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message 1: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11669 comments One of my good friends is on vacation for three weeks, having taken her family to France. In the past they've stayed most of the summer (she grew up there), but this year they're coming back sooner because the kids are getting older and really miss their friends & their lives at home.

I'd like to send an e-mail to say hello, but I really want to do it in French. Unfortunately, I don't speak or write that language. Can anyone here help?

What I want to say is,

Hi Fleischer family,

I hope you're having a great time on your trip. We all miss you back here, though we know you'll be back before long. Make sure the kids are learning proper French diction -- we'll be testing them on vocabulary and grammar (see how good mine is now).

Good health and safe travels,


I'm hoping for serious translations, because I really don't want to tell them I'm going to eat their noses or anything like that.

message 2: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Jackie speaks French. What about that babelfish thing?

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Google a translator program Phil, I've done that in the past.

message 4: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Right, babelfish is a translator program, right? But at the same time I hear the program can give you weird results sometimes.

message 5: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11669 comments I've tried the programs, with mixed results. With short phrases they do okay, but with something like this they struggle.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I would trust the babelfish before trusting an online translator. (I have one now, handy for translating American English into Australian English)

A music quiz show here (Spicks & Specks) often has a segment where you have to guess the song. What they do to the song is translate it into Japanese then translate the Japanese back to English. The Second translation makes the song hardly recognisable.

message 7: by Jonathan (last edited Jun 08, 2010 07:44PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments French has never been my best language, but a basic translation of your note (with a couple phrases simplified a little) would go like this:

Salut les Fleischer,

J'espère que vous appréciez votre voyage. Ici,vous nous manques, mais nous sommes content de savoir que vous retournerez bientôt. Assurez-vous s.v.p que les enfants apprennent la bonne diction française - nous serons en les testant sur le vocabulaire et la grammaire (voyez: mon français améliore, n'est-ce pas?).

Une bonne santé et bon voyage,



Anyway, if others want to chime in with corrections, feel free, but I think this is basically accurate. Good luck!

message 8: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11669 comments Thanks! I'll hang on a bit and see if Jackie or others suggest any changes. I appreciate your help.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I used the online translator to transate it back to English.

Hello Fleischer,

J' hope that you appreciate your voyage. Here, we miss you, but we are glad to know that you will turn over soon. You ensure please that the children learn good French diction - we will be by testing them on the vocabulary and grammar (see: my French improves, n' is not?).

A good health and good voyage,

Exactly what you wanted to say n'est pas!

message 10: by Jonathan (last edited Jun 09, 2010 04:14AM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments "We are glad to know that you will turn over soon."

Hmm. Not exactly what I had intended. Let me check my French-English dictionary on that one.

message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 08, 2010 07:58PM) (new)

Jonathan, I am sure the problem is with the translator not with your French. I just ran it through to see what the results would be.

You can't really rely on those programmes to translate languages.

message 12: by Jonathan (last edited Jun 08, 2010 08:13PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Well, I guess retournerez could mean "will turn over" but the sentence would have to mention some object that is being turned (I think).

Anyway, it might be safer to say "Nous sommes content de savoir que vous reviendrez bientôt."

As BunWat says, this is somewhat formal, but my French is limited and so a little stiff maybe.

Also, BunWat is right: you can just say "Bonne santé et bon voyage." No need for the article "une" there.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Jonathan's translation looks good to me, too, although I would write out s'il vous plaît instead of abbreviating it.

Oh, and is "testant" right? Not "nous les examinerons?"

message 14: by Knarik (new)

Knarik The Google translator isn't reliable, I tried it for Russian, and now they have Armenian, too. It makes mistakes, so I will not rely on it to write a letter but it is helpful if you are just trying to explain something, or read-understand an article.

message 15: by Cosmic Sher (new)

Cosmic Sher (sherart) | 2234 comments Isn't a bablefish some little creature you put in your ear so you can understand any galactic language? Just wondering...

message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 09, 2010 12:15AM) (new)

Of course! I think RA was confused by a website imitating a babelfish.

message 17: by Cosmic Sher (new)

Cosmic Sher (sherart) | 2234 comments Yes, but we know the truth, don't we?

message 18: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments "Nous les examinerons" sounds fine to me, so if Jackie feels that's the better way to go, I say go for it (unless anybody else has another opinion, of course).

I get the abbreviation s.v.p. sometimes in emails but don't know how widely accepted it is. You certainly can't go wrong writing out "s'il vous plaît"--so that sounds like a good correction too.

message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments If you ever need to translate a grocery list to French I'm your girl, but beyond that I'm hopeless.

message 20: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jun 09, 2010 07:22AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I thought Barb would know French because she's Canadian. But that's more, uh, the Canadians from Quebec (sp?), right?

(I'll stop talking now, for a sec, before I make more Canadian assumptions, like you all know each other. I could say, "Barb, I have a friend named Luke in Toronto. You know him, right?")

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

If I remember correctly in the Province of Quebec, it is illegal to sell anything in a package written only in English, it is a somewhat hefty fine. French only or bi-lingual works.

message 22: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Packaged food in Ontario is bilingual as well. That's why I'm so good at fromage and gateau and pomme de terre and pamplemousse.

And there's some kind of magic that makes it so that the French side is ALWAYS the side that's turned to face you.

message 23: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11669 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "Packaged food in Ontario is bilingual as well. That's why I'm so good at fromage and gateau and pomme de terre and pamplemousse."

Pamplemousse? I'm not certain I could purchase something of that name while maintaining a straight face.

message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments BunWat wrote: "Speaking of bilinugal signs, did you see the picture that was going around awhile back of the sign in Wales? Apparently the roads department sent the sign text in to the translation service and th..."


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