I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations, responses, apologies, and - more recentlyly - learning to sing. I hold posts to 300 words* finding less is better than more. I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

I really liked telle eloquence

Letter to Michelin tyre company, France, April 1993

Je suis francophil, j’ai acheté, il y un an, une maison à  Loire Atlantique et je suis en train d’encourager ma famille d’accepter mon enthousiasme pour les traditions francaises.

Avant Paques, j’étais fièr d’amener, pour the premier fois, ma petite fille, Ysabelle, en France. Pendant le trajet de Cherbourg à Drefféac, elle regardait les affiches à coté de la route et était ravi par l’image de votre M. Bibendum. “Qui est-il?” demandait-elle, on repondait et, enfin, elle commencait dire: “Regardez, M. Bibendum.”

Ysabelle a trois ans: votre société doit attendre longtemps pour le moment dont elle devient consommateur de vos produits. Puis-je suggérer que si vous voulez encourager l’enthousiasme de cette cliente naissante, vous l’envoyez une grande image de son héro, M. Bibendum. Ysabelle habite à...

Veuillez, messieurs, acceptez mes sentiments tres distingués.


Roderick Robinson

Michelin’s reply:

Nous vous remercions de votre lettre, exprimée avec une telle eloquence en francais, qui est rècemment parvenue au service Relations Extérieures.

Comme suite à votre demande nous avons le plaisir de vous informer que nous venons d’envoyer à votre petite fille une sélection d’étiquettes à l’image de M. Bibendum, que, nous, espérons lui plaira.

Dans l’espoir que nous avons donné entière satisfaction nous vous prions d’agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de nos sentiments les plus distingués.

Katie Nicholls
Relations Extérieures.


  1. Une grande révélation: je peux coller de longs passages de texte dans un traducteur en ligne. Mais mon traducteur est-il fiable? Cela indique des erreurs de genre dans la réponse de Michelen.

  2. MikeM: A heroic attempt. I am particularly impressed with your unearthing of fiable. I initially thought erreurs de genre was an established phrase in its own right (and thus offering a wide range of meanings) but I was unable to check it as such in my various references. I have concluded it can be taken at face value, meaning errors of gender agreement between words, typically nouns/adjectives. Am I right or have I made a big boo-boo?

    I must also confess that in my letter, written all those years ago, I contrived to attach a masculine indefinite article to maison (house). This I changed as I was transcribing my letter for the post.

    Here's an idiomatic translation of Katie's email:

    Thank you for your letter - expressed with such eloquence - which recently arrived at Customer Relations.

    In response to your request we are happy to inform you that we have just sent a selection of posters/ labels, showing Monsieur Bibendum, to your granddaughter, which we hope will please her.

    Hoping we have given complete satisfaction, please accept our best wishes.

    The final sentence is one of those florid felicitations with which the French end letters and is more or less untranslatable.

    Thanks for displaying my comment of May 19 as well as the more recent test comment in MyKwerks. You will notice that both are labelled "awaiting moderation" and thus the bold-face comments total remains, stubbornly, at 2.

  3. The return letter translated by Google Translator reads:

    "We thank you for your letter, expressed with such eloquence in French, who has recently arrived at the External Relations department.

    As a result of your request we are pleased to inform you that we have just sent to your little girl a selection of labels in the image of Mr. Bibendum, that we hope will please him.

    In the hope that we have given complete satisfaction, please accept, Sir, the expression of our most distinguished sentiments."

    Please find your months old comments approved and published...it appears my comment notifier is malfunctioning....a problem I think we have encountered before. I will try to keep better track of your encouragements.

  4. MikeM: The Michelin reply letter was virtually formulaic, it shouldn't have tested Google Translator's powers to any degree. The worst mistake it makes is translating petite fille as "little girl". True that's the literal meaning but in this context the meaning is clearly "granddaughter". Had the phrase been petit fils the meaning would have been "grandson".

    I think I've worked out why I get that pop-up about email addresses with your WordPress blog. When I'm filling in the details that go with a comment to a new blog, or to a blog where my previous registration has lapsed, I always put in my "proper" email address, the one I use every day and with which you are familiar. But I do have a Gmail address - mandatory when you use Blogger - which copies my emails to an account I rarely consult. If I can remember, the next time I comment on MyKwerks I'll cite the Gmail address.

    More encouragement is in the offing.