Thursday, October 31, 2013

Missing Fiona: French-English Translation

In the previous post, we asked for body language analysis of the mother; in particular, her head shaking and her looking around at the reporters. Here we have a translation of the interview. In using a translation, we step back a bit, and look at the broader picture, knowing we might lose something in translation, therefore, we generalize.


Mère : Je lance un appel à tout le monde pour… à tous les Clermontois, tous ceux qui peuvent nous aider. C’est vraiment un appel au secours… et pis ben… voilà… c’est le but, c’est de retrouver Fiona, c’est tout… et que… qu’on a vraiment besoin d’un soutien, d’aide… C’est vraiment la seule chose que je peux dire.
Mother: I send out a call to everyone...all the Clermontois (people who live in Clermontois), all who can help us.  It is truly a call for help.. XX .. XX..it is the goal, it is to find Fiona, that's it...and that.. that one really needs some support, some help...It is truly the only thing that I can say.

We take careful note of the need to use "truly" as added. Also, the stated purpose is to find Fiona. Why would a mother have the need to state the obvious unless the mother had a need to state the obvious. This is sensitive.

Note "really" and "truly" as unnecessary emphasis added to the statement.


Journaliste : Que vous disent les enquêteurs actuellement ?
What did you actually say to the investigators?


Avocat : ben les enquêteurs, on n’a plus affaire avec les enquêteurs, hein… on a affaire aux juges. C’est la raison pour laquelle on est là aujourd’hui. On n’a plus affaire aux enquêteurs. On a affaire aux 2 juges qui ont été désignés pour régler cette affaire, voilà… les enquêteurs… on n’est plus témoin hein, on est partie civile, voilà…
Lawyer:  Well the investigators, we are no longer dealing with the investigators, XX.. we are dealing with judges.  That's the reason we are here (for which we are there) today.  We are no longer dealing with investigators.  We are dealing with two judges who were designated to rule this affaire, there... the investigators... we no longer witness eh, it is a civil plaintiff, that ...

Pronouns are critical. This mother should be using "I" and not "we"; note the use of "we" as well as the repetition of the negative, "no longer dealing with investigators"


Journaliste : Que pensez-vous de toute la mobilisation sur facebook, dans la vie ?
Journalist:  What do you think of the mobilzation on Facebook, in the life?


Mère : Au niveau de la mobilisation, c’est vraiment… bon, c’est bien, c’est une bonne chose… J’espère, on espère vraiment que bon… ça peut aider parce que… ben on est face quand même… impuissant… et ben voilà, on espère vraiment que toutes les recherches… on  essaie d’avoir confiance en la justice.
Mother:  As far as mobilization, it's truly... well, it's good, it is a good thing... I hope, one truly hopes that good... that will be able to help because... well one is faced nevertheless...powerless.. and there, one truly hopes that all research (all the searching)... one tries to have trust in the justice system (trust in justice).

Again, notice the need to emphasis with "truly"
note also the need to explain why help is needed when a child is missing is unnecessary therefore making it critical.


Avocat : mais vous avez confiance en la justice ! Si vous êtes partie civile aujourd’hui, c’est que vous pensez que c’est à la justice de faire son travail et voilà…
but you have confidence in the justice system!  If you are a civil party today, that's what you think that the justice system does it's work and there it is...
Journaliste : Vous ne comprenez pas ce qui a pu se passer ce dimanche après-midi ?
Journalist:  You don't understand what happened this Sunday afternoon?


Mère : Non, je suis vraiment…
Mother:  No, I am truly...
"truly" is an additional word meant to persuade

Avocat : vous vous êtes assoupie, alors expliquez un petit peu quand même…
Lawyer:  you were asleep, but explain a little just the same...


Mère : oui ben voilà… en m’étant assoupie… et puis après c’est, ben c’est à mon réveil, ben voilà j’ai… il manquait ma fille. Il manquait ma fille.
Mother:  Yes.. well  as for me being asleep.. and then after it's, well it's upon my awakening,well I have... he was missing my daughter.  He was missing my daughter.

Something lost in translation; it may be some missing info, here, however, "then, after..."


Journaliste : Vous lancez un appel aux éventuels ravisseurs ?
Journalist:  Are you sending out an appeal to potential kidnappers?


Mère : Bien sûr, bien sûr ! De toute façon, n’importe qui qui voit Fiona, n’importe qui qui a Fiona, et ben voilà… qu’il me la ramène, qu’il nous la ramène, c’est tout.
Mother:  Of course, of course!  Anyway ( in any event), no matter who sees Fiona, no matter who who has Fiona, and well.. that he brings her back to me, that he brings her back to us, that's all.


"of course" is meant to be accepted without question.  The repetition makes it sensitive, but so does the fact that one might have a need to have something so obvious as this expected.  
Note the change from "brings her back to me" to "us" along with another use of "that's all."

"That's all" would mean the end of things once she is brought back home.  Is there no call for justice?


Journaliste : Vous étiez à quel endroit dans le parc ?
Journalist:  You were in what spot in the park? (What spot in the park were you?)


Mère : ben on était derrière, côté « La Glacière »
Mother:  Well we were behind, next to "La Glaciere" (the Glacier)


Journaliste : Côté « la Glacière », C’est dans les sous-bois, vers le sud…
Journalist:  Next to "The Glacier", that's in the south woods, toward the south...


Mère : voilà, voilà, c’est ça…
Mother:  That's it, that's it...


Journaliste : c’est un petit chemin qui part…
Journalist:  it's a small path which goes...


Mère : Voilà…
Mother:  That's it...


Journaliste : Et quand vous vous reposez, vous lui donnez quelques consignes, qu’est-ce qui s’est passé ?
Journalist:  And when you are resting, you give (him) her some guidelines, what is it that happened


Journaliste : Il n’y a rien qui a attiré votre attention ce jour-là ?
Journalist:  There isn't anything that caught your attention on this day?


Avocat : Bon on va peut-être avancer là… on avance un peu, on chemine… oui ?
Lawyer:  Good we are perhaps going to go there... we are making headway, we are walking... yes?


Journaliste : non, je lui demandais s’il n’y avait rien qui avait attiré son attention ce jour-là particulièrement ou si vous aviez remarqué quelqu’un ou quelque chose ?
Journalist:  no, I asked him if there wasn't anything that attracted his attention on this particular day or if you noticed some one or something?


Mère : ben non justement, j’ai rien remarqué du tout. Pis bon déjà, vu mon état, en étant beaucoup fatiguée, j’aurais jamais imaginé que ben… qu’il se serait passé ça, et du coup ben, quand on est face à ça, on comprend rien à ce qui se passe… et voilà… la seule chose c’est récupérer Fiona, c’est tout, après le reste… y a pas d’importance… y a à la retrouver.
Mother: well not exactly, I noticed nothing at all.  XXXX already, saw my state, and being very tired, I would never have imagined that well, that it would have happened that, and in some blows (or suddenly) well???, when one is faced with that, one understands nothing about what is happening...and there it is... the only thing is to bring back Fiona, that's all, after the rest... there is nothing important... there is to find her.


Journaliste : Est-ce que c’est une petite fille qui a pu faire une imprudence, suivre un inconnu ?
Journalist:  Is it that a little girl who was able to be careless, and to follow a stranger? --> Could a little girl be careless and follow a stranger?


Avocat : On m’a dit des choses là-dessus qui sont importantes, que vous pouvez…
Lawyer:  They told me such things could be important, you may...


Journaliste : est-ce qu’elle avait le contact facile ?
Journalist: Is she easy to connect with?


Mère : oui, bien sûr, bien sûr… ben c’est une fille qui aime la vie, qui aime les gens, qui est sociable, qui euh… ben elle a pas de soucis quoi, elle est… on peut demander à n’importe qui, elle est toujours souriante. Même quelqu’un qui lui dit bonjour, elle répond, elle… voilà… c’est… c’est une petite fille pleine de vie, pleine de vie… une petite fille de 5 ans.
Mother: yes, of course, of course... well it's a girl who loves life, who loves people, who is sociable, who uh... well there are no worries that, she is... one can ask anyone, she is always smiling.  Even someone who says hello to her, she replies, she...well...that's a little girl full of life, full of life...a little 5 year old girl.  


Journaliste : Et vous, comment allez-vous, Comment vous sentez-vous ?
Journalist: And you, how are you, how are you feeling?


Mère : ben c’est très, très dur… après du coup, ben par rapport à ma grossesse et puis… ben mon autre fille, on n’a pas trop le choix, ben de faire en sorte de continuer un peu une vie… surtout pour la petite et puis pour mon bébé parce que j’ai quand même maintenant beaucoup de contractions, j’ai pas envie non plus de faire une fausse-couche ou quoi que ce soit donc… mais faut gérer tout ça, c’est vraiment pas facile.
Mother: well it's very, very hard/difficult...after a blow (some blows), well compared to my pregnancy and then... well my other daughter, one has no choice, well to ensure to continue life a little... especially for the little one (girl) and for my baby because just the same I still have lots of contractions, I don't want to have a miscarriage or anything  so...but must deal with it, it's truly not easy.

Note that "one" or in English, "you", rather than "I", which is then changed to the pronoun "I" later in the statement, regarding contractions. 

Note that "continue life" is a very strange use of "life" when speaking of a missing child and not a dead child.

the emphasis again with "truly"

Who’s Cécile Bourgeon
She’s a 25-year-old mother from Clermont-Ferrand in central France.
Why is she in the news this week?
Bourgeon has been in the French news throughout the summer, appearing in tears in front of cameras back in May, launching a desperate appeal for help in finding her five-year-old daughter Fiona, who she claimed had gone missing while playing in the park.
This week, after four months of painstaking searches by police and volunteers, hundreds of false leads, repeated interviews with Bourgeon and her family, and an enormous groundswell of sympathy from the French people, the mother made a shocking confession.
Late on Wednesday night, after two days of intense grilling from police in the south-western city of Perpignan, where she now lives, Bourgeon appears to have finally cracked, and began telling investigators what appears to be the truth.
Her daughter Fiona never in fact went missing. That fateful trip to the park never even took place and Bourgeon never had any hope of finding her, because Fiona was dead, and she hid her body herself.

Five-year-old Fiona. Photo: AFP/Clermont-Ferrand police.
What happened to Fiona?
As of Thursday we still don’t know, because the little girl’s body hasn’t been found yet. According to her lawyer, Bourgeon told interrogators that her boyfriend, Berkane Maklouf, had beaten Fiona to death in a drunken rage.
But Maklouf has offered a different version of events. He says the pair had woken one morning in May to find that Fiona had choked on her own vomit.
According to lawyers both Bourgeon and Maklouf admit they found Fiona dead in her bed one morning and that, panicking, disposed of her body.
Bourgeon reportedly told police this week that the couple had stuffed Fiona’s naked body into a leather bag, which they placed in the boot of their car.
With Fiona’s baby sister Eva in the back seat, the couple drove out to a wooded area on the outskirts of Clermont-Ferrand.
When they arrived there, Bourgeon claims she stayed in the vehicle with Eva, while Maklouf carried Fiona’s corpse to a spot on the fringes of the forest, dug a hole, and buried her naked body there.
What did Bourgeon do next?
In short, she lied and carried on lying. At 6.45pm on Sunday, May 12th, Bourgeon reported Fiona missing. She told them she had been at Montjuzet park in Clermont-Ferrand, with her two daughters.
She claimed she had fallen asleep on a park bench for 15 minutes, and when she awoke, Fiona was gone.
"She was pretty tired because she’s six months pregnant,” said local prosecutor Pierre Sennes at the time.
Police helped Bourgeon launch a massive public appeal for information, including a dedicated phone number, and dozens of police officers, soldiers and firemen combed the 26-hectare park for clues, while a helicopter fitted with a thermal imaging camera circled above them.
It was all to no avail.

While she waited in the car, Bourgeon's boyfriend buried Fiona naked in a forest. Bourgeon then launched an emotional appeal for help and a nationwide search. Photo: Yuki Akachan/Youtube
How has Bourgeon behaved in public?
She’s been really persuasive, to be honest. Which is one of the main reasons why there has been such a flood of hatred and anger towards her in the last 24 hours.
On May 16th, Bourgeon appeared before French media, tearfully asking the French nation for help in finding her daughter.
“I think about everything and nothing in particular. This is very hard, psychologically," she said in a separate interview. Here is a short video of first national television appearance (in French.)
When investigators formally concluded that Fiona had been abducted, and changed their line of inquiry to one of “kidnapping and false imprisonment,”Bourgeon received an outpouring of sympathy from members of the public all over France.
Hundreds of local volunteers and well-wishers handed out missing person posters and canvassed all over Clermont-Ferrand, in an effort to speed the search for Fiona to a happy ending.
In August, after three months without developments, Bourgeon reappeared for an interview with local newspaper La Montagne, which has followed the case particularly closely since the beginning.
The mother, knowing her daughter was dead, and having arranged for her burial in a forest, actually complained about how frustrating it was to not have any clues as to her whereabouts.
“Three months have already passed and still no good news,” she said. “We’re still waiting for a solid lead. It’s very hard, but I have to keep fighting.”
“Where I’ve been disappointed is that there have been so many testimonies which have led nowhere. But if someone does have information, they must come forward.”

Hundreds of well-wishers and supporters took to the streets of Clermont-Ferrand to help speed the search for Fiona to a happy ending. Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP
What happens now?
On Thursday evening, Bourgeon told investigators she would lead them to the spot where Fiona was buried, in a forest next to Lac d’Aydat near Clermont-Ferrand.
The search proved fruitless, however, and was soon suspended. Once more police have been left frustrated by Bourgeon and unable to bring the entire episode to a resolution.
The French public, meanwhile, have been left in disgust, trying to comprehend how Cécile Bourgeon and Berkane Maklouf did what they did.
Stéphane Pozzo, who started a Facebook group in support of Bourgeon’s search for Fiona, summed up the emotions of many in France on Thursday, speaking to Europe 1 radio.

“What they have done is despicable. It’s horrible, indefinable and inhuman.” 

17 comments:

john said...

Journalist: Is she easy to connect with?

Mother: yes, of course, of course... well (IT'S) a girl who loves life.

Buckley said...

John- I get this as a translation:

"this is a girl who loves life"

Anonymous said...


it's all how you translate it. even google isnt getting some things right. and some languages dont have words to describe american english words or phrases.

some mistranslating is due to redneck, like yep vs yes or you all vs y'all. a translating program wouldn't be able to understand that.

also, the way things are said, for example:
une petite fille de 5 ans
one small girl of 5 years
or as we would say it:
a little 5 year old girl


"ensure continue life" needed to GET a little bit of REST, so she wouldnt miscarry her pregnancy and so she could keep taking care of her other children while also looking for her missing daughter.

she is a girl who loves life, loves people, is friendly, (isn't/wasn't) afraid of anyone.
you can ask anyone, she is always smiling.
Even when a stranger said hello to her, (she'd say/she says) hi back,
she ...
OH!!!
this is ... this is a little girl full of life, so full of life ... a little girl of 5 years.

----------
spoke of her in present tense as far as i can tell, but dont go by me, im not sure about present/past tense.

this is a red flag right?
"you can ask anyone, she is always smiling."
why the need to get others to testify to that? but again it is in present tense?
then again, my girlfriend when i say she always b!tches, would say "not always, there was one time i didn't"

elf said...

Peter,
Are some translations easier to analyze than others?

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Buckley said...
John- I get this as a translation:

"this is a girl who loves life"

October 31, 2013 at 6:56 PM

...............................

Hi Buckley, i get what your saying, though we can only go on the words that are spoken and translated.

The reason i highlighted "Mother: yes, of course, of course... well (IT'S) a girl who loves life", is that given what we know, and i didn't at the time of posting my comment is that. "ITS" is distancing language. I would expect her to use her name or even the say "she" which is also distancing language but not as sever as "Its".
And now we know why she is using distancing language. If i am wrong i will acknowledge it, its the only way i will learn. )

Anonymous said...

The mother used the word "life" several times during the interview.

It seems they still did not find her body. There must be a reason for the couple not giving the exact location to LE. Poor little girl.

The mother was charged with "aggravated delivery of fatal blows" to her five-year-old daughter Fiona. The mother and her partner will testify against each other.

Trigger said...

I am saddened to see how easy it is for mothers and boyfriends to violently kill a child, toss the body in a hiding place, then fabricate a story and go with it to cover up their deeds no matter what.

The teamwork involved in crimes like these where the mother and her boyfriend seek to hide the murder of a child is not a mystery to those who understand it.

Too bad these detectives, who solved this case aren't working on the Hailey Dunn murder.

Anonymous said...

Trigger, IMO, there was nothing special the detectives did to make her confess; this mother would have gotten away with what she and her boyfriend did to this child forever if she had not confessed.

She already had the sympathy of France; all she had to do was continue to hold onto her story that was already working for her.

IMO, it was she who ponied up in the end and nothing the detectives did, unless they were waterboarding and beating the crap outta her; which, doesn't sound like they were.

Anonymous said...

IMO, no one is working on the Hailey Dunn case. That should be pretty obvious when you consider certain factors; one, now LE denies there ever was any child porn found among the hundreds of thousands of lewd and illegal items they recovered from Billie and Shawn in their search, when they clearly said there WAS child porn found.

Now they backtrack, just as they have on every piece of circumstantial (and real) evidence they've had at their disposal. I wonder now if they might not have gone on forever treating Haileys' disappearance as a run-away if they had not been put under pressure by the many who did not believe Shawns' and Billies' stories and numerous lies.

Somewhere in all this, there is a -------- in the woodpile.

Anonymous said...

c'est = ce est

est = is

ce as a pronoun:
this = cette, ce, cet, ces, ceci, celui-là
that = que, qui, ce, celle, celui, cela
it = il, elle, le, ce, la, cela

ce as an adjective:
that = ce, cette, cet, ces

depending on what you are talking about makes the difference between what "it" means:
it = il, elle, le, ce, la, cela

which in english, il = he, elle = she
but c'est is pronounced the same in all cases.

"c’est une fille qui aime la vie"
"it's a girl who loves life"

because the subject is a fille(girl), this should have been translated closer to "SHE'S a girl who loves life"

so we cannot know if the mother was intending to relay it's or she's.
imo

Anonymous said...

I am not another "Eyes for Lies" expert, but I can see lies in this mother's eyes in just looking at her first photo published above in this article.

In the second photo, she is trying to look coy, portraying a come-hither sexpot look. In the third photo she is obviously choking on her guilt and is too ashamed to show her face as a normal innocent mother of a missing child would do. Just MOO.

Anonymous said...

elle… voilà… c’est… c’est une petite fille pleine de vie, pleine de vie

it ... that's ... that's ... that's a little girl full of life, full of life

----------
american english is so bassackwards compared to other languages.
we would say, "look out from above". they would say "from above look out".
when we hear the warning "from above", we look up anyway. when we hear look out, we are confused. that split second can cost you your life. so why not say things backwards like other languages do?

you have to reverse the order, she did not say full of life twice in a row.

she is so vibrant,... oh hell yeh,... she is so full of life!

they do not have as many words to describe each little detail. one word can mean many things depending on how it is used and what it is pertaining to.

in eskimo, "ugh ugh" can mean "get me a glass of water off the table" or it could mean "put your coat on before going outside".

so this woman catches her husband with an eskimo, she says, "i knew it!!" the other woman corrects her, "it is pronounced, in you it".

Anonymous said...

L’Académie française is a body of the most distinguished French who oversee the protection of their language in terms of proper usage, grammar, and vocabulary. Their language is taken seriously and it has been known that some of their debates have carried on for 40 years or so.

According to many French citizens, there is an on going "bastardizing" their language. From what I learned with my French teachers "'c'est une petite fille pleine de vie." should be "Elle est une petite fille pleine de vie."

OR C'est une petite fille qui est pleine de vie.

Corrrect grammar and the correct way to show closeness would be :

C'ette fille, elle est pleine de vie. meaning.... " This girl, she is full of life."

The way the mother said it comes across as creating distance, and why is she speaking of her beloved child with such distance?

The French like to use affectionate terms with children like, "mon chou, mon chouchou, mon chéri, mon coeur, words that have many meanings like "my darling, my sweet, my dear, my adorable, my heart, etc. These words show relationship.... mon =my

For me, the mother's choice of words seemed very distancing, lacking terms of affection. Her body language said she wanted very much to convince people of one thing, while expressing sadness over what she knew.

American in France said...

************************
Mère : oui ben voilà… en m’étant assoupie… et puis après c’est, ben c’est à mon réveil, ben voilà j’ai… il manquait ma fille. Il manquait ma fille.
Mother: Yes.. well as for me being asleep.. and then after it's, well it's upon my awakening,well I have... he was missing my daughter. He was missing my daughter.

Something lost in translation; it may be some missing info, here, however, "then, after..."
****************************
Just to clear up this translation, she said : "yes, well... having dozed off... and then after, it's, well, it's when I woke up, well, I [she starts to use a past tense verb which she doesn't finish]...my daughter was missing. My daughter was missing."

It's interesting that the mother uses the pronoun "on" very often instead of I. "On" can be used as a general "you," but is also frequently used as "we" in spoken French. I would translate most, if not all, of her uses of "on" as "we."

I also noticed that she used a lot of "filler" or stalling words (such as um, er, well, like, you know, etc in English) : ben, voilà, hein, bon, pis, euh, quoi. She also often cuts herself off and doesn't finish her sentences.

As someone already pointed out, her saying "c'est une petite fille" is more "she's a little girl" than IT's a little girl. However, I do feel that the mother is distancing herself on some level since she could have just as easily said "elle [she] est une petite fille."

Anonymous said...

ok, thanks french grammar police. i only had one year in high school, 22 years ago.
lacking terms of affection - i know a lot of mothers like that, but most people will take an ownership, my kid, my wife, my husband. but then again, some people feel if they own them, they can do to them what ever they want.


and thanks AiF at 7:10.
i kind of got the feeling she was guarding or watching how she worded things by the use of well so many times, so ok, she caught herself going to use past tense and corrected. ok, lots of distancing. so she kept talking while she thought of what to say.
and i might be believing she did mean to say IT'S instead of she's by the way you explained that. but is the use of c'est in that way a cultural thing, by poor or those lacking education, slang?

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious, her little girl is missing, one would expect fear, panic, pleading, terms of endearment, words of relationship such as ' my' or 'this' instead of 'that' to show closeness.

Some cultures are more affectionate in their manners and language. The French, Italian and Spanish language lends itself to more loving expressions, more intense emotions. That's what I have observed.

Yes, she uses a lot of fillers and trials off without finishing her thoughts - part of self editing.