Putting an accent on capital letters in French...yes or no?
Thread poster: Paoamsterdam

Paoamsterdam
Italy
Local time: 00:43
English to Italian
+ ...
Apr 8

Hi All,

I've just started revising some French documents and, as far as I knew, capital letters as well need to have the accent, but It seems different opinions exist about this so I would like to know from native speakers if my direction is correct, do you use accents on capital letters in documents as well as user interfaces?

Please let me know asap.

Thank you

Best Regards.

Paola


Direct link Reply with quote
 

yinnyann  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:43
Spanish to French
+ ...
Always Apr 9

Some people used to say that capitalized words doesn't necessarily need the accent, but they do.

Maybe that "freedom" comes from the old layout machines limitations and some graphic design anesthetic rules...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jean Dimitriadis
France
Local time: 00:43
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
Always an accent Apr 9

Unless instructed otherwise (style guide, translation brief), I always use accented capital letters, except in acronyms (not abbreviations, which may take accents).

The lack of accents may produce ambiguities.

For example the French title "L’INTERNE RUSE" could have four different interpretations...

This is also recommended by the French Academy (http://www.academie-francaise.fr/questions-de-langue#5_strong-em-accentuation-des-majuscules-em-strong) and the Quebec Board of the French Language (http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=1438).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:43
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Always Apr 9

Totally agree with yinnyann and Jean Dimitriadis.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne Gaujard-Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:43
Member (2016)
English to French
Yes! Apr 9

Unless your client specifies that they do not want accents on capital letters for whatever reason, I would advise you to always use them. It can sometimes avoid ambiguities regarding the meaning of the word, for example modèle/modelé, etc.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:43
Member (2008)
French to English
Always in words and sentences, not in initials or acronyms Apr 9

According to OQLF, capitals should have diacritics except for initials or acronyms:

http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=1438

An example is given on that page of:

UN HOMME TUE
UN HOMME TUÉ

!!

[Edited at 2018-04-09 12:32 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:43
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
I'm not French Apr 9

But I have two French friends who are translators and they were always disgusted to see texts I'd received for translation in which capitals didn't have accents (of which there were, nonetheless, many).

Direct link Reply with quote
 

yinnyann  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:43
Spanish to French
+ ...
Historical technical limitations Apr 10

Excuse my French.

Extrait de Wikipédia https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_des_majuscules_en_français :

Historique :

La pratique de l'accentuation a connu une évolution dans la langue française. Elle existe à la fin du Moyen Âge et se normalise tardivement. Dès les débuts de l'imprimerie, les imprimeurs s'efforcent de graver et reproduire les signes diacritiques tels qu'ils apparaissent dans les manuscrits. La bible de Gutenberg les reproduit déjà et la question est réglée dès les années 1470 pour les alphabets plus compliqués comme l'alphabet grec.

La pratique tendant à ne pas indiquer les accents sur les majuscules et les capitales trouve sa source dans l'utilisation de caractères de plomb à taille fixe en imprimerie. La hauteur d'une capitale accentuée étant supérieure, la solution était alors soit de graver des caractères spéciaux pour les capitales accentuées en diminuant la hauteur de la lettre, soit de mettre l'accent après la lettre, soit simplement de ne pas mettre l'accent.

Les machines à composer étant d'origine anglo-saxonne (Monotype, Linotype), il n'était pas prévu de mettre des accents sur les capitales. En revanche, en composition manuelle, il existait des capitales accentuées avec un accent en crénage débordant du corps du caractère. Il existait aussi – dans les gros corps – des « accents postiches » qui pouvaient être placés, dans l'interligne, au-dessus des capitales.


Et je rajoute que cette tradition s'est prolongée avec l'arrivée des ordinateurs personnels et de leurs claviers totalement inadaptés, surtout en France... Cependant, aujourd'hui les contraintes techniques ont disparues.

Mais voilà, de nombreux élèves ont appris à l'école que les majuscules et les capitales ne s'accentuaient pas... Il est vrai que les accents ne sont pas toujours très esthétiques sur une majuscule calligraphiée ou qu'un accent peu « ruiner » l'esthétique d'une mise en page soignée, mais cela reste néanmoins une faute.

Bref, il faut TOUJOURS mettre un accent ! Même si les habitudes et les souvenirs de plusieurs générations font la vie dure à cette règle pourtant simple.


[Edited at 2018-04-10 15:07 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

yinnyann  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:43
Spanish to French
+ ...
Accentuation des sigles et acronymes Apr 10

https://www.druide.com/fr/enquetes/faut-il-accentuer-les-majuscules-et-les-capitales

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:43
French to Spanish
+ ...
Always... Apr 10

...as said by others.
À la maison.
Écris quelque chose !
And... same in Spanish.
África.
Óscar.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Putting an accent on capital letters in French...yes or no?

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search