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Les frais de déplacement sont en train de grever le budget alloué à notre projet ces derniers temps.

Grammatically speaking, I wonder if the phrase "ces derniers temps" is supposed to qualify "sont en train" or "alloué"? Which interpretation is correct?

1) Les frais de déplacement sont récemment en train de grever le budget alloué à notre projet.

2) Les frais de déplacement sont en train de grever le budget alloué récemment à notre projet.

When an adverbial phrase like "ces derniers temps" is placed at the end of a sentence, I have always wondered about this. In the case of the phrase "à présent" at the end, a comma placed immediately before "à présent" serves to eliminate any ambiguity.

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It depends on the meaning. It cannot affect être en train de. (That shouldn't be there in the first places: that auxiliary clashes semantically with either of these adverbs.)

If the meaning is literally the recent budget allocations that are affected/diminished by travel expenses, then yes it should go at the end (Note that it's impossible to use ces derniers temps to unambiguously refer to alloué, so the first example could also have the other meaning):

Les frais de déplacement grèvent le budget alloué à notre projet ces derniers temps.

Les frais de déplacement grèvent le budget récemment alloué à notre projet.

If the meaning is that the the budget has recently started to be affected by travel expenses, then you should move the adverbial to the beginning of the sentence (grever doesn't work with récemment, you'd need a different auxiliary like commencer à):

Ces derniers temps, les frais de déplacement grèvent le budget alloué à notre projet.

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Normaly the "complément circonstanciel" should qualify the main verb of the proposition, which is "être en train de". So it is poor french to use it to qualify "alloué". However, the following sentence has no meaning:

Ces derniers temps, les frais de déplacement sont en train de gréver notre budget.

It cannot be "ces derniers temps" and "en train de" at the same time. So the meaning of the sentence must be:

Les frais de déplacement sont en train de gréver notre budget récemment alloué.

Equivalent to:

Les frais de déplacement sont en train de gréver le budget qui nous a été alloué ces derniers temps.

The last sentence carries no ambiguity, as the following sentence still means nothing:

*Les frais de déplacement sont en train de gréver le budget qui nous a été alloué, ces derniers temps.

In english, you can translate the original sentence by:

Recently [ces derniers temps] we got some budget. However, we are now[nous sommes en train de] losing it due to travel fees.

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