English Editing in Quebec: Linguistic Interference During COVID-19
This post is part of a series on some of the challenges English editors and translators encounter when working with French texts. When the COVID-19 pandemic oozed into Canadian territory in March, government officials and media outlets across the country were working hard to keep society apprised of the latest developments. These included physical-distancing rules, […]
English Editing in Quebec: Proofreading Bilingual Documents
For most of us, it is easy to proof documents written in one language. Copy editors and proofreaders are familiar with flow, style and grammatical rules as they pertain to their mother tongues. But what happens when working with a bilingual or multilingual document? How do you ensure consistency, especially when the standards of one […]
English Editing in Quebec: All About Gender
If you’re passionate about foreign languages, you’ll know that most of them contain masculine and feminine nouns. Some languages, such as German and Russian, go the extra mile and use neutral nouns. English has its fair share of masculine and feminine nouns, too, though most of them have been eliminated to make way for more […]
English Editing in Quebec: All About Style (Part Two)
Last November, I underlined major stylistic differences between English and French. Here are a few more. To combine or not to combine English articles with French ones? When incorporating French names in English copy, remember two rules: Do not lowercase French articles (e.g., La Presse, not la Presse). Do not combine French articles with English […]
English Editing in Quebec: Avoiding Wordiness
Plain language communicates written messages clearly and concisely. This is true whether you’re editing stand-alone English copy or translating from other languages. In my experience as an editor and translator, I have had to work with a number of stiff and wordy texts. I usually start by asking, “What needs to be improved?” Should I focus on […]
English Editing in Quebec: Has Quebec Caught on to Plain Language?
“What is plain language?” you may ask. In a nutshell, plain language communicates concepts and ideas clearly, concisely and effectively. This is done by thinking about the projected target audience: the readers. When you write clearly, you avoid using jargon that only select people know. You also avoid verbiage and overly complex ideas. Contrary to […]
English Editing in Quebec: All About Style
Whenever you do a concordance reading or translation, you certainly notice that the two or more languages you are working with show many stylistic differences. English and French are no strangers to this phenomenon. For instance, have you observed that French texts and translations are often longer than texts written in or translated into English? […]
English Editing in Quebec: Mind Your Noun Strings, Please!
If you regularly work with French copy, you know that French emphasizes nouns more than English does. This results in our Gallic official language constantly using noun strings — that is, strings containing several nouns in a row. They will often take the form [noun] + of + (the) + [noun]: la gestion de la […]
English Editing in Quebec: What’s Translatable, What’s Not?
If any of you copywrite, edit or translate for federal clients, you’ll know that most department, agency, union and attraction names have official translations. Department of National Defence Canadian Media Guild Canadian Museum of History National Gallery of Canada National Arts Centre Citizenship and Immigration Canada Royal Canadian Mounted Police ministère de la Défense nationale […]
English Editing in Quebec: False Cognates, Syntax and Interferences — Oh My!
Here are two French excerpts and their translations (emphases and bold prints are mine): Donner la vedette à la nature luxuriante jusqu’à ce point impose le respect. Plus encore, ce lieu intemporel inspire le recueillement propre au dénuement référant à l’art de l’aménagement extérieur japonais.… Récipiendaire du Prix X, le jury a particulièrement remarqué le […]
English Editing in Quebec: Local Realities — Quebec City and Area, and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
♪♫ À Québec au clair de lune. Comme il fait bon… ♪♫ On those first few words of Marius Delisle’s 1959 hit, I make my way to Quebec City and the surrounding area to find out how language professionals fare with English on a daily basis. Of the more than 700,000 inhabitants of the Quebec […]
English Editing in Quebec: Local Realities — Western Quebec and Eastern Townships
If you live in the vicinity of Canada’s capital region and are aspiring to become a language professional, you’re in for a treat. For starters, the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa and their surrounding areas are home to most federal government departments. Localities on either side of the Ottawa River have municipal administrations and provincial […]
English Editing in Quebec: Local Realities — Montreal and Area
It’s a well-known fact: Quebec is the only French-language province in Canada. According to recent statistics, la belle province is home to over eight million inhabitants. Of these inhabitants, 78 per cent are native French speakers and over seven per cent are English speakers. In the Greater Montreal Area, 47 per cent of residents identify […]