You know when you’re looking for an expression, and you’re convinced it’s there, in the recesses of your brain, but however much you hit yourself around the head to try and dislodge it, it just won’t budge? How infuriating is that? This happened to me yesterday, as I was editing a translation; I came across the expression "practice makes perfect", which the translator had conveyed as "La pratique rend parfait". This was a literal translation that made sense, but I knew, I just KNEW that a literal translation could be avoided, as there was an equivalent French expression. I just couldn’t work it out. Then something happened, that proved to me that St Jerome (patron saint of translators) was keeping an eye on me yesterday. Just as I was giving up, Belinda, a friend who is a blacksmith, called. And the expression finally left the shadows of my mind to appear, clear as anything: "C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron" (one needs to forge to become a blacksmith).
Practice makes perfect
About the Author: Celine
I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.
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