Excuse My French

Oui oui, I love the things Frenches. It’s a lovely language sophisticated: more good anyway than the English. Today I would want to show you several of the consequences interestings of playing at TF2 with the mode French. I am fascinated in the way which Valve have translated certains objects and I hope that you want to see the differences between the games French and English.

(Basically, here are some screenshots of my loadouts with cool Frenchie names. Shall we check ’em out?)

Scout loadoutSince many of the weapons in TF2 are named after phrases associated with the characters, their names are often not translated into full French. In this case you can see that “Force A’ Nature” stays pretty much the same: “La Force De La Nature” means exactly that. The stock bat is simply “Batte,” but the one I’ve got here, the Sandman, becomes “Le Marchand De Sable.” Marchand means ‘merchant’ or ‘shopkeeper’… can somebody please explain this to me?

Soldier loadoutHere we can see what happened with weapons from the Love & War update. I’ve noticed that translation takes time: the achievements from this update appear in my browser written in English. Weapons are higher priority. Here you can see the Air Strike sounds like a frothy beverage. The BASE Jumper is pretty much unchanged, which I find odd. I’m pretty sure BASE jumping isn’t called that in France. They call it ‘le suicide’. They didn’t get lazy with “Le Plan D’évasion” though, that’s exactly what “The Escape Plan” means.


Pyro loadout“Flamethrower” becomes “Lance-flammes,” literally a flame launcher. That shouldn’t be surprising but I think it sounds cool. The Manmelter has a name which doesn’t include any form of “Man.” The Lollichop is “La Sussache,” and yes, I have a Strange version. The word ‘sussache’ doesn’t appear to have any direct translation in English and I believe it was actually invented by Valve translators. So uh, good job.

Demoman loadoutWhen it comes to Demoman weapons, little translation capability is required. Even a child should realize what a “Lance-grenades” is (although you shouldn’t tell them what it’s for). “The Ullapool Caber” is “Le Caber d’Ullapool.” Enough said.


Heavy loadoutI don’t show the stock minigun here because in French it just stays as “Minigun.” Why? The French don’t have their own word for this weapon. They don’t need miniguns when they have baguette-powered frog launchers. Anyway, I instead use “Le Rideau De Fer,” or “The Iron Curtain” from Poker Night at the Inventory. They could easily have changed “Sandvich” to “Le Sanwich,” but they kept in that V because it’s Heavy we’re talking about. More straightforward stuff.


Engineer loadoutIn France, a shotgun is a “Fusil à pompe,” which literally means “pump rifle.” This applies to all shotgun models, even if they’re not necessarily pump-action. There’s that Lugermorph, another promotional weapon from PNATI. The rest is fairly easy to work out.


Medic loadoutThis is where things get interesting, because L’arbalete du croisé actually means “The Crusader’s Crossbow.” Be careful though, because if you forget that accent at the end, it becomes “The Crossbow of Crosses” and Medic doesn’t strike me as a religious chap. Medigun stays the same. All the saws have cool names, this one is obviously the Amputator. Not to be confused with the stock saw, which translates to “Scie à amputation.”

Sniper loadout

Jarate” is definitely an original word in TF2, but they still gave it a French translation. It’s now Jaraté with an accent. They could have just left this thing to mellow, but no, somebody took the time to Frenchen it up. As for the guns and knives, they are re-named accordingly. The Kukri is left alone, as that’s a native Australian name. “La Pétoire Du Bazar” is interesting because it means “The Blaster of the Bazaar.” That’s ‘blaster’ in the sense of an explosives expert. Must be one heck of a bargain indeed.

Spy loadoutFinally we come to my second favourite example, the loadout of L’Espion. My knife of choice is “La Spy-lactite,” which is just awesome. In French, an icicle is simply a stalactite of ice. This name still uses the same humour as “The Spy-cicle” and works in both languages. Notice how “La Cloak and Dagger” and “Le Diamondback” are not translated. These are named after English idioms, or common figured of speech, so they don’t change. Same reason why “L’étranger” stays as “L’étranger” in the English version: that’s a famous French idiom.

Second favourite loadout? Yeah, I guess my secret’s out. I’m officially a Demopan fanatic, and here’s what my loadout screen looks like.

Demopan loadout

I used to have the game audio in French as well, but not any more. Most of the characters just sound like generic French guys and don’t say anything particularly clever. The Announcer sounds most generic of all; any youngish lady from Paris could sit down and voice her. Then I played with English audio and discovered the huge array of amazing, awesome and hilarious voice lines you lot were so familiar with.

Why am I sharing all this with you? Well, here’s the main reason. I know I sometimes get things wrong when I speak on the PhlogistiCast, and here’s why. I don’t know all the English names of weapons, cosmetics and such. So if I say a name wrong, translate something incorrectly, please tell me politely and don’t spam me with hate mail. I can admit to my mistakes, but I don’t appreciate people who just insult me and leave. Please excuse my French.

2 thoughts on “Excuse My French

  • November 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I’d just like to say a few things:
    – “Marchand de Sable” is simply the French equivalent of “Sandman”
    – “Sussache” is a portmanteau word, with “sucette” (“lollipop”) and “hache” (“axe”)
    – The term “Pétoire” describes more an old or ineffective gun more than a “blaster” (just to nitpick), even if it comes indeed from the verb “péter” which means “to burst”.
    Finally, I strongly disagree with the opinion about the French voices; they’re maybe not as good as the original ones, but the quality is there.
    Anyway, great article.


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