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Asking for the moon.. French into Canadian French
Thread poster: Hepburn

Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:46
English to French
+ ...
Jun 17, 2005

I have been landed with a job from English into Canadian French. As it is fairly lengthy, I feel I need some help to get a general picture of the differences in terms between France and Quebec. Is there such a thing? Or do I have to check each word on a dictionary?

Ideally , I would like to be able to put my French text through some software or magic invention which would higlight all the words which are not Canadian French in my text. (It could also replace them, but I am asking for the moon..)

Can anyone help and advise?


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Ask a French-Canadian native speaker to proofread the text Jun 17, 2005

Claudette Hepburn wrote:

I have been landed with a job from English into Canadian French. As it is fairly lengthy, I feel I need some help to get a general picture of the differences in terms between France and Quebec. Is there such a thing? Or do I have to check each word on a dictionary?

Ideally , I would like to be able to put my French text through some software or magic invention which would higlight all the words which are not Canadian French in my text. (It could also replace them, but I am asking for the moon..)

Can anyone help and advise?


This seems to be the software or magic invention that you need.


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:46
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Checking Canadian French Jun 17, 2005

Linda wrote:


This seems to be the software or magic invention that you need.



Neither software nor magical, but very sensible, particularly as I could work out an exchange of services in the long term.
Thanks.


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xxx00000000
English to French
+ ...
Why discuss this in English? Jun 17, 2005

The differences between Québec French and European French are minimal if it's a chemistry textbook but insurmountable in anything involving pop culture. You don't mention the field, so it's hard to tell.

I routinely turn down jobs for which I don't feel qualified. Perhaps you might consider doing the same.

Best,
Esther


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:46
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Anglo-French translation, that's why... Jun 17, 2005

Esther Pfeffer wrote:

The differences between Québec French and European French are minimal if it's a chemistry textbook but insurmountable in anything involving pop culture. You don't mention the field, so it's hard to tell.

I routinely turn down jobs for which I don't feel qualified. Perhaps you might consider doing the same.


I am not an 18 yr old and am well aware of the difference the field makes. But what do you do when you find an e-mail in France at 7am, sent while you were asleep and can only ask about the field when THEY are in the middle of the night? All I can do is make enquiries in the meantime, so that when and if the job is on, which I won't know for several hours, I have at least done something about the Canadian French problem.

I do work regularly for Canadian agencies, but have never done so for a LONG project hence my worry and my request to the agency for more info on the field.

I was asking for help not for negative advice which might be summed up as: "Enfoncer des portes ouvertes" and leads neither here nor there.

[Edited at 2005-06-17 08:03]


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 17:46
French to English
Partnering up with a native speaker of Canadian French sounds like your best bet Jun 17, 2005

First of all, this is a bit off topic but what is the point of this posting?

Esther Pfeffer wrote:

The differences between Québec French and European French are minimal if it's a chemistry textbook but insurmountable in anything involving pop culture. You don't mention the field, so it's hard to tell.

I routinely turn down jobs for which I don't feel qualified. Perhaps you might consider doing the same.

Best,
Esther


Claudette, I am *always* being asked to translate from French to "British" English (I am American). Most of the time the customers don't even know why they want "British" or if that is even what they really need. (But that is a whole other issue).

I generally try to be as "neutral" in my English as possible unless the client specifically asks for something that sounds really American. In cases where the customer insists on British English (and at the same time insists that I be the one to do the job...strange but happens all the time) I try to have the work proofread by a British colleague (paid, of course).

I don't think you need to turn down the job, necesarily. Just make sure that you take into account the option of paying a proofreader when making your quote.

HTH

Sara


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jun 17, 2005



[Edited at 2005-08-05 23:50]


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:46
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
Accept the job and find a good proofreader Jun 17, 2005

Claudette,
I think you can be frank with them; tell them that you have translated into Canadian French before, but because this is a relatively large project and you want to ensure the highest possible quality, you would recommend that the text be proofread by a native Canadian French speaker.

I second what Sara said below:
Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:
I don't think you need to turn down the job, necesarily. Just make sure that you take into account the option of paying a proofreader when making your quote.


If they choose the proofreader, request that he/she be a native speaker of Canadian French. Alternatively -and if you do this type of project regularly- you can find one yourself for collaborating now or in the long term, and tell the agency that your services and your price include proofreading which will be done by a colleague that you have selected and trust.

Maria


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Andrea Appel
Canada
Local time: 11:46
English to German
+ ...
there is a link Jun 17, 2005

http://www.bowneglobal.com/english/ask_our_experts.htm?src=BGSfeature

The spoken and written language in these countries varies in fascinating ways due to influences of geography and culture. For example, Québécois French (also called Canadian French) developed around the cities of Quebec and Montreal, creating a French-speaking island in an English-speaking land.

Q: I have heard that Québécois French is a variant of European French. How different is it really?

A: These two variants stem from the same origin. Québécois French (Canadian French) is the language of the French-speaking community in Canada. The area historically known as Nouvelle-France, around the cities of Quebec and Montreal, was originally founded by French settlers in the early 17th century and remained part of the French kingdom until the mid-18th century. French as a language has not changed much since that period; its spelling, grammar and vocabulary are basically the same. This means that the core of the language is identical.
Since then, however, Canadian and European oral French have evolved separately. It is especially notable with vocabulary pertaining to modern objects or concepts. For a number of terms, European French speakers tend to borrow English words without altering them. For instance, "a parking lot" translates as "un parking" in France. Quebec, being geographically encapsulated in English-speaking territory, has developed its own reaction to English. New terms are either coined from existing French words, or are derived from English words using French morphology. Therefore, in French-speaking Canada, a parking lot is "un stationnement." The French Canadian translation for "car" is a good illustration of this phenomenon. The formal equivalent is "voiture" for both Canadian and European French, but the casual name in Canada is "char" (used only in oral communications), which sounds closer to the English word, but would be understood as "oxcart" or "Roman chariot" for a European French speaker.
There are also some differences in terminology for specific technical domains. Additionally, variations exist in general typesetting rules, such as punctuation or the use of accents on uppercase characters.

Q: How does this impact my approach to reaching French-speaking customers in Europe and Canada? Can I use one localized version of my content for both markets?

A: This will depend on the industry and content. Canadian French speakers are used to reading literature or technical documentation in European French and feel comfortable with it; actually, a significant part of Canadian French local literature uses standard French. This means that you can sometimes localize your product into European French and use the same localized version for Canada. In industries such as IT, life sciences, and other technical fields, however, you will need to plan for terminological adaptation in addition to the initial localization effort. Keep in mind that sometimes communication style is just as important as content. When you need to localize marketing literature, advertising, or Web sites, it is advisable to organize separate translations. Accent in spoken language can also be an issue; a French Canadian voice may sound "unusual" and foreign to a European ear. If you have audio content, consider recording it with two different voices.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
Ditto! Jun 17, 2005

Maria Karra wrote:

Accept the job and find a good proofreader

Of Canadian French, of course.
The client will likely be completely satisfied.

I have lived both in Quebec and in France, and I know the differences are not unsurmountable (if the person doing the job is a professional translator, and if a French-Canadian translator proofreads the final text). What I have come across, though, is a few French-Canadian translators who feel that if any non-French Canadian translator takes a job into Canadian French, it is almost like stealing a job from their hands.

I hope my comment is not going to be perceived as unconstructive or offensive, since it is not my intention to offend anyone. I just wanted to point out something that I have witnessed in the French language field which, for instance, does not happen in the Spanish language field.


[Edited at 2005-06-17 13:37]


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 17:46
French to English
Interesting observation... Jun 17, 2005

Rosa Maria Duenas Rios wrote:

What I have come across, though, is a few French-Canadian translators who feel that if any non-French Canadian translator takes a job into Canadian French, it is almost like stealing a job from their hands.




[Edited at 2005-06-17 13:37]


We are getting a little off-topic perhaps...but in my language pair (French to English) it's funny...the occasional British proofreader will condescendingly point out the "quaintness" of certain American expressions or constructions, but I've never had the impression that British translators would be annoyed by my doing a translation into "British" English...

Given the history of language use and policy in Quebec, though, it is understandable that native French-Canadian translators would feel a bit proprietary with regard to their language...

This could be a good topic for another thread!

Sara


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 08:46
English to French
+ ...
Probably your best bet Jun 17, 2005

Claudette Hepburn wrote:
I could work out an exchange of services in the long term.


In my experience -I interpreted more than once for mixed audiences of Quebec and France natives- the differences are not that significant that you would need a proofreader. You may want to start a partnership with a Canadian translator who translates for European audiences on occasion, and you could answer each other's questions until you know what the main differences are.

Luck,

Sarah


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