Bullying ou le harcèlement scolaire

Over the years, I have found myself faced with the difficulty of having to translate the word “bully” in an educational context.

When I moved to England and was made aware of the extent of the phenomenon through the media, my translator’s mind started ticking … Bullying was also the central theme of my first book “Le pacte des bouffons”. I had to find words to describe a “bully” in French but was never entirely satisfied with the result (“bourreau” still seems a bit too medieval!).
The matter was then made worse and my mind ticked even more…

So I browsed and read and asked many questions…

Though the word “bully” is commonly and often used in English, the French language does not seem to offer a “perfect” equivalent which would convey the same meaning, have the same connotations, or be part of the same register. Also, this subject is often discussed and tackled in countries such as the UK, Australia, the United States, Japan and Canada for example, with campaigns, debates and many books. In France on the other hand, it seems to me that up until recently, the subject was too often avoided or overlooked. This could explain why there is no word commonly used in French to describe a “bully”. Continue reading