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I'm currently working on a translation (just for practice) and have come to a point where I cannot tell whether or not my translations would actually make sense to a native speaker. I have two specific questions regarding my translation below:

a) What does a native French speaker expect to receive if somebody promises them a "flyer"? Does it actually mean the same thing as it does in English? I'm mainly asking because I've heard of the words "prospectus" and "affiche publicitaire" (is that the same thing?)

b) Which version sounds nicer to you? "Il suffit de nous dire" or "dis nous"? Neither?

My translation:

English

But, to be able to do that we need your help! We have tons of flyers (in German, English and French), tons of stickers and posters that need to be distributed. Perhaps you have friends who might be interested? Know the perfect place for our posters? Just tell us what you can distribute, ideally via e-mail, and we’ll send it to you for free (don’t forget to give us your postal address).

French

Pour faire cela, nous avons besoin de toi ! Nous avons vraiment beaucoup de flyers (en allemand, en anglais et en français), de stickers et de posters. Est-ce que tu connais quelqu’un qui serait intéressé ? Est-ce que tu connais l’endroit idéal pour nos posters ? Il suffit de nous dire / Dis nous (idéalement par e-mail) ce que tu peux distribuer et nous t’enverrons le matériel – gratuitement ! (oublie pas de nous communiquer ton adresse postale)

Thanks a lot for your feedback! Really appreciate it.

  • In French there are spaces before question marks, exclamation marks and colons. I added them, it'll look more natural for a French speaker :) – Teleporting Goat Jul 24 '18 at 13:48
  • Thanks! Never really noticed that but you're right, of course! – Amb Jul 25 '18 at 21:48
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a) That depends on the target people. Some might not understand "flyer" while prospectus is understood by everyone. "Sticker" is more likely to be understood but French is autocollant or adhésif. Beware also that "poster" is used in French but is less generic than the English word so the French affiche would probably be a better choice.

b) Unless the message is directed to kids, colleagues and/or students, or Canadians, I would expect vouvoiement instead of tutoiement so that would be:

Dites-nous ce que vous pouvez distribuer...

Note that in European French, there should be a space character before exclamation and question marks.

Oublie pas de should be n'oublie pas de...

  • Thanks for your explanations. As a student myself, my target audience would probably be students of my age (until I get an actual job, that is). I'll make the appropriate changes based on your feedback. – Amb Jul 25 '18 at 21:57
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"flyer" is usually used by young people when the ad is for parties, concerts, etc. Prospectus sounds more formal. It sounds like the ad must be for a political party or rally or something but that's my intuition here.

[EDIT] actually I think "tract" would be more appropriate for a political party, and for any kind of event as a synonymous for "flyer". Prospectus is more appropriate for commercial advertisements (see https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tract )[/EDIT]

Question: why don't you say "...de posters à distribuer " (for "that need to be distributed")?

"Dis nous" sounds better in my opinion.

Otherwise I agree with jilliagre's answer on all points.

  • Wow, amazing how many different kinds of flyers there are... Thanks for your corrections! I actually don't know why I didn't add "...à distribuer", the translation sounds way better with than without it, so thanks again! – Amb Jul 25 '18 at 22:08
  • @Amb you're welcome! Also an alternative for "vraiment beaucoup" would be "plein de" – Quentin Ruyant Jul 26 '18 at 23:18
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I'm a native French speaker and here's my help,

a. To complete Quentin Ruyant's answer, here are two Google Image searches that illustrate the difference between flyer and prospectus. a Flyer is generally smaller than a prospectus : a small page whereas a prospectus can be a bigger page perhaps several pages. Moreover it has a more trendy connotation. We would use a flyer to promote an event, a party, a school etc. Whereas, we would use a prospectus to informe or to advertise commercial events.

Flyer Google Search Image

enter image description here

Affiche publicitaire can be translated as an advertising poster, and you don't expect it to be moved as it is probably on a building, a wall, or another vertical surface.

I agree with jlliagre for b.

Plus, I wouldn't say « nous avons vraiment beaucoup de flyers » because it sounds like your reader doesn't believe you and you try to convince him : yes yes ! we really do have tons of flyers. It's the « vraiment » ~= really which sounds weird :)

I would write « Nous avons énormément de flyers, d'autocollants et de posters à distribuer »

Furthermore, I would begin by « Pour réaliser ceci », to realize this, it sounds a little more native :)

Pour réaliser ceci, nous avons besoin de toi ! Nous avons énormément de flyers (en allemand, en anglais et en français), d'autocollants et de posters à distribuer. Connaîtrais-tu quelqu’un qui serait intéressé ? Connaîtrais-tu l’endroit idéal pour nos posters ? Dis-nous (idéalement par e-mail) ce que tu peux distribuer et nous t’enverrons le matériel – gratuitement ! (N'oublie pas de nous communiquer ton adresse postale).

Here is a version with the « vouvoiement », in case these flyers aren't distributed to young people (less than 30 years).

Pour réaliser ceci, nous avons besoin de vous ! Nous avons énormément de flyers (en allemand, en anglais et en français), d'autocollants et de posters à distribuer. Connaîtriez-vous quelqu’un qui serait intéressé ? Connaîtriez-vous l’endroit idéal pour nos posters ? Dites-nous (idéalement par e-mail) ce que vous pouvez distribuer et nous vous enverrons le matériel – gratuitement ! (N'oubliez pas de nous communiquer votre adresse postale).

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