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Canadian French translators

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
1 of 33

Could you please tell me why Canadians tend to request Canadian French translations? What on earth is that? It makes me want to laugh because I can just imagine a text full of charming Canadian words such as "présentement", "niaiseux" and the such. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 33

@Luce N wrote:

Could you please tell me why Canadians tend to request Canadian French translations? What on earth is that? It makes me want to laugh because I can just imagine a text full of charming Canadian words such as "présentement", "niaiseux" and the such. 


 My French is pretty poor but isn't it a bit like German / Swiss / Austrian or Spanish in Spain rather than South America?

 

The German written and spoken in Germany differs from that in Switzerland and Austria, to the point where I would advise clients to only hire translators who are natives of the country they are translating for.

 

I was under the (possibly mistaken) impression that the same may apply for French and that the French spoken in Canada is not 1:1 the same as the French spoken in France or in other countries where French is one of the native or official languages.

 

Or the clients just want to weed out "French Speakers" from countries other than France & Canada?

 

 

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
3 of 33

Hi Petra,

 

My German is very basic, but I've lived in Bern for a year and I really understand that Swiss German is not Hochdeutsch! I also speak Brazilian Portuguese and can tell the difference between Brazilian Portuguese and Portugal Portuguese.

 

However, when I speak with French with Canadians, it's mostly the pronunciation that differs from my type of French, unless of course the Canadians I'm speaking with are making an effort to refrain from using Canadian vocabulary.

 

This is why I find it odd that clients would request Canadian French.

 

Yes, I have thought about the possibility of clients wanting to weed out some French speakers, probably because of the time difference. 

 

And why don't American clients specify that they want American English? Why is it only Canadians that seem to bother to make such specifications? See what I mean?

Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
4 of 33

I only remember that the counting in Switzerland and France is different once you reach 80 (not as age).

My husband and I are discovering a lot of "cultural" differences between East and Westgermany recently. We have a small kid (almost 21/2) and we were raised completely different when it comes to the books we had as kids and what was on TV. We both had a Casimir/Kasimir but from completely different shows. Everytime one of us mentioned Casimir/Kasimir we were thinking of different caracters without realising until last week.

 

So, depending on the topic it might make a difference and by requesting Canadian French they try to exclude people with a completely different background but are native French. I guess you could still use some connects you can spare to reach out for the most promissing clients and convince them with your expertise.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 33

@Luce N wrote:

And why don't American clients specify that they want American English? Why is it only Canadians that seem to bother to make such specifications? See what I mean?


 Oh but they absolutely do! As do English (UK) ones. On the rare occasion I translate to English I usually point out that whilst I can adapt my spelling and mostly the vocabulary to US English, the overall feel will be UK English.

 

It's also about tone, idioms, humour and cultural differences and etc.

 

As I said, I don't know whether it is the same with Canadian French and French French as I don't speak it well enough by any stretch of the imagination.

 

 

 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
6 of 33

@Luce N wrote:

Could you please tell me why Canadians tend to request Canadian French translations? What on earth is that? It makes me want to laugh because I can just imagine a text full of charming Canadian words such as "présentement", "niaiseux" and the such. 


And why would they not? Family residing in Montréal, and formerly in Paris, report that Québécois is rife with Anglicisms, in some cases—to a far greater extent than is true of European French—displacing the native, Latinate, Academy-approved equivalent. Replacing a single such Anglicism—let alone a handful—with European usage could sink a text, or at least queer a tone geared to locals. Moreover, in an officially bilingual country with French being in a distinctly minority position, one can well imagine the scrutiny English-to-French translations must undergo to pass muster wth Canadian Francophones.

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
7 of 33



@Douglas Michael M wrote:


And why would they not? Family residing in Montréal, and formerly in Paris, report that Québécois is rife with Anglicisms, in some cases—to a far greater extent than is true of European French—displacing the native, Latinate, Academy-approved equivalent. Replacing a single such Anglicism—let alone a handful—with European usage could sink a text, or at least queer a tone geared to locals. Moreover, in an officially bilingual country with French being in a distinctly minority position, one can well imagine the scrutiny English-to-French translations must undergo to pass muster wth Canadian Francophones.


  I"m not too sure. I've been watching vlogs made by French speaking Canadians, it's mostly the accent that really makes a difference. OK, they do use anglicism and exotic expressions, but I'm sure most of them would not be used in a more formal situation, such as a user's manual.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 33

I was chatting to a Canadian colleague of mine who lives in France and she agreed that in many cases, maybe not for a user manual for a knife sharpener, but for a business contract for example, or a legal translation, or even fiction it would make sense to use a translator who is a native speaker of the French spoken in the target country.

She said the differences are not huge, but significant enough.

 

As clients on Upwork obviously have the choice, why not.

 

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
9 of 33

You know what, I finally found a Canadian looking for a translator of English to French French. Such a relief.

Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
10 of 33

Luce, earlier you said "I'm not so sure." I am sure.

 

Pronunciations are a challenge. A woman in Montreal answered my question with "It's the ermine." Three weeks later, I realized she had actually said, "It's winter." That's a single example from a list a thousand pages long.

 

Canadian French and French-French are largely mutually intelligible, unlike UK-US English, which have enough differences to lead to inevitable embarassment. However, legal and medical documents are written quite differently in Canada and France. Fiction - I once spent an hour trying to decipher something that I thought read "The butter rode the subway conductor to the graveyard," or something equally nonsensical. In the US, we confuse ourselves with punctuation. I read, "Right off, the bat therapy was painful." I'm sure it was. I wrote the author, who explained that it was a misplaced comma. "Right off the bat, therapy was painful."

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