Re: Canadian French Translation

Subject: Re: Canadian French Translation
From: "H.Durstling" <sinico -at- NBNET -dot- NB -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 16:18:40 -0300

>Perhaps one of our Canadian colleagues can help me out here.
>My company wants to translate some docs for our customers in Quebec. Would
>having them translated into European French be OK or would localization into
>Canadian French be more appropriate? The docs are system administrator-type
>guides and user manuals for financial tracking software. We eventually plan
>on marketing in France, so I was hoping one translation could serve both
>Robert Frick
>Sr. Information Architect
>Paylinx Corporation
>(314) 692-0929 ext. 7194
>rfrick -at- paylinx -dot- com


Hi Robert -

A tricky issue indeed, involving lingusitic sensibilities, pride, and a
somewhat prickly province. In France the stop signs say "stop", but in
Quebec, arrete. It's a kind of linguistic political correctness, a mix of
defensiveness and also deference. For when I came back from France quite a
few years ago to work in Montreal, more than one person said of my
(european) French, "oh, quel bel accent." So these things still count, as
they used to, also, in English Canada when we were still intimidated and
impressed by the sound of Oxford English which we took as a sign of culture
and sophistication. Now we're more inclined to simply think "snot". But if
you can take the anecdotal evidence of the "oh quel bel accent" comments as
indicative, it suggests that you'll likely have smooth sailing with just
good correct european French. But do keep that under your hat. Don't ever
let on you made a conscious decision _not_ to bother with localizing.
That's when the sensibilities get really jangled. However if you do decide
to localize it should be a fairly minor operation; not that many terms are
different and I would think almost none imcomprehensibly so. In short,
localize as a courtesy, not as a necessity.

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada

Freelance writing. Feature stories, technical ad copy, clear manuals, bid
documents, simple english, videos, speeches. Email for publication and
client list.

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