1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Son livre est un long entret…

"Son livre est un long entretien."

Translation:His book is a long interview.

March 28, 2013

78 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saunarie

As a native english speaker , I find myself using words to get by the owl that I would never use in real life. Hopefully, my French is improving as my English deteriorates


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/helmi23

In order to learn French we need to think in French, not in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Querist

That's a wonderful thought, but when you don't know French, you can't think in French. You don't have the vocabulary or grammar to do so. But as you learn, you can begin to understand more and think more like they might.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

"Thinking" in French is not about having the vocabulary or grammar to literally make thoughts in French (although a basic understanding is important). After living in Korea and learning their language, I know exactly what helmi23 is saying -- it's about adopting the cultural mindset that shifts and expands your perspective of the world through language. It was easier to learn Korean because I thought like a Korean, and so far that's been true with French as well. Learn and grow your understanding of French by being of that linguistic/cultural mindset. I hope that makes sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WilliamKer4

Living in Korea must have made it easier to "adopt the cultural mindset". Not living in France and still trying to adopt the French cultural mindset must be an order of magnitude more difficult.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul822481

I agree. As a beginner, my most satisfying right answers in Duolingo have not been when making the literal translations, but when there is no obvious literal translation and I have had a feel for what the language is conveying. When trying to understand more complex sentences, I feel it pays to be more imaginative than rational, and to get a feeling for the language, rather than treating it like a puzzle.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Notters_BHAFC

Im desperately trying to understand what you mean as i think its probably key. But i can't!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

I was trying to explain that attitude is at least as important as memorizing vocabulary and syntax, in my opinion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LindyKMH

I think the point that saunan was trying to make is that the English sentences and choices of words do not always make sense, in fact the more you 'think' in French, the worse DL's choice of English becomes. When translating a language, it is the sense that needs be be conveyed . for example 'entretien' in French represents more an exchange of views or discussion in the English sense, than an interview which is something formal and structured and gives a native English speaker, the wrong idea of what the true French meaning is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wfluckett

That makes sense, explains why this sentence seems to be nonsense. Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JustinMans2

Not when you're translating into English. You can give a literal translation which makes little sense in English, either grammatically, or is just nonsensical; or you can translate into natural English, ie the equivalent phrase for an English speaker. Surely the latter is the sign of understanding a language rather than just knowing it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LenReed

Yes, and that is the single biggest failing of this course. It's almost entirely based in translation to and from English. I've nearly completed the entire course, so I have found it useful. But I'm also doing other things, like taking classes where the teacher is a native speaker. I really find it annoying to have to craft a Duo-approved translation for a French sentence I understood in French.

The dialogues are a step in the right direction, but I'd like to see far less English. E.g., as a trivial matter, the lesson headers should be in French in the higher numbered lessons.


[deactivated user]

    Absolutely! But the translation into English needs to make sense in English. Teaching verbatim translation is ridiculous - and most of the time, is unacceptable when it doesn't sound correct in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feclips

    You've picked up on something that many people here don't. We're not trying to learn English; just stop bothering whether translations sound right or not.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KenAndresen

    The problem is not always in translating the words but in understanding the real meaning if French.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feclips

    That's true. But, in my experience, it's only very occasionally that I really can't figure out what the sentence means (for example, there's one with "les uns et les autres" that, in my opinion, should be removed from Duolingo altogether).

    Sometimes the purpose of the awkward English translation is to convey the exact sense of the French (which otherwise wouldn't have an equivalent in English). It's very short-sighted to suggest that the team behind Duolingo simply doesn't know English; were you and I to come up with a translation, we would have precisely the same problems.

    Of course the instances where the translation is unintelligeable need to be fixed. But that's what the community is here for anyway!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    "les uns et les autres" = each and everyone = various people from different places, with different opinions...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feclips

    Thanks! That's actually a good translation. It's not the one that appears on Duo though; that's something like "these and others", "those and others", "some and others", etc. Users just waste a lot of effort (and hearts) trying to memorise which random pronoun they're supposed to use in the translation, none of which sounds like anything in English at all. That, for me, is a prime example of Duo backfiring. Like I said though, I see that as an exception. In the vast majority of cases, I don't mind awkward English sentences - as long as they help me learn French!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johr-el

    As this community is made up of a great number of non-native English speakers who rely on good communication skills to develop both languages well, I believe no place for lousy unnatural translations should be allowed. That would simply invalidate the beauty and purpose of this interaction process as a whole. I have seen lots of people (including myself) who benefit from these discussions to better their English in ways never thought of before. A natural current equivalence should indeed be considered when conveying the subtleties between the two languages. In my opinion!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feclips

    I had never thought from that point of view - that these discussions are actually helpful for part of the community. In fact I think Duo tends to accept a range of approaches to translation - from the literal "word-by-word" (which helps English speakers see the structure behind the French, despite making for awkward English) to the more distant in syntax, but closer in meaning (expressions, etc.) There's a Duo for everyone. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/monarchy

    They aren't doing any favors if the person wants to work on translation skills. It also helps to relate sentences that we actually use to sentences that they actually use. I think learning differences is an important part of language learning, so if they're putting in extra effort to make English sentences similar while taking away the naturalness, then that's not necessarily a great thing, in my opinion.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MTCarey

    Knowledge of the expression, Les uns et les autres is vital when living in france


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

    Absolutely right, feclips. These discussions have been taken over by a handful of people who are interested in writing high-handed English rather than learning basic French. They are playing a different game, and I suspect that's why 99% of users bypass these discussion pages altogether.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dapetras

    so this word, 'entretien' can mean discussion, interview and maintenance?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuzanaLagova

    And also "dialogue"? (just to be sure), thanks


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    dialogue as well, yes.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Querist

    I also found "conversation" in my dictionary. Duo didn't accept it, though.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lesliewilman

    I guess the thrust of this text is really "His/her book is one long discussion", but like a chicken I put "a", just to save my heart.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WarsawWill

    "His book is one long interview" was accepted (11/15)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GScottOliver

    2018/05/09 Duo now defaults to a word list rather than making us type a translation (and subjecting ourselves to typos). It's great for us lazy typists. But the point is, the list had "a", but did not have "one", which I, too, would normally use. I'm glad to see it's an acceptable answer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Axel591520

    "Conversation" is accepted (6 years later).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanBlough

    Books can't have a discussion by themselves, Bad translation


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    It is not "have" but "is":

    "Son livre est un long entretien" means "his book is a transcript of / has the form of a long discussion".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jesada.t

    I wish people would highlight this a bit more so that people would know what this French sentence means (as a whole, not word-by-word). But thank you, Sitesurf. You've been very helpful in so many discussions!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alathat

    Odd you should say that. I often have discussions or debates with myself. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mehki227

    This makes no sense in English. As a person who is already fluent in two languages, i understand interpretation, transliteration, and finding an equivalency between languages and that some things cannot be translated. Some phrases can only be 'explained' in the target language. Some things need only a word or two and some words take a paragraph to obtain equivalency. And i repeat, this makes no sense in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/UchihaBrain

    His book is a long i interview? His book is a long discussion?

    What does that even mean?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ETBubs

    Is "entretien" related to the English word "treatise"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Perseph1955

    "Treatise" and "entreaty" in English come from the French root meaning "to treat." I presume you are correct in making this connection, though I haven't checked a French etymological source.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

    No, "treatise" is related to the verb « traiter » (to treat), with "entreaty" coming from « en + traiter », whereas « entretien » is a deverbal noun from « entre + tenir » (with the prefix "entre-" meaning "under", not "between" like the word entre). Thus, it's literally an "underholding", in the same way that an enterprise is literally an "undertaking".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Karuna8063

    Oh thanks so much! I tried to look up the two parts but computer could only find "tien=yours" because I didn't now enough about the source. I love knowing where parts of words come from and it helps my learning greatly.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Msr_Triste64

    This sentence is a nonsense imo.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chang_L

    I am wondering why there isn't a liaison between 'est' and 'un' in the female version of pronunciation. I mean I think there should be a liaison and there is actually one in the male version. Is it both right to use or not to use a liaison? But why? Merci beaucoup.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    It is just a technical issue that has never been fixed. But I confirm there should be a liaison.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonaldAlas

    Male voice is missing liaison between long and entretien, where it is surely obligatory.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    You are right.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flygirl.1

    Um... What is this trying to say? It makes no sense. Someone please explain...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    Why don't you read the explanations already given on this thread (two posts below this one)?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisDufort

    This does not seem like a valid sentence in either language.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hawke64

    Translated as "Her book is a long discussion" and it was accepted. I am unsure, what the sentence means. That the book is complex and provides material for a long discussion?

    Edit. I've read the comments and it was explained that the whole book is the transcript of a conversation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisaskier

    What on earth does that sentence mean? The translation makes no sense what-so-ever in english.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    What if you read the rest of this thread?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth870279

    I have read the thread twice and I still do not understand. Can you give me one or two examples of books that are transcripts of discussions or discussions? Does it mean like an atypical play, maybe a very modern play, where there is almost no narrative and no change of scene?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Karuna8063

    this is incredibly helpful! Thank you. It made no sense to me either until I read one of the links you gave. However I was not given "discussion" as an option, only "interview". I can see how it kinda connects but 'discussion" would be much more natural for me. Thanks for the examples.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisaskier

    I have. I stand by my earlier post.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnM.16

    I was just ruled incorrect because I did not write “her book.” In this sentence how is one to know that “son” only can mean “her?”


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth870279

    this is just downright strange


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanBlough

    thanks, sitesurf; your explanation helps make sense- I really want to know what the French means, whether there is a word by word translation


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mcshak

    Does this mean that the book creates a lot of discussion?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    Non, pas du tout. It means that the whole book is a transcript of a discussion/interview/conversation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/foxquick

    In English, a 'discussion' not only means 'people talking to each other'. It can also mean 'a written examination and comparison of various points of view.' There is no requirement for a book that 'discusses' to take the form of an actual dialogue or conversation. A book described as a 'long discussion' is therefore a perfectly natural English expression.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mfietswaart

    some DUO phrases do not make sense in both languages and are not so usefull for learning a language (Teacher Dutch as a second language)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fatima-39

    Ok! My answer was right but i still don't understand this phrase!!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    This is what it means, as already mentioned above:

    "Son livre est un long entretien" means "his/her book is a transcript of / has the form of a long discussion".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Axel591520

    Couldn't it also be one long conversation with the reader? I've read books where the author constantly addresses his readers and imagines fictitious responses from them ("Now, dear reader, you might reply...")


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    Far fetched, I would say. It is much more probable that the conversation was held between a journalist and a celebrity or between two experts or philosophers or economists, and then transcripted and pulled together in a book.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/savanahdoe

    Help! what is this suppose to mean?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alok.chaha

    Let me help all of ye. I have come to a conclusion that one must learn to construct these sentences like shakespeare would and think of old English poems.( grand and courtly sort of way :D) that helps in many cases.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kate_Joy

    Une entrevue?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

    Yes, "une longue entrevue" is accepted to translate "a long interview", because it is the direct translation.

    However, the French use "un or une interview" more often, and to specifically relate to a conversation with journalists.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

    I wonder how Duo "grades" dictation?

    Besides the fact that I often get "credit" for completing a sentence before I've actually said all the words, I was given "correct" when I said entreprise instead of * entretien*. (It was late, my eyes are tire, and I'm working from a lap-top with it's reduced view. I know about zooming in with Ctrl-"+" and out with Ctrl-"-".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariaIramendy

    How can a book be an interview and not a treaty, or discussion or essay?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andersonweibel

    Volume is up, sound is on ... no sound on mu Kindle !! Help.

    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.