Re: Canadian French Translation

Subject: Re: Canadian French Translation
From: Erin Kampf <ErinK -at- ORIENTALMOTOR -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 09:30:51 -0700

Robert et al:

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Josee's statements:

"You know, that kind of discussion would not take place if we were talking
about US American vs British English. Any foreign company would seriously
think twice before sending a manual written in British English to US
customers. You could always do it, but you would be seen as "foreign" and
not in tune with the market you claim to be a part of with your products.
Why not have the same kind of consideration for Quebecers when it comes to

As much as it would be nice to translate into both "Quebecois" and "French",
it is not the same as translating into US and UK English. Don't forget that
the US market is huge and often includes Canada. The UK market is also large
and generally can include Australia, New Zealand, and often Canada. Unless
for some reason a particularly large percent of your market is in France or
Quebec, it may be far too expensive to translate into both.

My last employer translated/localized from English into four other
languages: French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. Since these languages are
used around the world and are at least somewhat different in every region,
we based our translation on our largest market. This meant France French,
German German, Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish (French was our
smallest market BTW). And, our English was US English as this was our
largest English market. However, we also used these translations for markets
in Quebec, Switzerland, Portugal, Argentina, the UK, etc. It might not have
been the perfect solution, but it was a compromise that we could justify
given our budget. I would think that the Quebecois are far more accustomed
to seeing French translated for the French market than vice versa. Having
recently moved from Canada to the US, I've noticed that sometimes British
spellings are seen as errors or typos. I don't know if you would find that
in the UK about US spellings because my guess is that the UK market sees
more US English than vice versa.

If you want to try for both Quebec and France, if you can, I would suggest,
as others have, translating for France first, and then modifying it for
Quebec. When I worked with translations I found that the most important
issues between regions were technical terms. A "window" might not be a
"window" somewhere else. So if you have a French translation, have someone
familiar with your product (or the general field) modify it for Quebec.

In conclusion, I would say consider your market and your budget and
determine which weighs heavier. I think that Rahel's posting was very useful
in helping to determine what your focus should be.

Erin Kampf
Technical Publications Coordinator
Oriental Motor U.S.A. Corporation
Tel: (310) 784-8211

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