Publication details [#850]

Adam, Julie. 1998. The four-letter word, ou comment traduire les mots fuck et fucking dans un texte littéraire? [The four-letter word or how to translate the words fuck and fucking in a literary text] Meta 43 (2) : 236–241.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Person as a subject
Title as subject


John McKenna’s short story A Summer Girl raises the problem of how to translate the words 'fuck' and 'fucking', occurring 34 times in a text of about 9,800 words. In order to convey the emotional and aesthetic power of these two words, emblematic of the narrator’s feelings of love and hatred, the author looked at oral expressions in Quebec French. Since the main goal is to reproduce the same effect as the original text, she examined the various meanings of the words 'fuck' and 'fucking' according to their contexts. Four main nuances emerge from the analysis: literal meaning, insult, anger, contempt or bitterness, and emphasis.
Source : Based on abstract in journal