upset (sad and somewhat shocked)

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by avago, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. avago Senior Member

    A student wanted to translate 'upset' to describe her reaction to an accident which, while involving some complicated factors, was due to an error on her part. She found fâché or vexé. I feel fâché suggests anger. Not sure about vexé. Does bouleversé work here? That seems perhaps too intense. I have always thought of it as 'overwhelmed' which is perhaps one step stronger than I think we need. What would you suggest please? The upset was strong enough to prevent her sleeping much that night. And she kept recalling the sound of the impact.
  2. Soleil_Couchant

    Soleil_Couchant Senior Member

    currently in France
    English - US
    I like boulversé but I'm no native speaker ;) (I agree the first two don't seem right.) Tracassé ? nah
  3. k194 Member

    French - France
    Bouleversée is indeed quite strong. I would rather say contrariée.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  4. avago Senior Member

    Thank you both .. is contrarié not 'annnoyed'? She was definitely mainly sad .. and startled.
  5. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Dans ce contexte : perturbée
  6. joelooc

    joelooc Senior Member

    French (Provence)
    ou déstabilisée
  7. jetset

    jetset Senior Member

    Informally we would also say "elle est pas bien" for "she is upset".
  8. Soleil_Couchant

    Soleil_Couchant Senior Member

    currently in France
    English - US
    I feel like déstabalisé could work, it's along the right lines. Because I feel like perturbé is a little not strong enough lol
  9. avago Senior Member

    Genuine thanks to all here. But ... I am feeling that the French possibilities appear to be nudging what we hope to express in a different direction. Unless the WRef dictionary is missing some nuances. For perturbé they offer, as I would have anticipated: psychologiquement confus and for déstabilisé they include destabilised. Both of these suggest to me a psychological unsettling almost weakness, whereas I would claim that a somewhat shocked response accompanied with a certain sharp sense of sadness for harm done is a healthy enough response to the situation. Is ithere really a nuance in French thinking, of psychological frailty about feeling sad, temporarily distressed (upset) in such circumstances? I know my student, a steady practical woman, will be uneasy about the sound of these words. If they are indeed the natural and only translations for her response... then thank you for yr patience as I learn. I do for now feel we are unable to express our exact intent.
  10. joelooc

    joelooc Senior Member

    French (Provence)
    désemparée ?
  11. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    S_C, 'upset' is quite a common word; 'déstabilisé' isn't.

    avago, you did say that she had been unable to sleep... I hadn't noticed k194's suggestion of 'contrariée', which you might prefer. To me, it doesn't mean 'annoyed'.

  12. Soleil_Couchant

    Soleil_Couchant Senior Member

    currently in France
    English - US
    avago I haven't been totally convinced by the responses either. I still like bouleversé, though I guess that implies completely overturned or something, which is too strong. Is there a "lighter" version of that?

    Itisi, okay, but I'm still not feelin' "perturbé"...not quite the same meaning.
  13. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Choqué.e ?
  14. avago Senior Member

    Mm bouleversé does appear closest still to me .. a light version would be ideal. But not sure if my Eng speaker brain is interfering w unnecessary slants on French options.

    Yes choqué offers one side of what we want. Doesn't seem to allow us to allude to the sadness element.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2019 at 2:58 AM
  15. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Tristement choqué ?
  16. avago Senior Member

    Mmm .. perhaps. Would that sound natural? J'ai été tristement choquée et j'ai eu des difficultés pour dormir cette nuit. .. Ça va?

    I checked désemparé too. Given as distraught.. but also as helpless. I know this woman will quickly reclaim her normal competence. Trying to be faithful to sense .. not intending to dismiss options but need to consider what connotations they may hold. Willing to be corrected if I misread.

    This seems like a valuable exploration as the idea of feeling upset (even if relatively briefly) by events, comments or experiences is a fairly common part of the gamut of responses daily living can provoke.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2019 at 2:58 AM
  17. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    'J'ai été tristement choquée' doesn't sound at all natural, sorry! I think you should consider what francophones have suggested.
  18. avago Senior Member

    Thank you Itisi! I am truly listening. I've raised some concerns (in attempt to be accurate) and francophones haven't yet told me whether or not they are valid. My search continues.

    Dictionary and sound of words suggest certain properties of various words.

    Vexé can represent hurt in the sense of being offended or hurt. Can it be used without that sense?

    Contrarié can indicate annoyance. Is it always so?

    Is bouleversé too strong? (overwhelmed)

    Perturbé and déstabilisé seem to suggest more psychological impact. One might be happy to say one is upset without wishing to say one is destabilised. ??

    Désemparé may apparently include a sense of helplessness. Not what we want to say. But perhaps one can use it without necessarily conveying that???

    Oh for a plug-in French brain!
  19. Laurent2018 Senior Member

    french belgium
  20. avago Senior Member

    Now that feels like it might work for us. Will check it out.Merci Laurent.

    Yes!! I think affligé/e is good. Thanks to all for yr contributions as they will be appropriate in other circumstances I feel.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2019 at 2:59 AM
  21. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French from France
    The meaning of all those words is modified by the context of the sentence, like "upset" also is. You had yourself to emphasize that, in your context, upset was equivalent to sad and somewhat shocked.

    As your student will not always have the opportunity to ask a bunch of natives for advice, you should tell them that a very reliable translation would be "triste et un peu choqué / choquée " for instance.
  22. avago Senior Member

    Yes thank you Michelvar. I see your point.
  23. Laurent2018 Senior Member

    french belgium
    Je pense que upset est un peu "fourre-tout" et recouvre une gamme énorme de qualificatifs, avec des nuances presque incompréhensibles.
    Seul le contexte peut fournir des pistes de traductions (ou d'interprétation).
    Au post #9, Avago a donné ses pistes, et sur cette base j'ai proposé "affligée", mais c'est très proche d'autres suggestions.
    Face à une abondance de possibilités, peut-être faut-il commencer par éliminer tout ce que le mot upset ne signifie pas, dans le cadre d'un contexte donné...?
  24. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    My take:
    'Afligée' is too literary for this context.

    PS - She could say, 'Cet incident m'a affecté'.
  25. Chimel Senior Member

    I would also suggest ébranlé for upset. Ther is an idea of being shocked, but less explicite than choqué and not as strong as bouleversé.
  26. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Or 'secoué'.
  27. Chat Perché

    Chat Perché Senior Member

    Northern France
    Français - France
    Dans le registre familier, on peut dire 'chamboulé'
  28. Laurent2018 Senior Member

    french belgium
    (pour mémoire)

Share This Page