Thursday, April 10, 2008

Franglish

As many of you know, I work for a company that is based in Paris. As such, I deal with a lot of people for whom English is not their first language. It has its fun sides - I get to remember the five plus years of French I took (you'd think I'd be fluent). But it also has its downsides. Case in point - I edit our newsletters, many of the stories being written by some of our French employees. Hence I have to translate sentences like this: Almost two High Street clothing shops a year are opening for business and taking up their swinging signs. It is the most visible signal that Paris’s most famous avenue is in a moving state.

I'm not totally sure what the author is trying to say here. I assume "High Street" is another name for the Champs Elysées - but I'm not sure. I've translated "Taking up their swinging signs" to either mean they are making their signs smaller, or maybe they're putting their swinging signs away. Maybe the signs are swingers (if you know what I mean) and they're taking them up on their offer. I'm definitely intrigued by the "famous avenue" that's in a "moving state." I take this to mean that they've installed moving sidewalks along the Champs Elysées which will make lugging all those shopping bags easier.

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