sollicitations malhonnêtes

indigospooky

Senior Member
English (UK)
Les sollicitations malhonnêtes ne manquent pas.

The context here is someone who has become rich and famous, and whose wife is always on the alert for people who only want to get to know them because of their wealth/fame/connections. I'm struggling to get something that sounds completely natural in English, as I don't think the usual translations of sollicitation really work. I think we're not really talking about requests here, are we? I wonder if anyone has anything better than:

There's no shortage of people with ulterior motives trying to approach us.

I'm not hugely happy with this ("trying to approach us" isn't great) although I think I'm on the right lines.
 
  • Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    Hi,

    Given the context (I've read this page of the book), I think that "malhonnêtes" is being misused in the French sentence, at least this word is too strong, and I agree with your use of "ulterior motives".
     

    indigospooky

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Thank you! That's helpful. Yes, you can really imagine the context and it's not that these people want to do anything really bad as such, it's just that they want to be friends with a famous person ...
     

    indigospooky

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Yes, thank you. That does sound a bit better, I think. I'm still not convinced by the "trying to approach us" but I think "people with an ulterior motive" will do nicely.
     

    indigospooky

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    You're confusing the French ultérieur and the English ulterior. The word dishonest would not be great here. Translation is all about context.
     

    Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    You must use the word "dishonnest"!
    No, given the context, you don't. As I wrote, "malhonnête" must not be understood literally, in this context. Nowhere in the 2 pages before and the two pages after this sentence, there is nothing about dishonest people, it's just about people wanting to approach a celebrity (a football player in this case), or to sell (not steal) something.
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    "ultérieur" does not mean at all "dishonest", an ulterior motive can be honest. You must use the word "dishonnest"!
    To me having ulterior motives implies a level of dishonesty. If you attempt to make friends with someone but have ulterior motives, then you're not being honest about why you want to be friends.
     

    Locape

    Senior Member
    French
    En effet, le dico WR le traduit par 'raison cachée' ou 'arrière-pensée'. J'aurais employé ce dernier terme dans ce contexte-ci ('les sollicitations sans arrière-pensées sont rares'), il est moins fort que 'malhonnête'.
    ulterior motive n(secret or underlying aim)raison cachée nf
    I suspected there was an ulterior motive for her unexpected offer of help.
    Elle paraissait ravie de me revoir après tant d'années mais je flairais une raison cachée derrière son enthousiasme.
    arrière-pensée nf
    Je sens qu'il a des arrière-pensées peu honnêtes.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Shouldn't this be in singular form? Or simply more common?
    People with an ulterior motive?
    In the singular you are suggesting a specific attitude or strategy that is self-interested and unrevealed.

    In the plural, as it is often used, a person with ulterior motives suggests a general mistrust of the person, or that there is clearly more than one area of hidden self-interest.
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Larsay, I’m really not sure why you’re so adamant here when “ulterior motives” is such a common expression. Here is the Oxford dictionary definition

    beyond what is obvious or admitted; intentionally hidden.
    "could there be an ulterior motive behind his request?"


    There is also the meaning of "at a later date", but personally I’d never heard that meaning until today.

    beyond what is immediate or present; coming in the future.
    "ulterior pay promised to the mariners"
     
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