate the acronym properly. As I wrote in #2, RIC = Citizens’ Initiative Referendum. You could probably just about cobble something together in English that delivers on “RIC CARL” (without the cultural associations) but it wouldn’t half sound odd and contrived.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019

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