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Too French for translation…

#11 Relancer

Whether it is an email, a phone call or a letter, we have all received many a relance in our time. The french word relancer describes the action of getting back in touch with someone, usually to follow up on an unanswered correspondence.  A verb of several meanings in French, this particular usage is first attested as being coined in 1947, in the context of messages sent to those who were behind on their tax payments.

The English language possesses various approximate equivalents of this verb, falling between the gentle connotations of ‘to remind’ and the more harsh undertones of ‘to chase up’. The first suggestion does translate the idea of getting back in contact with someone, but no reference is made to an attempt to elicit a direct response from this individual, whilst ‘to chase up’ conjures up a too aggressive an image.

In politics, this term can be found in the phrase politique de relance, which specifically refers to actions taken to replenish the economy in the event of a recession. Ranging from monetary policies to job subsidy plans, from tax breaks to public investments, this term incorporates the revitalising goals of the verb relancer. Similar to a conversation or contact in need of resuscitation, these policies aim to rejuvenate a society in stagnation.