Analytic philosophers often find English language continental philosophy most risible precisely when English language continental philosophers mistranslate the French definite article. For example, while French syntax allows the word "événement" to be preceded by an indefinite article ("un événement") or the definite article ("l'événement"), "the event" grossly mistranslates the latter. In English (at least outside of continental philosophy circles) "the event" always refers to some unique event. If someone talks about the event in English, it is always felicitous to ask them which event they mean to pick out. This is not the case in French, where the definite article can pick out the concept/meaning/property corresponding to the compound nominal to which it attaches.
I don't know where this business of widespread mistranslation the French definite article started, but is arguably reached its apex with discussion of "the other" with respect to Sartre and Levinas' important discussions. Bad translation reifies "otherness" into some hypostatic divinity, "The Other," about which it is much easier to be pretentious (although, listen to the song at right).
I'm not enough of an expert to know if the same thing has happened with respect to the late period Heidegger term "ereignis," which is now often referred to as "the event of becoming." This is such a strange rendering of the German (Paly and Emal give "enowning," and Dreyfus "things coming into themselves by belonging together") , that I suspect that this is only been possible via a weird detour through a good translation of the German into French, and then picking up the American continental philosophy norms for translating the French determinate article. But perhaps the danger is more stark here than with "the other." The event of becoming sounds so much like some primal act of creation by Being that talking this way makes it almost impossible not to lapse into what proper Heideggerians refer to as "onto-theology."*
Nonetheless, the advantage of talking this way with respect to late Heidegger is that it suggests a connection between Badiou's discussion of the property of being an event and Heidegger's discussion of enowning. In the next post I will try to explain what I take this connection to be. Briefly, I think that late Heidegger's notion can be seen as a kind of parabolic limit of Badiou's. This not only shows that there should be much more crossover between American (and French) Heideggerians and Badiouians, I think that seeing this will make it much clearer to analytic philosophers why both philosophers' work is interesting and worth taking seriously. For these reasons, in the sequel I'll henceforth use the barbaric non-American Americanism "the event."
[*Pace Simon Blackburn: (1) onto-theology is not a difficult concept, and (2) Heidegger's critique of it should be part of every philosopher's tool-kit.]