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Translation of confus

WinstonC1Kwiziq community member

Translation of confus

Les paroles du médecin sont très confuses. Il parle confusément.

This sentence is best translated as "The words from the doctor are very confusing. He speaks confusingly".

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Just to add to this excellent discussion, the adjective  'confus/e' and the adverb 'confusément' are faux-amis.

They are rarely translated by 'confused' and 'confusedly'.

Confus means, vague, unclear, even embarrassed.

If someone says to you -

Je suis confus !

it will mean they are  embarrassed and never confused/ in a state of confusion.

The verb 'confuser' does not  exist in French, there is a verb 'confondre' which means to mix up two things together normally.

This lesson is about adverbs so I will concentrate on the English translation which, in my opinion, is wrong.

I would say that here the meaning of 'confus' is 'unclear' and 'parler confusément' is to speak unintelligibly.

I have spoken with my colleagues and we are changing some of the content to reflect what was said previously.

Bonne Continuation!

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Wondering why you say that's the best translation ? Having checked a number of references, the translation seems fine using confused and confusedly.  

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, both are possible. They do mean something different, though. You discover the difference best, if you substitute "I" for "the doctor's words": I am confused vs. I am confusing. The first one is a statement about how I am to myself. The second one is about my effect on others. Similarly, "I am bored" -- "I am boring", and so on.

Therefore, if you want to express how the doctor's words made you feel, you need to use the -ing version. It depends on context, what the best choice is.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

It depends on what the French sentences mean, surely?

I think Maarten is correct, it has to be translated like that. Probably Winston thought that it was more plausible that the listener was the one confused, while the doctor was just using complicated medical jargon. But that doesn't seem to be what the French sentences mean.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

@Alan: of course it depends on what the French sentence wants to say. That's  why I wrote that it depends on context. To me, there is not enough context, given only this one sentence, to decide whether the words are jumbled (=confused) or whether they make me feel confused (=confusing).

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

There is no verb 'confuser' in French. Confus means confused, confusément means confusedly. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

@Maarten: thanks for that clarification. I was operating under the impression that there was actually a verb confuser  which means "to confuse", and that it would work like with other French verbs such as intéressé (=interested) and intéressant (interested). Apparently, French uses two verbs to express the two different meanings when it comes to confusion.

confus -- confused,
déroutant -- confusing.

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, Chris, I was a bit surprised when I looked for the non-existent «confuser». Just to clarify though - «confus» is not a verb, it is an adjective, which is the reason the example above means confused (or muddled) words. Déroutant is also an adjective.  «Dérouter» - the verb can be used for 'to perplex, throw off course, confuse'. «Embrouiller» can also be used similarly. The pronominal «s'embrouiller» - 'to become confused (muddled)'.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, once I followed up on this, I realized this. Thanks!

Translation of confus

Les paroles du médecin sont très confuses. Il parle confusément.

This sentence is best translated as "The words from the doctor are very confusing. He speaks confusingly".

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