I'm making a drawing of several goldfish in a pond and I'd like to give it as title "Goldfish", and wondering if anyone can help with translating it correctly.

Is it "Poisson d'Or" or "Poissons d'Or" since it's a plural noun.

And if I want to add "The" in front of "Goldfish", should it be "Le Poissons d'Or" or "Les Poissons d'Or"?

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


“Goldfish” is most commonly translated as “poisson rouge” in French, litteraly “red fish”, but if the golden colour is meaningful and was to be preserved, another name of that same fish is “cyprin doré”.

The article before the name of a piece of art is not mandatory, and it may either be added or left out. My personal preference would be to leave it out, but opinions vary.

To show some examples, the French poet Paul Verlaine published Fêtes galantes (without the article) and Les mémoires d’un veuf (with the article).

Also, the first word of a title that is not an article may also be capitalized or not. Some recommend it is, but some are more flexible and allow either. The words after that usually start with a lower case letter in French (unless it is a proper name, of course, but it is not the case here).

So, in the plural form, any of the following could work:

  • Cyprins dorés / Poissons rouges
  • Les cyprins dorés / Les poissons rouges
  • Les Cyprins dorés / Les Poissons rouges
  • 1
    Thank you for the explanation. My initial idea to call it Poisson d'or was from Debussy's music: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. Didn't he mean the same fish that we now know as goldfish? I thought since "Poisson" means fish and "Or" means gold, then it makes sense (clearly, I don't know any French). It's great that you also give an alternate for when the golden colour is meaningful, because the fish is painted with gold ink. I want the title also points to the nature of the artwork. So, I guess I'm going with "Cyprins dorés". Do you concur?
    – remmy
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 5:32
  • Just be aware that the name "cyprin doré" will be used only by fish enthusiasts or specialists, the majority of French speakers will naturally call them "poissons rouges" and will not even know what a "cyprin doré" is.
    – Greg
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 11:22
  • @Greg It is indeed not its common denomination, but I don't believe it should prevent someone from naming a picture after it. People will get the link between doré and the colour used, then if they ever wonder what these fishes are, it's a matter of a few seconds with an internet search engine. Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 13:26
  • @remmy If Debussy’s piece is what inspired the drawing, then it might be best to stick with Debussy’s title, i.e. Poissons d’or (note the small o). But the French “poisson d’or” is simply “golden fishes”. It doesn’t represent any particular species of fish, the golden colour is simply applied to the generic acceptation of the word “fish”. Something similar to the contrast between “firefly” vs. “fire fly”. Otherwise, Cyprins dorés would also have been my preferred choice. Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 13:46
  • 1
    Feelew, thank you so much for the detailed explanation. You don't just simply answer but most importantly, you make me understand. You even make a distinction about which letter to be capitalized - which is something I've never realized before. So, I'm eternally grateful. Cyprins dorés it is, then. Feelew, you rock!
    – remmy
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 15:51

The translation of "Goldfish" is "Poisson rouge" not "Poisson d'or"

With "The" it becomes "Les poissons rouges".

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