Thursday, April 05, 2007

An angled servant at your service/ Serviteur d’angle à votre service

Shopping in the local Canadian Tire store, I chanced upon the bathroom section, which showed various tub accessories: showerheads, soap caddies, etc. One package caught my eye: It was called Corner Caddy – it was triangular, had suction cups and allowed the user to store soap and shampoo on a little shelf wedged in the corner of the bath wall.

The French side wasn’t as cute. It said: Serviteur d’angle

I guess a golf caddy can be a server, a helper, but it is not human – serviteur is. As for angle – a corner can indeed be an angle, but it usually protrudes. Let us look as specific equivalents:

Un coin de rue - a street corner

Un coin d’une boîte - a corner of a box

Un coin d’une table - a corner of a table

Devices that support something may be described as follows:

Portemanteau - coat hanger

Porte-bouteille - bottle caddy

Porte-clés - key chain

Porte-bagages - luggage rack

Porte-cartes- (business) card holder

So to convey the idea that the item fits in a particular way and performs a specific action, we could say:

Porte-savon en coin (in the shape of a corner)

Why do you think French-speaking customers get upset when they see this kind of communication?

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