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what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 5:44 AM

Hey my dear French friends!
I have a language question.
My employer was stupid enough not to ask our French colleague how to translate the sentence
" We move something"
into your beautiful language.
They choose the self-made translation
„Nous déplacons quelque chose“
What dio you think?

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30 Answers
  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 6:04 AM

    "" We move something""

    I will not be offering a translation, as my French is only basic, but I think it will help if you tell us the context of this statement. "Move" as in the sense of "moving furniture"? "Move" as in "changing someone's heart or mind"? "Move" as in "moving heaven and earth get things done?"

    I wouldn't be surprised if French didn't have different verbs or phrases for these contexts...

    Bill

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    well...
    I think the special thing is that " move " has several meanings depending on the context, and the French translation is not able to be so ambiguous

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by pfsmalo Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Nous bougeons or nous deplaçons quelque chose quelquepart or,
    Nous nous deplaçons meaning we move "ourselves" somewhere
    but that is awkward in French, more likely to say :
    Nous allons nous deplaçer quelquepart

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by gwened Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    it could be read as moving something or moving as persons depending how you use it in a sentence.

    so with the little info you are talking about moving something from one place to the other then
    nous nous déplaçons

    as person we usually say nous bougeons, or we move as we move fast, nous bougeons vite.
    hope it helps

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    thank you all very much, my friends!!

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  • Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by jeanfinney Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    The original translation is perfectly correct, the problem, as others said, is that we have no idea what "we move something" - not even very elegant English, from the looks of it - means. Without the context and a more complete sentence (well, technically that is a sentence but not a very informative one!) no one can really help you with the accurate translation.

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    this sentence is ( or should become ) the advertisement of a logistic - company which transports goods worldwide

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  • Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by jeanfinney Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    In that case, nous deplacons qqchose would be rather ridiculous - the response might well be - and so what? who doesn't? (Sorry, even in English it is not very impressive) - I suggest you employ a professional French publicity agent to come up with something effective in that culture, as well as in that language....

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    jeanfinney wrote:
    In that case, nous deplacons qqchose would be rather ridiculous - the response might well be - and so what? who doesn't? (Sorry, even in English it is not very impressive) - I suggest you employ a professional French publicity agent to come up with something effective in that culture, as well as in that language....

     More to your point, even the phrase " We move something" doesn't work even in English...no company would have that as a motto...it would instead be something like "We move things", not "we move something" (what's the matter, you don't know what you're moving???).

    I agree, this is not a job for a literal translation, but for a specialist in French marketing...

    Bill

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    the problem is, that the guys who run the company don't listen to the native French language speaker who works there and already told them that the sentence sounds (exactly as you wrote) "ridiculous"

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  • Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by jeanfinney Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    It sounds to me like your company is in trouble:)! Can you show them these posts? We are not stupid people, and we have traveled a lot, I am sure. Even "we move things" is absurd - things as opposed to what? ideas, ghosts, people, energy (getting New Agy)? - good luck!!

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by alza Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    As others pointed out, the English slogan is already ... em, "deficient'. A company should choose its slogan in its own language first, then ask a French-speaking marketing expert for an appropriate French translation.
    If I saw "We move something" on a billboard, I'd never call that company for service.

    Note that slogans must fit the community served by the company. In Québec, this is compounded by a need to translate a snappy English slogan into something that the French-speaking majority can relate to. No consulting of French-English dictionaries will do the trick. Neither would a French slogan thought up in France or any other French-speaking country.

    For example, should the slogan in English be something like "We move you!", even good (litteral or not) translations would not mean much in French, certainly not in Québec.
    Keep in mind also that the trend is to adopt popular expressions used by everyone across the board. In Québec right now, the popular expression "Ça déménage!" is used across the board to indicate a great amount of action, movement, a rush what! A lively performance, a hot scandal, etc. - using "Ça déménage" indicates lots of action.
    So for a transport company slogan that wishes to advertise its efficiency in moving things for you, one French translation *here* would be
    "Avec nous, ça déménage!" (meaning "We waste no time to get your stuff where you want it")
    In this context, "déménager" has no correlation to the first meaning of "déménager", which is "to change location".
    In other French-speaking countries, their own popular expressions would apply. Location, location, location... :)

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  • Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by jeanfinney Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Great reply - in France at least "on bouge" would already be much better than "on deplace" - it having much the same sense of dynamism, change, action - but all this should be done by pros - I have spent years in France and believe, me, they have VERY clever advertising, so one must be as sharp as they are. Better yet, hire a sharp one....and then things might bougent, or demenagent!!

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    thanx again to all of you for concerning yourself with this problem!
    I guess my employer does not want any help, they already printed some postcards with the " international " slogans

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by alza Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    La la... big mistake on employer's part.

    I just realised that there probably isn't even an English slogan yet... Perhaps the "We move something" was an attempt to translate a German slogan?
    Management errors are piling up over there... No marketing strategy nor advice, no communication with employees, etc, etc, etc. Sorry for you. Take care!

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Wir bewegen etwas...o, ja, das klinkt gut...! NICHT!!!

    Bill

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    "wir bewegen was"
    is the sentence which was "translated"
    (or should I rather say "moved" or "deranged") in other languages

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    "deranged"...uh, this French word doesn't work well in English, as it means "mad" or "insane" ;-)

    Nous déplacons comme les foules!!!

    Bill

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by pfsmalo Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Bill, "je suis derangé" also means to be out of sorts. Or "tu me deranges/vous me derangez" you are troubling me/you are a nuisance, not only mad or insane.

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    As may be, but "deranged" was used above in English, and in English it means only NUTS! ;-) er, crazy...

    Bill

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by pfsmalo Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Also ;

    WordReference English Thesaurus © 2013
    deranged

    Sense: Disordered
    displaced
    misplaced
    dislocated
    disordered
    out of place
    untidy
    messed up
    mussed up (US)
    slang
    all over the place
    disheveled (US)
    dishevelled (UK)
    out of whack (US)

    But I agree in the general sense as we use it, crazy etc etc.

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    I meant the suggestion "deranged" as a joke to ridicule the way the company uses translations. In German "derangiert" also means messed up.

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    heh heh, if you told your girlfriend that her hair was deranged...you would be lucky if all she did was slap you...she won't care what the thesaurus says ;-)

    Bill

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by pfsmalo Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Well the wind does blow a bit around here in Brittany....

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    We say "disarranged", like "Her hair was disarranged by the wild winds of Brittany." To say that "Her hair was deranged by the wild winds of Brittany" would make (North American) people laugh because they would assume that you either used the wrong word or were calling her hair criminally insane ;-)

    Bill

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    This is extremely difficult for me (as a German): the differences of British and American English...
    I am in Britain quite often, and the persons I talk to sometimes don't want to understand me, when I use an American word. For example "my friend drives a truck." The English put on not to understand until I realised that I have to say "He drives a lorry."

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by alza Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    you can tell them to "keep on lorryin'" maybe...?

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    haha, alza!

    Seriously, blackbird, with the huge influence of American television and movies, I am surprised that anyone could find a Brit who seriously didn't know what a truck was. We must have had hundreds of thousands of them driving all over England back in the 1940s, and I doubt the GIs called them "lorries" ;-) Wait, my Dad was one of them...and if you said "lorry", he would say "Peter Lorre?"

    I think this Brit was "winding you up" (which makes sense in British English but means something quite different in American English)...which, I guess, makes your point ;-)

    Bill

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  • blackbirdxx's Profile Photo

    Re: what do you make out of this awkward sentence?

    by blackbirdxx Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I believe this man did not try to "wind me up", but the English have a problem with the formerly mentioned influence of American English on expressions all over the world. Someone told me: "An English man never walks on a sidewalk." "What do you do as a pedestrian?" I asked . He answered "We use the pavement."

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    blackbirdxx wrote:
    I believe this man did not try to "wind me up", but the English have a problem with the formerly mentioned influence of American English on expressions all over the world. Someone told me: "An English man never walks on a sidewalk." "What do you do as a pedestrian?" I asked . He answered "We use the pavement."

     This explains why so many English men get run over...("pavement" to us would imply the street, not the sidewalk ;-) )...

    Bill

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