QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2006-10 > 1159721167
From: Mona Rainville <>
Subject: Re: [Q-R] Translation Assistance Please - PRDH Burial Record
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2006 12:46:07 -0400
Gosh, father John, it has been a long time since my translation work has
been graded by a teacher. Thanks.
I stand corrected. "Choked" it should have been. Betrayed by my own
spell check! What is this world coming to! ;o)
But having had my second cup of coffee, and looking back at the original
request, it seems the word "asphyxiated" rather than the suggested
"smothered" is better suited to the context, in as much as there is an
indication the poor woman died in a fire. I understand the word
"smothered" to carry a less passive meaning, indicating some form of
forceful intervention. But that might be because my mother tongue is
French. Is one "smothered" by smoke, or "asphyxiated", rather. What do
"(she) was found at the boulder on Chambly Road, asphyxiated and her
body partly consumed by fire."
Of course, if instead of perishing in a fire she was murdered and then
set on fire, then the word "smothered" or even "strangled" would seem
And, I must admit to being tickled pink to read I might have
stylistically improved on the PRDH annotation, and thus made a newspaper
editor happy. As a former professional translator for the Canadian
Press, in Montreal, I can assure you that in order for a newspaper
editor to be happy, truly happy, not only would the poor woman's body
have had to have been totally consumed by the raging inferno, but half
the town and the people in it also. Newspaper editors are not easy
persons to please.
Here, "à moitié" is a vernacular not meant to be taken as an exact
quantitative measure of the extent of the burns sustained, and so a
literal translation would be misleading. Owing to the subtleties of the
French language, although "à moitié chemin" does mean half way, "son
corps à moitié brulé par le feu", used as an idiomatic expression, only
means that a large part of her body was actually consumed by fire.
But please feel free to correct my spelling and English grammar any time
you see fit. It keeps me on my toes, and that is about the only
exercise I get since having retired. ;o)
> Scott wrote:
> >> From the PRDH footnote for the burial record of Amable Marguerite-Marie
> >> Gelineau (No. 314394). She died 22 Jul 1754 and was buried 23 Jul 1754.
> >> "LAQUELLE A ETE TROUVEE A LA GROSSE ROCHE DANS LE CHEMIN DE CHAMBLY
> >> ET LE CORPS A MOITIE BRULE PAR LE FEU"
> Mona wrote:
> > Here is the translation you requested, Scott.
> > "(she) was found at the boulder on Chambly Road, chocked and her body
> > partly consumed by fire."
> > Hghhh! What a way to start the day ! Poor woman!
> As a former teacher of French, I would like to thank Mona for a very
> good translation of the original record. One spelling error: The
> word Mona used to translate "etouffee" is spelled "choked".
> One vocabulary change: In this context, the word "etouffee" is better
> translated "smothered". Finally, a sincere compliment on the phrasing
> of the final clause: "le corps a moitie brule par le feu" is
> literally translated "the body half burned by the fire"; Mona's
> interpretation "her body partly consumed by fire" is a stylistic
> improvement that would be highly commended by a newpaper editor!
> Fr John L