I am trying to convert some poor US English subtitles for a French movie into appropriate correct British English. There is a particular, I assume literal, translation that is obviously wrong:

”Your candle is bugging me”

The situation does not involve candles, flashlights or any kind of illumination but seems to indicate that the individual is mildly annoyed at being observed or crowed by others.

I have the movie and a reasonable level of French, but I can’t catch the sentence (only the « messieurs » that enclose it).

Any ideas what it might be?


The movie is Jean Renoir’s 1962 “le caporal épinglé”. The only commercial subtitled version is in a collection of about six, which I bought second-hand during lockdown and now find this particular DVD to be cracked. I have just bought a copy of one without subtitles on eBay and have ripped it and am adding and editing subtitles downloaded from the internet. The scene in question is at about 80 min where Ballochet is leaving the hut to cut his way out of the camp.

Excellent film — much underrated.

Clip available

I have now mounted a 21 sec clip containing the audio at:
https://www.davidleader.net/french/caporal.html .

  • 1
    @Toto C'est ce que le PO demande !!! ;-) David... I've ben trying to find the script online but to no avail. Maybe someone's got the film here. Maybe by any chance this particular dialogue is in the book... (I haven't got the book, but audio available online). Sth you could do is record & upload this particular passage and link to it in chat ? Renoir is highly praised by film enthusiasts, not underrated in France. I haven't seen this film though.
    – None
    Jul 15, 2023 at 18:46
  • 1
    Have you tried asking on movies. I don't know if they allow this kind of questions though. But they might know where to find movie scripts ...
    – None
    Jul 15, 2023 at 19:00
  • 1
    This page davidbillemont3.free.fr/Sous-Titres%20Lf.html they say you can download the sous-titres français, .rar file. If you want to try.... And yes it's got Le caporal épinglé
    – None
    Jul 15, 2023 at 19:07
  • 1
    One possibility is that it's "bougez" (move), misinterpreted as "bougie" (candle).
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jul 16, 2023 at 4:50
  • 2
    It's exactly what @Frank said. The reason it was translated by "candle" is that the guy is holding a candle in order to give light. Translator's choice.
    – None
    Jul 16, 2023 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


I can clearly hear: "messieurs, votre lumière me gêne" ("guys, your light is bothering me"), which is followed by the lights dimming. It seems the character by the door in the back is addressing the other characters massed in the front and requesting the lights to be dimmed before opening the door. There is no candle that I can tell of, he says "lumière" (light).

  • 2
    First many thanks. I can hear it now. (My personal problem is that I can often recognize what is being said in French only after I have read the subtitles.) Second, I now see that one of the men is actually holding a lighted match which he then extinguishes. For what it's worth I shall probably use a completely free translation of the situation and use something like "Gentlemen, the light please." as "bothering me", although correct, puts the emphasis on his annoyance rather than that he wants the match extinguished. But I'll sleep on it. Not being a professional I have the time.
    – David
    Jul 16, 2023 at 17:22
  • messieurs is guys?
    – Lambie
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:20
  • Monsieur, [singular] And it is bothering me. The light please sounds like turn it on or put it on. Not necessarily put it out.
    – Lambie
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:21
  • @Lambie - I didn't go for the ultimate good translation, just tried to give some flavor. "Gentlemen" is probably much better.
    – Frank
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:22
  • 1
    @Lambie I don't know - I think I'm hearing "Messieurs" plural. Not sure if it's singular. May be the case but it sounds like plural to me.
    – Frank
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.