Accents on capital letters

15:04 Jun 16, 2016
This question was closed without grading. Reason: Other

French to French translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics / The use of accents on capital letters in French
French term or phrase: Accents on capital letters
I would be interested to hear what other translators think about this.

Is it now perfectly acceptable in French documents to remove accents from capital letters where one would in the past have expected to see these? Does it depend on how 'formal' one wishes the document to appear? Does it change the tone of the document or "dumb it down" in any way?

I believe that the Académie Française would prefer to see the accents on capital letters, but increasingly the documents I am asked to translate do not use accents, or they are a mixture of styles.

Grateful for your thoughts.
Elizabeth Ballance
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:22

Summary of answers provided
5 +1to my mind...

Discussion entries: 6



1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
to my mind...

In the past, as typists we couldn't write accents on capital letters because it wasn't possible with a simple typewriter: the french keyboard didn't allow it; it was possible to write "é" but not "É".

Now, with computers it's possible (but not easy) and it's recommended to write the accents ont capital letters, but people don't learn typing and many people write again "MON PERE" instead of "MON PÈRE". But write without accents the french language isn't without risks. For example:

- "DU BEURRE SALE" instead of "DU BEURRE SALÉ" (breton butter producers will be happy!...);

- "L’AUGMENTATION DES RETRAITES" instead of "L’AUGMENTATION DES RETRAITÉS" (it's inversely proportional);

- "FEMME CHERCHE HOMME MEME AGE" instead of "FEMME CHERCHE HOMME MÊME ÂGÉ" (regarding women over 65 years old, it's the same thing, but in the other cases it's a case of false advertising...).

That's why I think that accent must be on capital letters.

Best regards,


Local time: 11:22
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: An interesting discussion. Many thanks for your thoughts.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jean-Claude Gouin: Dans les années 1970s, j'enseignais la dactylographie; on pouvait et on devait utiliser des accents ... È, Ê, Ë, Ö, Î, Ï, Ü, Ú, Û, Ù, Ñ, Ç ...
6 hrs
  -> En France, on apprenait la dactylographie dans les années 80 sans les majuscules accentuées sur des claviers AZERTY.
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