Isabelle Eberhardt's book Dans l'Ombre Chaude de l'Islam has a title whose direct English translation would be "In the Warm Shadow of Islam". My guess is that the word "chaude", meaning warm or hot, is included to indicate the warmth that Eberhardt feels towards Islam. In her own words, from her Diaries:

a heart both proud and unswerving in its commitment to Islam, a cause for which I long some day to spill the hot blood that courses through my veins
As a nomad who has no fatherland besides Islam and neither family nor close friends, who is alone, eternally alone in the quiet solitude of her sombre soul

The English translation, however, is simply In the Shadow of Islam, which (by itself) makes Islam sound a lot more ominous than was presumably Eberhardt's intention.

Why was this adjective removed from the title in translation?

  • 2
    Maybe because warm shadow sounds kind of weird in English, whereas ombre chaude sounds perfectly fine in French. See Ngrams.
    – Peter Shor
    Jul 5, 2022 at 17:32
  • Chaude, depending on the context, can be closer to “warm” or “hot”. It's usually positive, like warm(th), but in the context of a hot climate, coolness is also positive — and associated with shade. Ombre can be “shadow” or “shade”, and in this title it sounds more like Islam is providing shade. Is it warm because of the hot climate? Is it hot as in temperament? I don't know what the author of this title intended, but whatever it is, I do agree that “in the shadow of Islam” doesn't seem to match. Note that titles are often not picked by the author: it may be the editor/publisher's choice. Aug 24, 2022 at 19:22
  • @PeterShor I'm not convinced that “warm shadow” or “warm shade” is weirder than “ombre chaude”. It's a bit difficult to tell with “warm shade” because that's pretty well established with the “color nuance” meaning of “shade”, whereas here the meaning is strictly “place with less ambient light” (which is normally associated with cool). Aug 24, 2022 at 19:24


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