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I have heard the following sentence in the TV series "Marseille":

Je sens que je vais te cramer ta gueule!

Context: During the day, a young guy living in a poor and violent neighborhood tells the leader of the neighborhood gang to get lost when the gang leader asks him to transport some illegal product in his car. In the night, both meet again, the gangster beats the young guy, lights a Molotov cocktail and says the sentence above before throwing the bomb inside the young guy's car and exploding it.

I have (literally) translated the sentence above to English as "I feel that I'm going to burn/set fire to your face", but the subtitle translation is "We should set fire to you instead". Could someone explain why the French sentence means that?

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    Subtitles are no transcriptions even when they're in the same language as the one spoken. When you add a (sometimes poor) translation on top of that, there may be indeed some differences. That said the meaning here is very similar and express one's intention to burn the other guy. – Laurent S. Jan 24 at 8:33
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    I feel like I'm going to set fire to your face really isn't something somebody would say in English. So the translators changed it to something more idiomatic which conveys more or less the same idea. – Peter Shor Jan 25 at 14:07
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It doesn't.

Your translation is correct.

Je sens que je vais... is a little more like "I feel like I'm about to..."

Cramer is indeed slang for burn, and originates from the Occitan cremar.

Gueule is also slang for face (or mouth), and the grammar is relaxed, as the academic form would be te cramer la gueule.

Finally, cramer ta gueule doesn't mean casser ta gueule, especially when a Molotov cocktail is involved.

  • Can you comment on "Je sens que..."? The literal translation sounds very weak in English, almost apologetic. Is "Je sens que..." a lot more sinister than the English? – Mitch Jan 24 at 16:23
  • @Mitch done _____ – jlliagre Jan 24 at 18:27
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    In that specific situation, it seems to implies a threat, something like "Looks like i'll need to burn your face (if you don't do what i want)". In other situations, not sinister at all ("je sens que ça va bien se passer" "I feel it wanna be alright") – thibsert Feb 2 at 11:11
  • @thibsert Indeed. That's definitely a threat here but that wouldn't necessarily be the case in another context. – jlliagre Feb 2 at 20:02

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