I was reading L'Étranger by Albert Camus and came upon the following text:
En principe, l'enterrement est fixé à dix heures du matin. Nous avons pensé que vous pourrez ainsi veiller la disparue.
I'm having trouble understanding the meaning of the phrase "En principe" as used here. I found that it has three possible meanings:
- In principle/Ideally
- As a rule
Based on this, I came up with the following translation: "In principle, the burial is set at ten o'clock in the morning." which means we have set the burial at ten o'clock in the morning but this is only true in principle, which is to say that the burial may or may not actually take place at ten o'clock in the morning.
However, when I referred to the English edition of the book, I found the sentence translated as
As is usually the case, the funeral is set for ten o'clock in the morning.
Here, the second meaning of the phrase is used.
However, the next sentence says "We thought this way you'd be able to keep vigil over the departed." which implies that the burial timings were set up specifically so that Meursault may stay beside his mother all night. Perhaps, they wouldn't have set this timing if Meursalt had arrived one day earlier and decided to stay there for two days. So, I think the second meaning "usually/generally/normally/usually" is not appropriate here. However "in principle/ideally" fits well here since it means that the burial timings have been set by us for this case at this ten o'clock in the morning, but this might change if something unexpected happens.
So, what is the phrase actually conveying here? Could someone please clarify the usage for me?