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I work as a translation reviewer for an indie game developper. I review French translations which were already given by someone else and test them ingame.

I came across a problem when reviewing this particular word: chattefille. The anthropomorphized cats, which are called ネコ (neko in katakana) or ねこむすめ (nekomusume in hiragana) are usually referred as 'neko' or 'catgirl' in English.

The way it was originally translated (chattefille) is the direct translation from the English term (catgirl). Would there be a proper equivalent term which would be applicable in French, and not just a mere word-for-word translation? I'm looking for the generic name describing the creature itself.

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    Have you found any french speaking community of catgirl/catgirl fan ? In my own experience, they'll either use the japanese or english nickname. – MakorDal Apr 20 '16 at 9:17
  • FYI those Japanese characters are hiragana and kanji, respectively. – ApplePie Apr 20 '16 at 16:46
  • Well you're right. I didn't review this part, but it seems that it got auto-converted. I'll fix that right away. – Alex Apr 20 '16 at 17:11
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There is no official translation of "neko-girl" in French, so you have some possibilities:

  • You can translate it, as fille-chat. In French we already have l'homme-araignée for Spiderman, les hommes-grenouilles for people with a diving suit, etc. Chattefille sounds like a lazy translation for me, but nothing terrible.

  • You can keep the japanese neko or neko-girl, especially if the game is designed for people that are fond of Japanese culture. This is coherent since it is a monster from a foreign culture, as for example you say a kaiju in both English and French to designate Godzilla.

  • You can take the English catgirl (or cat-girl) if it correspond to a clothing that make the girl look like a cat, to make an echo to bunny-girl.

  • I'll take your 2nd possibility. Since it is a game that it is oriented toward anime fan community, I guess this would be the appropriate answer. – Alex Apr 20 '16 at 14:56
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You probably can keep catgirl but if you want a French word, I can suggest minette which means both a female cat and a young/pretty girl.

  • I don't think minette would work well in this perticular situation because to me, it looks rather personal. If I were to use it, it would probably be in a dialog between two characters (one of them would be a catgirl) and use minette as a nickname of some sort. – Alex Apr 19 '16 at 18:29
  • It seems to me you asked for a French word, the reason why I suggested minette. Not sure to get what you mean with personal. Les minettes would be a very acceptable generic name for these characters. I nevertheless wrote I would keep catgirl for the generic name. – jlliagre Apr 19 '16 at 18:54
  • Sorry, I forgot to mention I was looking for the generic name for it. I'll edit the post to reflect this. – Alex Apr 19 '16 at 18:56
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    @Alex More than personal, it was slightly derogatory. It makes me think of dumb blonds on a beach for some reason, with an old pervert looking at them. – MakorDal Apr 20 '16 at 9:40
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If you're not going to use French in a French language text, you might as well keep the original language (Japanese) word like neko. Either way, chattefille is meaningless, but sounds cute imho, just like minette. Fille-chat is the comprehensive construction for the animal + girl composition you have in English : homme-araignée, ...grenouille, ...chauve-souris; you could use them with femme/fille. Plus a Wikipedia stub has fille-chat for nekomusume/nekoko and « oreilles de chat » for nekomimi (猫耳) which feels like a cute nickname. Furthermore searching for "fille-chat" on Images yields results aplenty along the lines of what you describe. There is nothing that catgirls does that couldn't be sung about les filles-chats and therefore in my opinion the loanword is useless here; in fact before you asked I would have thought the catgirl was batman's girlfriend's sidekick-daughter... in any case I'd check for the age on her drivers license before selling her a drink.

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After a quick Google search, I've found that on a few sites they refer to a “catgirl” as “catgirl” (noun, feminine).

On this site they're talking about a game on steam that consists of catgirls.

  • I looked around as well and figured as much, but at least wanted to make sure there wasn't a definite word for it. Thanks. – Alex Apr 19 '16 at 17:59

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