to go on welfare

Neoxm

Senior Member
French
hello !

I've found out that "on welfare" means "toucher l'aide sociale" but I have to understand the sentence "I didn't like going on welfare", is the meaning the same ??? I have no context because it's in a grammar exercise..
 
  • keumar83

    Senior Member
    French
    Ou peut-être plus naturellement

    Je n'aimais pas toucher les allocs / les ASSEDIC

    J'ai déjà vu aussi "vivre sur le dos de l'Etat" !
     

    Rory Melough

    Senior Member
    British English
    Welfare is generally an American term btw. I know it might seem a little confusing with the "going on"..... Basically "to go on" something, can mean to start.

    ie. He's gone on heroin, he's gone on a break with his girlfriend, she's going on annual leave tomorrow,,,,
     

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    French
    I would suggest: 'je n'aimais pas l'idée de me mettre aux ASSEDIC'. I understand he didn't like the prospect of going on welfare. And to me, 'go on welfare' is the passage from the state of independence to that of dependence on state aid.
     

    SomeWordsOfAdvice?

    Member
    English - U.S.
    Hello! In the U.S. there is a negative cultural subtext here. Since Ronald Reagan, the society has been encouraged to have extremely negative, unsympathetic views of people who use public support. "I didn't like going on welfare" carries the sense of shame that goes with financial desperation in the U.S. The richest people are made to feel deserving of the privilege of tax cuts and hundreds of subtle subsidies far in excess of any proportional benefits for the minimum wage earners, while the poorest are humiliated when they go broke paying for health care and heating oil. A translation would want to express the reluctance, shame, and defensiveness signaled by the "I didn't like" at the beginning.
     

    Rory Melough

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello! In the U.S. there is a negative cultural subtext here. Since Ronald Reagan, the society has been encouraged to have extremely negative, unsympathetic views of people who use public support. "I didn't like going on welfare" carries the sense of shame that goes with financial desperation in the U.S. The richest people are made to feel deserving of the privilege of tax cuts and hundreds of subtle subsidies far in excess of any proportional benefits for the minimum wage earners, while the poorest are humiliated when they go broke paying for health care and heating oil. A translation would want to express the reluctance, shame, and defensiveness signaled by the "I didn't like" at the beginning.
    Sorry, somewordsofadvice, I don't agree with this at all. There is nothing in the sentence "I didn't like going on welfare" that suggests shame. It's true that there is always stigma attached to claiming financial support - but this is valid for every country, not just America.

    Unless the writer has said they are ashamed of going on welfare, do not assume to know the reasons behind their decisions. Take the sentence as you find it and don't let your personal opinions interfere with your translation. Translate objectively.
     

    Lizaveta

    Senior Member
    UK
    UK English
    I would agree, the same socio-cultural context would apply in most countries. I would say that this cultural knowledge would add to your understanding of the text. In Britain, we would say 'going onto/claiming benefits.'
     

    Rory Melough

    Senior Member
    British English
    In Britain, we would say 'going onto/claiming benefits.' :tick:
    It's true that the cultural knowledge might add to your understanding of the text, but it doesn't affect the translation. Ultimately, you're translating a very simple sentence - "I didn't like going on welfare". How else are we supposed to translate this? "I didn't like going on welfare because I didn't want to suffer the stigma attached" ?

    Also, what phrases are available in French for translating this? "J'avais honte" ? Again, you're adding things to the text that aren't there.

    Consult Newmark on this for further information.
     

    SomeWordsOfAdvice?

    Member
    English - U.S.
    Objectivity means recognizing the cultural context. Welfare stigma in the US, I would posit, has significant differences from that in the UK. Since the phrase "going on" is obviously American, maybe other US contributors can say if I've veered too far from an accurate read on the phrase. I've heard this used time and again with the emotional baggage I've described bound to the words. I am not suggesting that the word "shame" be inserted in the translation, just that the translator be aware of an underlying cultural message. Thanks for your thoughts. I totally agree that the speaker's message, not a translator's twist, is paramount.
     

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    French
    All things considered, I believe the phrase 'se mettre aux ASSEDIC' conveys well enough the derogatory / shameful perspective, or even the potential underlying scorn. This phrase in French is quite colloquial and is used when 'going on welfare' is indeed a decision to give up the fight if I can say so. It is also related to a possible drift towards dependency.

    Thus I believe it carries the same undertones as 'going on welfare', even though it may not make the cultural context explicit. Yet, I wonder if the grammar exercise Neoxm is working on allows for all the lengths to which we have gone in this thread. :)
     

    Rory Melough

    Senior Member
    British English
    Objectivity means recognizing the cultural context. Welfare stigma in the US, I would posit, has significant differences from that in the UK. Since the phrase "going on" is obviously American, maybe other US contributors can say if I've veered too far from an accurate read on the phrase. I've heard this used time and again with the emotional baggage I've described bound to the words. I am not suggesting that the word "shame" be inserted in the translation, just that the translator be aware of an underlying cultural message. Thanks for your thoughts. I totally agree that the speaker's message, not a translator's twist, is paramount.

    With all due respect, you have not just recommended that the translator be aware of the underlying cultural message. You said, "A translation would want to express the reluctance, shame, and defensiveness signaled by the "I didn't like" at the beginning." You're ultimately advising people to embellish the translation. "Je n'aimais pas...." suffices here.

    In any country, there is always a negative connotation associated with being on benefits. It is certainly no less shameful in the UK or in France than in the US. By all means, pay heed to cultural differences, but despite what the cultural overtones are, you should translate the text as you see it.

    Also, not wishing to be pedantic, but the phrase "going on benefits / welfare" (although we don't use the word "welfare" in this context) is perfectly fine in British English.
     
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