voisinage

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Baz31

Senior Member
British English
Hello,

I would like a second opinion on how to interpret "voisinage" in the following sentence. The subject is colonialism in the Far East.

"je propose de reconnaître qu'il y eut en Extrême-Orient des politiques coloniales différentes et d’observer leur application à des lieux de colonisation géographiquement distincts : la Chine proprement dite et le face-à-face (ou le voisinage) Chine/Russie/Japon autour de l’espace mandchou."

I know that voisinage usually refers either to the close proximity of various people or in this case countries (which of course fits here because China, Russia and Japan were basically sharing the same space - or at least rubbing shoulders in it), or the relationship between neighbours, but I was wondering if the word necessarily has positive connotations. Is a contrast being made between face-à-face, which is a conflictual relationship, and voisinage (perhaps the countries being forced to work together on occasions or at least put up with each other)?

And regardless of whether the connotations are positive or not, is there a word or phrase in English that would accurately translate "voisinage" here? I'm stumped at the moment. I thought about simply putting "close proximity" but it is difficult to make it fit into the rest of the sentence and I'm not 100% if that would be the correct translation here anyway.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received!
 
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  • Baz31

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello,

    In some cases I agree that "in the vicinty" could work but here I am looking for a translation of "le voisinage Chine/Russie/Japon autour de l'espace mandchou" so it wouldn't really work. Thank you for taking the time to make a suggestion though.
     

    JLC

    Member
    Canada, English
    Hi,
    I'm not Francophone, but my first impression is that it sounds pretty neutral. Obviously wait for native speakers to confirm that!

    Could something on the lines of neighbouring/surrounding/adjacent countries work in your context?
     

    Baz31

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think the idea is that China, Russia and Japan all occupied various parts of Manchuria and so were neighbours, but they also fought over this territory as well (hence the various wars in the region). So "face-à-face Chine/Russie/Japon autour de l’espace mandchou" is easy to translate along the lines of "the confrontation (or "voisinage") between China, Russia and Japan over Manchuria" but I need another noun for "voisinage", and which could be substituted for "confrontation" in the above sentence. Hence my difficulty...
    On first glance I too thought that voisinage was a neutral term but then I started wondering (probably because I'm thinking too much about the same sentence over and over). It's good to have a second opinion though, thank you!
     

    Baz31

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ici, je comprends "cohabitation avec frictions".
    Ah, voilà ! Donc ce n'est pas tout à fait neutre alors (en tout cas, pas dans ce contexte précis). Merci beaucoup pour cette précision. Je n'avais pas pensé à cohabitation mais ça pourrait être une possibilité en anglais aussi.
     

    Lly4n4

    Senior Member
    Français (France)
    Disons que "voisinage" est forcément influencé par "face-à-face". En France, comme partout je suppose, il y a des relations de voisinage admirables, mais aussi des terribles, qui escaladent d'une broutille mal digérée à des meurtres.
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    How about "confontation (or neighbourly relations)"? It seems to require some behavioural aspect in order to go with "confrontation".

    Perhaps "just" or "even" could precede "neighbourly", though that might be adding a judgement that isn't there.
     

    catay

    Senior Member
    Canada anglais
    Disons que "voisinage" est forcément influencé par "face-à-face". En France, comme partout je suppose, il y a des relations de voisinage admirables, mais aussi des terribles, qui escaladent d'une broutille mal digérée à des meurtres.
    Just an idea, but perhaps "regional (or territorial) friction" would convey this.
     

    Baz31

    Senior Member
    British English
    I thought about this, in fact "neighbourly relations" was my initial translation before I posted here, but I was worried that it necessarily implies good relations. And I'm not sure that China/Russia/Japan were ever really on good terms, but rather at most grudgingly put up with the others' presence (when one wasn't invading the other). I think maybe my original question was simply whether the French implies a comparison between times of conflict and times of good relations, or rather times of conflict and times when they were just coexisting side-by-side, without there being any judgement as to whether this coexistence was a happy state of affairs or not.
    Also, the author considers this "face-à-face (ou le voisinage) Chine/Russie/Japon autour de l’espace mandchou" to be a physical space (a "lieu de colonisation" as it terms it), so in fact both confrontation and cohabitation are odd in English. So perhaps I should choose something like "area of friction (or cohabitation/close proximity) between China/Russia/Japan over Manchuria".
    In any case, it has been good to get some external input.
     
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