Monday, 14 February 2011

«Réponds à nos questions, McDonald’s, ou Ronald mourra!»

I felt like a change with today's French lesson, and so decided to attempt to translate a French news article into English.

The above image stuck out, and led to the selection of «Réponds à nos questions, McDonald's, ou Ronald mourra!» as the article for translation.

With the help of Google Translate (required much less than expected!) I produced the following:

times are hard for Finnish Big Mac fans. Their favourite mascot, a big statue of a smiling clown, Ronald McDonald, was kidnapped last week, then threadented to be executed by a group of activists fighting against junk food. The police conducted the investigation.

The kidnapping was on 31st January 2011, in a McDonalds restaurant situated in the center of the capital Helsinki. The gang who call themselves 'the army of liberation of food' --- repair the statue of Ronald

During the first hours after the kidnapping, people did not --- the disappearance of the station. But the day after, the gang launched a video where the threat is made clear: if Ronald doesn't respont to questions on the quality of the food from its restuarants before 11th February, they will decapitate.

Two other videos have been released on the internet at the beginning of february by the FLA. In the first , the gang ---. In the second, --- "why are we not transparent on the industrial processes, the first contents and additives used in your products? How much of tons of no recyclable waste do you produce chaque année? Have you illegal immegrants among your employees?

These videos have been watched by over 300,000 international customers in a few days. ---

"---" indicates where a sensible translation could not be offered, except for the last "---", which indicates that I could no longer be bothered :3

Obviously my translation doesn't read as well as the English version of the original article; sentence components aren't in the most sensible order, colloquial phrases haven't been noticed properly, etc etc, but upon reflection, the technique worked fairly well.

It led me to learn the days and months, for example.

This then led me to learn the words for 'next' and 'last' and combine them with temporal descriptors to make such phrases as 'last week', 'next year' etc.

Then I learned some location describing words ('dans', 'sur') and some sequential words ('durant', 'avant').

Now I'm about to figure out some question words. So far I have 'oú', 'comment' and 'porquoi', which I believe are 'where', 'how' and 'why' respectively. (Although I also saw 'combien' translated as how; not sure a) whether that's correct or b) what it means!)


  1. Haha, i love it. :) If you have any questions about French i'll be happy to answer them, don't be shy to ask !

    Combien refers to a quantity : How much and how many translate into "combien".
    Exemple How much is it ? Combien ça coûte ?

    Comment refers to the manner.

    (also, why spells pourquoi)

    Voilà !

  2. Excellent, I'll bear that in mind :) (is it better to ask via email or Facebook or etc?)

    S'il vous plait for the clarification between comment/combien - it makes a lot of sense. I tried to Google the difference but found a lot of confusing jargon instead.