How Do You Translate “en Amont”?

RiverIf you look up “en amont” in the dictionary, you’ll find that it literally translates as “upstream” in English. Chances are that’s not the translation you’re looking for, unless the subject is marketing, hydropower, or trout fishing.

That said, the term “upstream” can help you get a handle on this tricky French term. Imagine a river flowing from a mountain into a valley. “En amont” means toward the mountain, or backward, and “en aval” means toward the valley so, forward. For instance, the expression “aller en amont” can be translated into English as “to take a step back.”

You can also apply this same logic to time. In temporal contexts, “en amont” can mean “ahead of,” “beforehand,” “prior to,” or “in advance.” For instance, “en amont de toute procédure judiciare” translates as “prior to any legal proceedings,” while “travail en amont” becomes “prep work,” “preliminary work,” “up-front work” or, yes, even “upstream work,” depending on how much jargon you want to pepper your text with.

What’s your solution to this tricky French term?

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