"Lengthening out" (in French "étoffement"*), is a process in which the French translation is longer than the original wording in English :

- "Please, come back," he said piteously : « Je t'en prie, reviens », dit-il d'une voix qui faisait pitié 

- I must list my options first : Tout d'abord, il me faut examiner les solutions qui s'offrent à moi 

In some instances, lengthening out is unavoidable :

 - To my surprise : À ma grande surprise 

(À ma surprise would sound awkard)

 - "You are Lauren Smith, aren't you?" : « Vous êtes bien Lauren Smith, n'est-ce pas ?"

 - in Middleport, N. Y. (AM 83) : à Middleport, dans l'état de New York 

(the American initials N. Y. for New York State are not used in French)

 - Marco Schall, 24 (AM 86) : Marco Schall, âgé de 24 ans

(French cannot be content with a mere figure to indicate a person's age)

 - Fast food tempts the hurried (AM 92) : La restauration rapide tente les gens pressés 

(a literal rendering of "the hurried" by « les pressés » is impossible in French)

 - programs by private enterprise (...) to improve the quality of work (AM 83) : des programmes mis sur pied par les entreprises privées (...) pour améliorer la qualité du travail

- From John (sur un paquet-cadeau) : De la part de John

- flights from Nice : les vols en provenance de Nice

- the girl in red trousers la jeune fille vêtue d'un pantalon rouge

- the ring on her finger : la bague qu'elle porte au doigt

Lengthening out is a method to be found more frequently in English-to-French translation than in French-to-English translation, as French is more analytical and less concise than English.

(*) Other French designations for this process: "dilution" or "amplification".


 Lengthen out the following sentences.

1/ Times Beach, Mo. (AM 85) :

2/ Stephen Broderson, 19 (AM 88) : 

3/ anyone with binoculars

4 / as economies reeled from the second oil shock (AM 86) : 

5/ a meteorite from Antartica :

6/ You can reach his room through the study :

7/ Trips from Dover :

8/ the charge against him :

9/ the man in a blue suit :

10/ With a cry :


Pour imprimer, passer en mode paysage
To print, use landscape mode


home page  tech voc  general voc  grammar  EtoF  FtoE  exam papers  texts  pronunciation  franglais  dictionaries  publications  Q&A  operating manuals


© Christian Lassure - English For Techies