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What about units in instructions manuals for (French) Canada?
Thread poster: ALAIN COTE
ALAIN COTE  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
Japanese to French
Jul 31, 2002

One of my clients asked me the following question :



-> In our instructions manuals for French Canada, do we really have to use both systems of units?

For example, in the specifications :

Poids de l\'appareil : xxx kg (xxx lb)

Hauteur : xxx cm (xxx po)

... and so on.



The client asked me my opinion as a French Canadian translator. Personnaly, I think we should keep using both units in manuals, but before to give him my answer, I would like to read your opinions or comments...



Alain


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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 14:55
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
in 1980 Canada adopted the metric system... Jul 31, 2002

See:

Metric system

In 1980 Québec (and all of Canada) traded in pounds and inches for the metric system. You\'ll notice the road signs are all in kilometres-just multiply by .6 to get the equivalent in miles. Gas is sold by the litre. There are 4.5 litres in one Canadian gallon and 3.8 litres in one American gallon.

http://www.bonjourquebec.com/anglais/inf_utiles_a/pratiqueqc_a.html



In everyday life, people are more likely to ask and buy things by the pound. In the supermarket where I shop (in Québéc) prices for tomatoes, say, are listed both in pounds and in kilos.



I would tend to leave both measurements in.

There is also an institution called Measurement Canada who oversees issues related to the implementation of the metric system.

See:

Welcome to Measurement Canada

Measurement Canada was created from two closely related sub-activities, Electricity and Gas (E&G) and Weights and Measures (W&M). Both sub-activities have a long history of service within the federal government. The first Gas Inspection Act was established shortly after Confederation and was followed by the Electric Light Inspection Act and later, in 1982, by the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act. Weights and Measures has been in existence since Confederation, with the first Weights and Measures Act receiving assent in 1871. All industrialized countries have a government organization responsible for legal metrology (legal trade measurement), demonstrating the importance that societies place on the accuracy and integrity of measurement to a nation\'s economic health and prosperity.



http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/inmc-mc.nsf/vwGeneratedInterE/h_lm02100e.html



You could always drop them a line.



ciao



paola l m







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Leonardo Parachú  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
I´m really too far to comment on this particular case... Jul 31, 2002

.. since I´m living in Argentina, where the metric system is all we know. However, on a general bases I always try to keep my translations as clear and as universal as possible. That would mean that I, just like you, would keep both measure systems in my translation.



\"Más vale que so-sobre y no que fa-falte\", we would say in Spanish...



Kind regrds,



Leonardo.



_________________



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-31 02:41 ]


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xxxPaulaMac
French to English
+ ...
Guide du rédacteur / Canadian Style Manual Jul 31, 2002

If you have the latest version of Termium (CD-ROM or on-line) check the Guide du rédacteur / Canadian Style Manual that is included.

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cheungmo
English to French
+ ...
It depends... Jul 31, 2002

It always does doesn\'t it?



There\'s no single rule that works 100% of the time.



Canada began metrification in 1970 (I remember when it started) and the Imperial system was officially dropped for just about everything in 1980. There are, however, exceptions.



First of all, if the main audience for your translation is aged (like more than 65), then you\'d be doing them a favour to include the Imperial equivalents. Especially if you\'re talking about usual day-to-day units people can measure by estimation (like room or outdoor temperatures, short distances and lengths, people\'s height and weight, liquid volumes).



For recipes, I\'d stick with \"Imperial\" measurements where they\'re appropriate. I\'ve never understood why some recipes insist on using 15 ml when what they mean is a teaspoon. How many ml in a pinch anyway? What do you do, for instance, when someone 30-year-old stove only has Farenheit degrees? I especially reccomend using Imperial when the items concerned are in fakey-fakey metric measurements like 454 grams of butter when the real size is a pound.



For the construction business, you\'ll find that you have no choice but to use Imperial measurements: everything in the construction business in Canada is Imperial (2x4\'s, 4x8 sheets of plywood or gypsum board, nail and screw sizes, etc.). The only exceptions are liquid measurements like 50 litre cans of roofing tar and the like, and that varies depending on the supplier. Even the gas cylinders for the oxy-acetelyne torches used in construction are usually in Imperial/US sizes.



Also, for certain other fields, you\'ll find there\'s just about no choice. For instance, the sizes of stents: in the medical biz throughout North America, English or French, all stents and catheters are measured in french (the units not the language) and french (the ones used in North America - there are three different \"french\" sizes) are not metric.



Additionally, if specifications are in Imperial or US, then you\'d be wrong to convert to metric (exclusively). Here\'s why: a 12.5 millimeter stainless steel machine screw is not the same as a half-inch one. Don\'t let anyone tell you otherwise: aspects such as thread angles and screw pitch are specific to certain sizes. Even metric-sized screws are not standardised: a 1.4 mm screw from different manufacturers (its one of the standard sizes used in 35mm cameras) have different specs. And, breaking a 1.2 millimeter screw in a $200 shutter module because the screw was not the correct size or specs needed means the entire shutter module is scrapped: I don\'t care how good a technician you are, you just can\'t drill a 1.2 mm screw, reverse-tap it and remove the broken shaft. Its just too thin to pull it off.



And who do you sue when you scrap a $100,000 prototype because you followed a translated and converted instruction booklet and used a 12.5 mm screw instead of the half-inch specified in the original language?



So, the very general rule is go with metric except for the exceptions and special considerations.



Just like when you\'re translating the words: context and audience matter for a lot.



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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
I keep both also... Jul 31, 2002

Salut Alain!



I keep both also. I was raised on the old system, and the new one came when I was in my early teen years.



Given this, my thoughts are that there is still a good portion of the population (read: users) that are either around my age or older, and we tend to use/feel more comfortable with the first system we learned (I know that I do), even when we understand both.



My 2 cents this very early morning...



Gotta get some work done, take care Alain!



Nathalie


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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 14:55
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Another two cents... Jul 31, 2002

I went and talked with one of our senior EN-FR translator who agrees that the target audience is the discriminating factor here.

Age, level of technicality, etc play a role. ALso keep in mind that if the text if likely to also be read by our neighbours to the Souths, it would be best to leave both units of measurement.

ciao

paola l m



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ALAIN COTE  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:55
Japanese to French
TOPIC STARTER
Merci à tous!!! Aug 1, 2002

Merci à tous pour ces précieuses informations et opinions!!!



Alain


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