"Son livre est un long entretien."

Translation:His book is a long interview.

March 28, 2013



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

January 14, 2014


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

January 4, 2015


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.

April 26, 2015


"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.

February 16, 2016


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.

April 15, 2016


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.

July 7, 2017


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

April 4, 2016


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

April 10, 2016


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.

May 28, 2016


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.

July 7, 2016


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

August 11, 2016


Well said!

June 3, 2018


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.

December 11, 2014


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

December 30, 2014


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!

December 30, 2014


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

December 30, 2014


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!

December 30, 2014


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!

February 17, 2015


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. :)

February 17, 2015


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.

January 25, 2015


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

September 26, 2016


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

March 28, 2013


That's right.

March 29, 2013


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

May 30, 2015


dialogue as well, yes.

May 30, 2015


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

April 26, 2015


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.

November 8, 2013


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

November 14, 2015


Accepted, sir.

April 11, 2014


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.

May 9, 2018


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

April 11, 2015


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".

April 12, 2015


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!

September 10, 2015


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

April 29, 2015


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.

November 2, 2015


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

What does that even mean?

June 4, 2017


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

February 20, 2015


"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.

March 31, 2015


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".

July 10, 2017


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.

November 11, 2018


This sentence is a nonsense imo.

May 26, 2015


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.

December 21, 2016


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

December 21, 2016


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

June 24, 2018


You are right.

June 25, 2018


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

January 11, 2017


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

January 12, 2017


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

June 13, 2017


What if you read the rest of this thread?

June 14, 2017


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?

June 29, 2017


It can be fiction or the transcript of a conversation between a journalist and a famous person.

Here is one in English: http://www.universe-people.com/english/svetelna_knihovna/htm/en/en_kniha_conversations_with_god_1.htm

And one in French: https://sites.google.com/a/achoka.space/rinoelis/conversation-bernadette-chirac-B00JQKC29M

June 29, 2017


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.

November 11, 2018


I have. I stand by my earlier post.

July 30, 2017


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?”

November 12, 2017


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.

November 24, 2017


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

April 14, 2015


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

September 17, 2017


this is just downright strange

February 18, 2018


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

January 26, 2016


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

January 26, 2016


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.

February 5, 2016


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

February 6, 2017


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".

February 8, 2017


Une entrevue?

March 21, 2017


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.

March 22, 2017


Help! what is this suppose to mean?

February 16, 2016


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.

March 11, 2016


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)

September 17, 2016


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-"-".

October 4, 2017


wjat the hell

January 4, 2018


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

April 7, 2018
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