à qui la vie sourit / ne sourit pas

English translation: to whom life is kind / is not kind

08:24 Jul 20, 2011
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / synopsis
French term or phrase: à qui la vie sourit / ne sourit pas
Michel, un petit courrier criblé de dettes à qui la vie ne sourit pas beaucoup et Jacques, un joueur compulsif, gestionnaire et propriétaire immobilier à qui la vie souriait pourtant beaucoup.
Paul Hirsh
France
Local time: 17:31
English translation:to whom life is kind / is not kind
Explanation:
In EN, we more often uses this expression in the past tense: "life has not been kind to him". You may need to rephrase the sentence slightly to avoid its sounding odd when used in the present tense in EN.

"..life is not always too kind" might be the sort of thing you need
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 17:31
Grading comment
perfect
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +6to whom life is kind / is not kind
Tony M
4 +3upon whom life smiles / upon whom life does not smile
B D Finch
4 +1who is/isn't lucky in life
Sheila Wilson
4Lady Luck not on his side/ very often on his side
kashew
4to whom life is/hasn't been kind
emiledgar


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
to whom life is kind / is not kind


Explanation:
In EN, we more often uses this expression in the past tense: "life has not been kind to him". You may need to rephrase the sentence slightly to avoid its sounding odd when used in the present tense in EN.

"..life is not always too kind" might be the sort of thing you need

Tony M
France
Local time: 17:31
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 328
Grading comment
perfect

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexandra Maldwyn-Davies
8 mins
  -> Thanks, Alexandra!

agree  chris collister: "on whom fortune smiles" retains the sourire...
28 mins
  -> Thanks, Chris! Yes, though the register would perhaps not be quite the same in EN (a more 'flowery' level than the FR)

agree  Roberta Beyer: I might say "to whom life has/has not been kind"
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Roberta! I agree, except for the quite specific use of the tenses in FR, whcih one must at least acknowledge.

agree  writeaway: yes-and agree, it's definitely not in the 'difficult' category
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, W/A! Yes, I think it's a common-enough expression

agree  AllegroTrans
7 hrs
  -> Thanks, C!

agree  Verginia Ophof
8 hrs
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
to whom life is/hasn't been kind


Explanation:
***

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Note added at 5 mins (2011-07-20 08:29:56 GMT)
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OOPS, "isn't" not "is"

emiledgar
Belgium
Local time: 17:31
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 125
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Lady Luck not on his side/ very often on his side


Explanation:
*

kashew
France
Local time: 17:31
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 74
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
who is/isn't lucky in life


Explanation:
A less flowery rendering that I personally find more in tune with today's English than "to whom" or "upon whom".

Sheila Wilson
Spain
Local time: 16:31
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 64

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  sporran
3 hrs
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40 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
upon whom life smiles / upon whom life does not smile


Explanation:
"A young wife who is happy, and upon whom life smiles, can scarcely help looking back upon the time when she was a girl with a sense of superiority ..."
www.gutenberg.ca/ebooks/oliphant-sirtom/oliphant-sirtom-00-... - Cached

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Note added at 41 mins (2011-07-20 09:06:10 GMT)
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"It not only affords pleasure for him upon whom life smiles, it has also consolation for him who has sorrow for his portion."
www.kouroo.info/kouroo/transclusions/18/.../June1849_Edward...

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Note added at 7 hrs (2011-07-20 15:27:52 GMT)
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Alternatively: whose life is a bed of roses / whose life is bed of nettles. :)

B D Finch
France
Local time: 17:31
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 136

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Yes indeed, my only concern would be if it sounds too flowery in EN (more so than in FR, I mean) — all a question of register.
3 mins
  -> Thanks Tony. It is a bit more literary in register in English, but that can make it sound arch rather than just flowery.

agree  Martin Cassell: works for me
1 hr
  -> Thanks Martin

agree  Ingeborg Gowans (X)
4 hrs
  -> Thanks Ingeborg
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