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The following is a sentence in a novel1:

Je connais bien le Québec. J’ai déménagé plus souvent qu’à mon tour et mon tour venait souvent.

DeepL's translation is:

I know Quebec well. I have moved more often than not and my turn came often.

Some translations that WordReference gives for "à mon tour" are "it's my turn" or "in turn". (Wiktionnaire does not have an entry for "à mon tour").

So, translating "plus souvent qu'à mon tour" literally would give: "more often than "it's my turn" " or "more often than "in turn" ", which doesn't make sense.

I'm having trouble understanding how I could arrive at DeepL's translation for "plus souvent qu'à mon tour", if I only knew WordReference's translations for "à mon tour". Is it possible? Or is "plus souvent qu'à mon tour" an opaque idiom and an omission in WordReference?


1. "La Bête à sa Mère", by David Goudreault, Chapter 1

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    The DeepL translation doesn't make too much sense even as a standalone English sentence! I think I'd translate it "more often than was warranted" or something along those lines. Literally I understand it as the person having moved more often than the number of times their "turn" came up -- the expected frequency or milestones in life, for example.
    – Luke Sawczak
    May 6, 2022 at 3:08
  • I moved more often than I had real cause to -- and I often had cause to.
    – Luke Sawczak
    May 6, 2022 at 3:13
  • I would proposed : more often than needed, more often than you should.
    – Archemar
    May 6, 2022 at 10:33

1 Answer 1

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Plus souvent qu'à mon/ton/son/leur tour is an idiom.

The meaning is exactly what Luke wrote in a comment, he moved more often than it would have happened in average/standard/usual circumstances.

@ArwynFR added: It refers to the idea that, when multiple people want to use some sort of resource, they would organize usage turns (chacun son tour). This allows everyone to have an even access to it. The idiom depicts a situation where one person can access that resource more frequently than that even share. It is used to express the idea that something happens unusually frequently to a specific person.

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  • (jlliagre, why is SE asking me to approve your Edit? i've never seen SE asking me to approve anyone's edit before. i didn't even think Edits to answers or questions needed approval!)
    – silph
    May 6, 2022 at 11:51
  • @silph No idea. Normally my edits are immediatly processed. There might be some recent glitches with either my account or the site because yesterday, I was told a comment of mine that should have automatically triggered a notification thing didn't.
    – jlliagre
    May 6, 2022 at 12:39
  • @silph I got it. That wasn't my edit but ArwynFR's one, who hasn't enough reputation to commit edits.
    – jlliagre
    May 6, 2022 at 12:43
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    oh! i see that it wasn't you who made the edit, but instead user ArwynFr . i didn't even know that users could suggest edits on answers that they didn't write themselves! (edit: aha, i see you just left a comment saying this, only as i published my last comment :) )
    – silph
    May 6, 2022 at 12:44

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