What’s in a Paragraph? Why Humans Outdo Auto-Translators

Commendation Translation Focus

This week I spent time translating a document for a friend whose grandfather fought in World War I. The document, issued by the French government, recognizes members of a United States Marine Regiment that helped defeat the Germans near the end of the war. There’s only one paragraph to translate.…

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French Blockbuster Disappoints, Reinventing the Life of Gustave Eiffel

Passion atop the Eiffel Tower

I love my local independent movie theater but have to admit to being disappointed with their decision to show more Hollywood blockbusters, heavily diluting what used to be a steady stream of foreign and independent films. For this reason, I make an effort to attend every French film that brightens…

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The 100-Year Anniversary of Proust’s Final Night on the Town

Location of Proust's Last DInner Party

On May 18, 1922, one of Paris’ grandest hotels was the site of a legendary dinner party. Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust, were among the attendees. The evening is featured in a book, titled Proust at the Majestic: The Last Days of the Author…

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The Secret Governing Body of the French Resistance and its Plan for “Happy Days”

Poster for the French Resistance

In today’s political climate where bipartisanship is increasingly rare, I found this relatively obscure story about the French Resistance to be particularly hopeful. In 1943, under the iron grip of German occupation, an improbable group of 19 Frenchmen met in secret to design a plan of retaliation as well as…

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The Foremost Photographer Of The Belle Époque’s Superstars

Nadar by Nadar

I’ve previously written about Nadar, the colorful French author, artist, and entrepreneur who first made a name for himself in the middle of the 19th-century as a caricaturist. Nadar’s Panthéon is a colossal lithograph containing a long parade of 250 heralded writers of the day. It took Nadar two years…

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Marie Antoinette’s Most Famous Portrait Briefly Silenced her Critics

Marie Antoinette a la rose

History has not been kind to Marie Antoinette. Forced to leave her native Austria at the age of 14 and become the wife of future King Louis XVI, she quickly fell under the gaze of a critical public eye. There she remained until her death by guillotine at the age…

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January Potpourri: Buzz, Beauty, and Beguiling Media from France

EU Blue Eiffel Tower-focus

Fun and informative Francophone news items that came across my screen in January. France Heads the European Union Until this month, I didn’t realize that the presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates between its various member states, changing every 6 months. Starting January 1 and ending June…

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