By Hilary Picken | February 28, 2019 | Languages
Many linguists consider the difference between Canadian and European French to be greater than between British and US English. It is vital to keep this in mind when looking for Canadian French translation or localisation for your business. The differences range from grammar to mode of address, and even industry-specific terminology.
That’s why we work with native speakers when providing Canadian French translation for your project. With a mother-tongue translator you can be confident your work is being translated by someone who understands how to get your message across.
A lot of what goes into differentiating Canadian French translation from European French translation is contextual. The major differences in tone, mode of address and acceptable language use come from four centuries of the languages evolving separately from one another.
The major differences in tone, mode-of-address and acceptable language use come from four centuries of the languages evolving separately from one another.
What is acceptable to use in different contexts is quite nuanced. What may be suitable in a translated training document might not be appropriate for a formal contract. For instance:
Gendered Nouns – Canadian French has a much higher frequency of female nouns when referring to professions.
This started with the normalisation of the idea that a profession can be held by both men and women and that using a masculine term may not be appropriate. For example, in medical translation, a female doctor would be referred to as la docteure in Canada, whereas in France she would be la docteur.
Archaic Terms – Many terms and phrases used by French-speaking Canadians are no longer used in Europe. These are terms that were first used when French arrived in North America in the 17th Century. Take, for example, ‘because’. ‘À cause que’ is still in use among Canadian French speakers, whereas European French people uses= ‘parce que’.
English influences – US English has influenced Canadian French due to sharing a border. A lot of these loan-words are slang and not suitable for official documents, such as ‘chiffe’ for a (work) shift.
Contractions – Many European French terms have a contracted alternative in Canadian French. For instance, if you asked a French Canadian colleague if they were unwell, they might respond ‘pantoute’. That’s a contraction of the European French pas du tout – everything is fine.
If you require Canadian French translation or localisation services from European French to Canadian French our expert mother-tongue translators will use the correct tone and mode of address. With over 25 years’ experience providing translation and proofreading services for a variety of industry sectors, you can rest assured your project is in safe hands with The Language Factory.
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