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jeudi 18 février 2010

Review of Too Big to Fail (part I) (English)

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jacquie Bridonneau, que je remercie.

I have just finished reading “Too Big To Fail - Inside the battle to save Wall Street” by the journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and outside of the almost minute to minute account of this enormous financial crisis that almost brought the whole world to a dead halt, and how it was dealt with and by whom, one of the things that really struck me from a translator’s point of view, was the number of very vivid phrasal verbs used throughout this book.

For those of you who don’t know the book, it is published by Allen Lane and sells for $14.99 in the UK. I purchased it on Amazon UK on sale for £6.32, which is probably about 9 euros or so, a bargain for a book of almost 600 pages!

This book, quoting the back cover, “is not just a look at banks that were ‘too big to fail’, it is a real-life thriller about a cast of bold-faced names who themselves through they were ‘too big to fail.’ It is “the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego, greed and, ultimately, the fate of the world’s economy.”

Phrasal verbs help make the English language so vivid and lively, and at the same time, cause loads of difficulties for non-native speakers. I’d like to look at a few phrasal verbs that struck me, either because they just hit the spot, or because they were business type phrasal verbs that I personally had not thought of using, and suggest other ways of saying the same thing, as well as a translation into French, to be completed by René Meertens.

Phrasal verb: To shore up

Example from book: “His announcement on Treasury steps had done little to shore up confidence.”

In other words: to make something stronger, more robust, support, increase

Translation into French: augmenter, renforcer

Phrasal verb: To spin off

Example from book: “...a ‘good bank’ that they’d keep, and a ‘bad bank’ that they’d spin off, thereby ridding themselves, at least on paper, of their worst real estate assets.

In other words: to sell, but to sell quickly

Translation into French: vendre rapidement

Phrasal verb: To be on the verge of tanking

Example from book: “Far from stabilizing them, as he thought they would, the markets seemed to be on the verge of tanking again.”

In other words: ready to fail

Translation into French: s’effondrer

Phrasal verb: To pony up

Example from book: “As a result, every time the underlying asset, the mortgages, lost value – which has happened every day of the previous week – they needed to pony up more promissory notes.”

In other words: pay, come up with

Translation into French: payer

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