Je n'arrive pas à trouver une traduction satisfaisante de l'adverbe anglais refreshingly, souvent utilisé pour souligner le côté appréciablement inhabituel de quelque chose ; par exemple :

My colleague was refreshingly honest when I asked her for feedback.

Je suppose qu'on pourrait commencer par essayer de traduire l'adjectif refreshing... En tout cas l'adverbe semble laborieux à exprimer en français, alors qu'il s'utilise simplement en anglais. Voir par exemple tous les extraits proposés par Linguee, où la traduction à chaque fois perd ou appauvrit le sens exprimé par refreshingly (je trouve).

Comment traduire cette notion en français ?

  • I sometimes use «welcomingly [honest]» to mean about the same thing as «refreshingly [honest]» in English so maybe you could expand your search to include an adverb based on “bienvenu/e” the adjective. I did find a few instances of & one entry for “bienvenuement”, but I doubt if it’s a real word and the related “opportunément” doesn’t seem to jive with the way I use “welcomingly” in place of “refreshingly.”
    – Papa Poule
    Dec 9, 2016 at 19:06
  • 1
    @Ange-à-Liberté Frankly, I wouldn't know how to answer those good questions but they did make me think of another possible purpose that "refreshingly" could be serving here: as a sentential adverb along the lines of "thankfully" or "fortunately" (and the debatable "hopefully") and if so then perhaps "Refreshingly" could have even started the sentence without changing its meaning by much.
    – Papa Poule
    Dec 10, 2016 at 0:11
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    @PapaPoule That sentential adverb is functionally equivalent to what I had in mind. J'ai posé une question sur ELL pour voir. Merci !
    – user3177
    Dec 10, 2016 at 18:24
  • Le feedback [retour d'information ou d'expérience, si l'on veut] que j'ai demandé à ma collègue change un peu des réponses usuelles que l'on reçoit. A mon avis, il faut prendre l'idée et la reformuler et éviter en tout état de cause des mots comme rafraîchissant et companie. Aucun mot tout seul ne fera l'affaire....
    – Lambie
    Dec 10, 2016 at 18:48
  • 1
    As a French native speaker, I feel a bit reluctant to the two answers which bring like an evidence that the involved colleague is usually not so honest. Sure it might be true, but without more information about him, my most obvious understanding is that "refreshingly" here rather targets people in general, as well explained by @Papa Poule. Anyway the most accurate mean of "refreshing" is "rafraîchissant", while "inattendu" already takes account of an a priori against the colleague.
    – cFreed
    Dec 15, 2016 at 20:22

4 Answers 4


We may say

Il était d'une honnêteté rafraîchissante.


Different usage of the adverb:

refreshingly honest: d'une honnêteté rafraîchissante
⇒ He was refreshingly honest. Il était d'une honnêteté rafraîchissante.

refreshingly simple: d'une simplicité rafraîchissante

refreshingly different: d'une originalité rafraîchissante

Ma collègue s’est montrée franche, pour changer ...

Pour une fois, ma collègue s’est montrée franche ...

Je crois qu'il se traduit bien par « pour changer, pour une fois », compte tenu du fait que l'on emploie "refreshing/refreshingly" en anglais quand quelqu'un fait preuve de courage/gentillesse/honnêteté/etc, côté auquel l'on ne s'attendait pas chez lui, et si l'on souhaite qu'il en soit ainsi plus souvent.

Qui plus est, le verbe « se montrer » sert à renforcer la nature inhabituelle et ponctuelle.


Without an obvious way to translate with a single word the fact it was both unexpected and pleasant, I would rephrase the sentence that way:

J'ai beaucoup apprécié la franchise inattendue de mon collègue lorsque je lui ai demandé son avis.


To the extent that you would really like to maintain the adverbial feel that “refreshingly” has in your English example, perhaps you could consider trying to fit the “de/d’une façon +adjective [rafraîchissante, in this case]” construction somewhere into the translation, such as:

Ma collègue s’est montrée franche/honnête/ouverte, de/d’une façon rafraîchissante, lorsque je lui ai demandé son avis.


De/D’une façon rafraîchissante, ma collègue s’est montrée franche/honnête/ouverte lorsque je lui ai demandé son avis.

You’ll perhaps note that these suggestions are similar in form to @Ah alone-zee ’s good answer (and that I’ve also borrowed “s’est montrée franche” from that answer [as well as “lorsque je lui ai demandé son avis” from jlliagre’s]).
However, perhaps my suggested choice of words doesn’t imply quite as much as Ah alone-zee’s (to me, at least) that this particular colleague is usually not frank, but instead that people/colleagues in general are often less than frank.
Therefore, perhaps my choice would be more appropriate if this colleague is actually being commended for being an exception to this general rule/observation and not being indirectly/backhandedly chastised for her particular prior lack of honesty.

(cf: as an aside relating to my earlier comment above that I sometimes use “welcomingly” instead of “refreshingly,” perhaps you could use “De/D’une façon bienvenue” instead of “De/D’une façon rafraîchissante” in either of the above suggestions without changing their meaning too much)

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