Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to deal with fear/ La peur et comment la dompter

Many business organizations invite speakers to motivate their staff or members. Last night, AIC invited Denley McIntosh to speak about “How Fear Takes Shape in Your life”. I did not really know what to expect and came as open minded as I could.

Denley a tout d’abord demandé aux participants de nommer les différents genres de peur : peur de l’échec, de la pauvreté, du succès, du rejet, de la vieillesse, de la douleur et de l’inconnu. Divisés en petits groupes, nous avons alors commencé à chercher des solutions pour soit supprimer la peur ou en réduire l’intensité.

Our table was given the topic of Fear of poverty. Here are some of the solutions for allaying that fear: networking was one way to feel less alone. Our group also found – saving money, keep on learning, share the learning, listen to others, price services right and help other people. It was amazing to see how freely comments were made and how helpful everyone was: we were among friends.

Fear of failure, success, rejection, old age, pain and the unknown were dealt with in the next couple of hours. The feeling in the room was relaxed yet attentive as each participant seemed to want to help his/her colleagues.

La clôture de la présentation arriva trop rapidement mais les participants sont tout simplement passés au mode réseautage – rétablissant des contacts avec ceux qu’ils connaissaient et découvrant les nouveaux venus.

This is why I find membership in AIC so valuable – we share with each other various tips on how to conduct business and deal with problems that the consultant’s life throws us. If you are in Toronto, by all means, come for a meeting. If you are elsewhere, see what AIC does on their website and start your own organization in your location.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

History rewritten/L’histoire vue autrement

Back in April 2007, I wrote several articles on the Canadian Vimy commemorations and how history appeared to differ from what I had been taught. This year, I am witnessing a literal rewriting. In France, president Nicolas Sarkozy is moving the ceremonies from the Arch of Triumph to smaller venues, with an emphasis on the victims.

In the UK, the BBC presents an article on the last WWI veteran. I also saw a Canadian documentary on new explorations of the Vimy underground tunnels where Canadian troops lived prior to the big assault. Shown are pictures of Canadian carvings and graffiti of men who were on their way to the battle. It is surreal to see archeologists digging out Canadian military insignia and finding carvings of the maple leaf in the tunnels.

Another interesting article, entitled "In the trenches with Paul Gross", which explains the reasons that let Paul Gross to do his Passchendaele movie.

History changes - either because of political will, an altered perspective or the arrival of new evidence not available before. The documentary on trenches on the German side mentions that the reason the locals did not attempt any research is because the memories were too painful but also because there were too many unexploded mines around which prevented further investigations.

Au Canada, un communiqué de presse de juin 2008 explique une nouvelle initiative des Anciens Combattants intitulée Vigile 1914-1918. Voici le site de Vigile 1914-1918 proprement dit.

Here is another venue for the Vigil event. The projections will take place in Fredericton, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Regina and Edmonton and in Trafalgar Square in London.

Here is an interesting explanation for the Vigil: " Families were forbidden from repatriating the bodies of their war dead however much they wanted to. It will be an important moment for the naes of 68,000 to first appear in Trafalgar Square and then travel home across the time zones. In essence, they travel back to Canada and across the country."

Détail intéressant - aucune ville de Québec ne participe à cet événement - ni de France, d'ailleurs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Canadian Tire Special Gloves Label/Pour le ranchero doublé ((?)

During a regular visit to the local Canadian Tire Hardware store, I chanced upon the work glove section and spied a pair of blue and yellow work gloves, bearing the cryptic label


This being urban Canada, I could not see where I would need such a glove but figured it is probably a heavy duty work glove. The French version really puzzled me. It said

Propriétaire de ranch

literally - Lined Ranch Owner

Nowhere could I see a real person, lined or not. Especially that doublé can also mean

1. overtaken - as in doubler une voiture sur la route,
2. dubbed - as in film doublé en Français
3. double-crossed - doubler quelqu'un
4. increased twofold - as in "le nombre de crimes a doublé"

The Canadian Packaging legislation stipulates that the generic name of the product be shown in English and in French. Had the word Gloves be used, the meaning would have been absolutely clear and the French translation, hopefully, much better done.

It all comes down to credibility. The French customer will laugh or maybe even get offended - if they cannot provide a credible translation, what does this say about the product and the company itself?

Do this right - Don't be a Lined Rancher.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Simply Delicious/La gastronomie Simple

About a year ago, we watched the opening of a new restaurant in a residential area of Toronto – It’s name – Simple Bistro. We tried it once, twice and then returned on a regular basis. A few days ago, we were treated to a feast.

Le restaurant, d’environ 40 places, est peint en jaune ocre avec boiseries noires. De grands miroirs permettent au soleil de pénétrer dans la salle. Le parquet et les tables en bois foncé ajoutent de la simplicité à l’atmosphère. Des portes-fenêtres donnant sur la rue permettent de profiter du soleil pendant le jour tout en assurant une bonne intimité lorsqu’il commence à faire sombre.

As appetizers, we chose a couple of delicately fried sardines in a mixture of oil and butter, flavoured with herbs and an artistically arranged timbale of endive and pear salad, served with walnuts, raisins and goat cheese. The main entrée of the day was a skate wing in caper butter, with delicately steamed green beans, cabbage, and shitake mushrooms. The recommended Pinot Blanc was just the right wine as it complemented the slightly sour taste of the skate sauce. The dessert we chose was a creamy chocolate terrine, with caramelized nuts, accompanied by a glass of Australian Buller Old Muscat at Rutherglen. The wine had a faint taste of the orange of Grand Marnier and the smoothness of a old Port. Cappuccinos, prepared with care, ended the meal.

L’attrait de ce restaurant pour nous n’est pas limité à sa gastronomie – en effet, le propriétaire, Graham, et son personnel continuent de nous choyer à chaque visite. La sauce des sardines et de la raie était la même – Graham est venu proposer à mon épouse de la part du chef, Masayuki Tamaru, une sauce au vin rouge pour la raie pour éviter la monotonie. Voilà un geste qui ne se rencontre pas partout.

Whereas some establishments appear to be geared to ladling grub, Simple Bistro concern for the satisfaction of their customers is truly amazing. They help in the selection of the food, are able to provide detailed explanation related to preparation or contents, and have a real knack pairing wine with food. They show respect for the customer, listen to his suggestions, and continue to thank him for his patronage.

Il y a quelques années, nous pensions avoir découvert le restaurant idéal pendant nos visites à San Francisco - le A16, dont j'ai parlé dans un de mes billets, il me faut avouer que Simple Bistro, à Toronto, est tout à fait sur la même longueur d’ondes. Les spécialités sont différentes mais la façon de gérer l’entreprise, la créativité du chef de cuisine, et les mets proposés sont aussi originaux et exquis . Pour les amateurs de bonne chère, Simple Bistro est le restaurant à privilégier.

If you go, tell Graham I sent you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Explain your business to your translator - it is a win-win situation. Traducteur informé – client heureux.

Dans le cadre d’un projet de longue date dans le domaine du HACCP, j’ai eu le bonheur de visiter l’usine qui fait l’objet d’une traduction technique. Malgré mes connaissances de l’approche générale et des procédés similaires, ce n’est qu’en voyant les différentes étapes que j’ai compris comment le produit fini était fabriqué.

Fortunately, the client understands the value of such hands-on experience and has allowed me to not only understand the theory but also to witness the actual assembly process, from raw materials to finished product.

The Quality Assurance Manager who served as a guide was very enthusiastic about his work and showed me with pride the various details of the operation. It is amazing how much one can learn from somebody who is proud of his work.

Le travail de terminologie et de traduction qui me reste à faire en sera grandement facilité. J’ai également pu prendre contact avec des collègues francophones de mon guide qui pourront me conseiller et valider mes propos.

Voici donc une approche raisonnée et un effort de groupe au lieu d’un travail « au pifomètre » par quelqu’un qui n’entend rien au sujet traité. Exigez cette approche de votre traducteur – vous y gagnerez et il vous en sera reconnaissant.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tree climbing is in again/ Grimper dans les arbres, c’est macho!

Who would have thought that tree climbing would be in again? The Globe and Mail says so.

Between the ages of 5 and 15, I remember always being fascinated by trees and how one could climb them. The structure of some trees appeared to be made expressely for climbing, with limbs positioned just the right way. There were trees in Prague parks and trees in various parts of France.

Ma mère ne m’avait jamais découragé de grimper dans les arbres. Elle me priait simplement de faire attention, de ne pas tomber. Idée qui me semblait absolument absurde alors.

Je remarque que l’escalade des arbres se civilise; on peut maintenant apprendre comment grimper. On peut prendre des cours d’escalade (comme on prend des cours d’alpinisme) et naturellement, on grimpe plus haut (40 mètres, dit l’article). Alors que dans mon cas, le maximum était de 5 à 7 mètres. Aucun équipement, aucune précaution préalable.

I am not a rock climber but keeping three points on the tree sounds very much like something one would do while rock climbing. Why do people do it?

"A feeling common among tree climbers is the wonder that you are the very first person ever to be in a particular place; you see different flora and fauna up in the canopy, and get a different perspective, like watching birds flying around below you."

It is akin to being on cross-country skis on an empty trail, on a weekend – just you and the trees, the snow and the cold wind...

Maybe Jamie Robertson has the answer: "All kids are natural tree climbers."

P.S. Recently discovered information on formal tree climbing, born around 1980. This article is worth a read.

This is what young boys do now

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Client Feedback/Commentaires des clients

Like many other independents, many translators, often complain about their clients’ attitude toward their work. That is the negative side. I have also found out that one can ask for and receive positive feedback, if only the client can do it quickly and easily.

“Could not have wished for better service, thank you”,

is what one recent client wrote on my feedback form. The work was rush, but the client knew that she had not allowed a lot of time for it to be done. A quick phonecall, a few explanations and I was on my way.

Le texte de mon formulaire tient sur une page, est fourni en version électronique, les cases peuvent être remplies à l’écran et le document peut être renvoyé par courriel.

What did the client say :

1) my service exceeded their expectations
2) the fee paid was good value for the service received
3) and rated as excellent the following points: pricing & payment schedule, professionalism, & expertise,,quick response to client request.

« Nous n’aurions pas pu nous attendre à un meilleur service, merci. »

Ce genre de commentaire remonte le moral.

Monday, July 28, 2008

ViaMichelin GPS Adventures/Aventures GPS de ViaMichelin

Last winter, I happened to see an advertisement for a portable navigation device (PND a.k.a. a GPS navigator) unit offered by a subsidiary of Michelin, the tire people. Having owned several of their tires, I was familiar with the quality of their other products (such as the Guide Michelin) and therefore thought that a GPS of theirs would be outstanding.

J’ai utilisé l’appareil pendant plusieurs mois, me servant surtout des indications en anglais britannique, puis en américain. Lors d’une conversation avec un collègue au gymnase, j’ai appris que son appareil (d’une autre marque) donnait également le nom des rues alors que le mien ne les donnait pas. J’ai donc posé la question au service clientèle qui m’a répondu qu’il fallait modifier un des réglages de langues (voix synthétisée – américaine).

The British voice was kind of cute to listen to, and then I tried the US voice, to finally realize that the only voice available for street names was a rather raucous US voice. Strangely enough, some of the street names appeared to be unknown to it - thus Bunty Lane became Bunty El Enn, Highway (Hwy) 401 became Atch, Double You Why 401, Bathurst Este (meaning Street East or St. E.). The Toronto to Hamilton highway called Queen Elizabeth Express Way is called QEW, pronounced like Queue. It is as if the programmer did not know that street names will be shortened but that they must be pronounced in full? Turning instructions sounded like this: “ In 250 metres, turn right, and continue towards Citation Avenue.” How can one continue towards a street after having turned on it, I do not know.

I am presently testing the French voice (without street names) and the authoritative female voice is pleasant to hear. One thing I cannot get used to is the different kind of sounds used for warnings – speeding, for instance. Sometimes it is a series of beeps, sometimes a twang twang sound. Of course, no explanation is given in the manual.

Lors d’un cours séjour à San Francisco récemment, j’ai utilisé le PND dans le train, pour suivre le voie ferrée- application non prévue par Michelin. C’était tout de même intéressant car le relief environnant était bien montré. My GPS is not intended to be used in a train but I did just that between San Francisco and San Carlos, recently. It was kind of neat to see the landscape literally unfold before me.

While communicating with the Customer Service, I was also informed recently that Michelin would no longer support the PND but would provide warranty coverage for a year. En d’autres mots, Michelin s’est retiré de la vente des PND ce dont j’ai trouvé confirmation ici et ici.

I wonder how many units were sold in Canada and the US? If you are a ViaMichelin PND owner, what has your experience been? If you own a different brand, what have been some of your problems?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

AIC and articles by members/La AIC et les articles publiés par ses membres

I have written posts about AIC before but did not explain how valuable this membership has been to me in the last 5 years. Each and every member is a specialist in his own field but he/she is also an independent worker, a small business owner. This is where I found the most help in the past. During informal discussions, I was able to collect data on information technology, on the preparation of brochures, the accounting practices to use, the marketing techniques to exploit, and the web strategies to discover.

I have also shared my knowledge in articles on translation.

L’échange de renseignements et de bons procédés fait partie intégrante de relations entre les members. Chaque réunion me fournit de nouvelles occasions d’étendre mon réseau, de rencontrer des professionnels dévoués à leur spécialité et d’apprivoiser de nouvelles tactiques de marketing. Le traducteur dans sa tour d’ivoire disparaît pour devenir un réseauteur, un spécialiste qui adore aider ses collègues, un communicateur global.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rechargeable Duracell Batteries\Des piles chargées plus longtemps, rechargées moins souvent?

Consumer Packaging in Canada is regulated by the Consumer Packaging Act (on the Federal level) and by the Charter of the French language. in the province of Québec.

The Duracell graphic designer/copywriter did not get the whole story.

From the federal point of view, the generic name must appear in both official languages:

2.1 Product Identity Declaration

Section 10 Act

2.1.1 Definition Section 30 Regulations

The product identity declaration is a statement of the product's common or generic name, or it may be defined in terms of its function.

2.1.2 Language Subsection 6(2) Regulations

The product identity must be shown in English and French. In some cases a product identity declaration is bilingual in and of itself, such as "cologne" or "serviettes".

It is interesting to note that the word battery is not present anywhere.

Two sets of qualifiers describe the AA Duracell batteries:

They are rechargeable and they are pre-charged. The word "rechargeable" is the same for both languages but its presence is confusing as it is not part of a French set of words. Pre-charged did get translated by Pré-chargée. Interestingly enough, even though the package contains 4 batteries, the adjectives used in French appear in singular only – préchargée. (as the word “pile” for battery is feminine). To correct this, all adjectives relating to the batteries would have to agree in gender and in number with batteries (feminine, plural).

The qualifiers present another problem: In English we have



On the French side, the situation gets even more confused, as we have

CHARGÉE PLUS LONGTEMPS which literally means “charged longer” – the “stays” word has disappeared. A more explicit message would have been

Reste chargée plus longtemps or

Conserve sa charge plus longtemps

Rechargée moins souvent literally means recharged less often. One meaning would be that the battery does not contain as much charge (during production?). I do not believe that is what they mean here. While this truncated type of statement is understandable in English, a better French would have been

Nécessite une recharge moins souvent or

Se recharge moins souvent

This article of the Quebec legislation covers packages:

51. Every inscription on a product, on its container or on its wrapping, or on a document or object supplied with it, including the directions for use and the warranty certificates, must be drafted in French. This rule applies also to menus and wine lists.

The French inscription may be accompanied with a translation or translations, but no inscription in another language may be given greater prominence than that in French.

In the case of the Duracell package, the English fonts are larger.

Do these mistakes make a difference – they certainly do and in my experience the customary reaction of a French-speaking customer would be to say: “The manufacturer doesn’t give a damn”, even in cases where it was an oversight, a lack of knowledge of the legislation. Would a business knowingly make these mistakes and alienate their customers?

Ces erreurs d’emballage sont fréquentes mais néanmoins déplorables. C’est au grand public qu’appartient le devoir de réagir.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Is your website working for you/ Votre site web – est-ce qu’il trime dur?

Cadillacs used to be sold on fins and chrome in the fifties. Read their advertising today and it is much more about performance, safety and economy. Small business websites also went from a title page and a return address to flash animations and fancy graphics. The functional approach appears to me to be much more promising and the results can be better quantified.

The link that an association colleague sent to me today deals with website optimization and is so interesting that I decided to share it with my readers. It is the Sept 2007 webcast. Here is the general link.

Il est évident que la conception d’un site web n’est pas une chose facile pour le commun des mortels. L’approche à adopter, la terminologie et l’infrastructure sont tout à fait différentes de la publicité traditionnelle. L’auteur de la présentation ci-dessus explique très bien les différents éléments à maximiser et les erreurs à éviter. Ce qui est très intéressant est que ces conseils peuvent également être appliqués aux PME et aux indépendants. Il s’agit d’une entreprise américaine mais je pense que ces conseils peuvent s’appliquer ailleurs, au Canada en particulier.

Est-ce qu’un traducteur indépendant peut s’acquérir un public sur le monde de la Toile ? Mon blogue a eu plus de 3 300 visites depuis sa création en avril 2006. La présentation de hubspot m’a donné un tas d’idées nouvelles que je compte incorporer dans mon blogue.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Voice Recognition Software/ Logiciel de reconnaissance de la parole

My earliest contact with voice recognition was a scene from the 1981 movie "Arthur" , starring Dudley Moore. It showed someone dictating into a computer and the words appearing on the screen. I followed the development of what is now Dragon over the years but for quite a while found the software too expensive. Last year, Staples (Bureau en Gros) offered the French Version 9 Preferred for around $200. I just installed it recently and am happy to report the first contact was quite friendly.

L’installation a pris environ une quinzaine de minutes, suivie d’une session d’apprentissage de ma voix. Les résultats sont très intéressants. J’ai pu tout d’abord dicter des courriels directement dans Outlook 2007. Je suis ensuite passé dans Word du même millésime où j’ai dicté un texte improvisé d’une demie page. J’ai varié la complexité des mots et des pĥrases et le résultat m’est apparu très satisfaisant.

Dans les semaines suivantes, je compte « éduquer » mon logiciel et étudier les différentes possibilités. Je ne sais pas encore comment « écraser « un texte en utilisant Dragon mais je suis persuadé que cela peut se faire.

Une autre solution serait d’adopter des caractères d’une couleur différente pour la traduction. Je pourrais alors dicter en rouge, par exemple, pour différencier du texte original, en noir. Cela facilitera la révision.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shortage of specialized workers in Quebec\Les métiers les plus recherchés au Québec

According to a comprehensive article in L’Actualité there will be a shortage of some 1,3 million specialized workers around 2015. Changing employment patterns and retiring boomers are some of the main causes for this shortage.

The upside of this is that some professions will be in great demand. Translators are on the list of the top 150 professions .

Il est évident que les traducteurs d’expérience dans les domaines pointus seront en grande demande. J’entrevois également le besoin accru de mentorat de jeunes débutants pour les aider à perfectionner leurs connaissances et les préparer à prendre la relève.

Spring cleaning of telephone directory files/ Grand nettoyage des répertoires de téléphone

The directories of telephones (wired, wireless and cellular) are usually limited in space and I have found it frustrating to discover recently that one of my wireless office phone directories was full. One phone had room for some 200 entries, the other, around 50.

Having some time, I proceded to delete a whole bunch of entries - names I had not called in a couple of years, companies that no longer existed, etc. It was amazing to notice how satisfying it was to go through the exercise.

I found that writing down some of these phone numbers in a paper directory is also a good idea as your electronic file might disappear if your system crashes.

Les répertoires des deux téléphones sont différents - celui qui comprend 200 fichiers représente les numéros plus permanents, alors que le petit ne contient que les numéros que j'appelle fréquemment. Un autre avantage de ces répertoires est qu'ils permettent au téléphone d'afficher le nom de l'appellant, si ce dernier figure dans le répertoire.

Pourquoi deux téléphones? Explication très simple, je me suis aperçu que le premier, qui fonctionne sur 2,4 Ghz, créait des provoquait des parasites sur mon ordinateur sans fil, qui fonctionne sur la même fréquence. Par contre, le nouvel appareil, dont le répertoire est de 50 numéros, fonctionne sur 5,8 Ghz.

Maintenant, au tour du jardin! Now to tackle the garden!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Healthy Canadians – Canadiens en santé

An ad in a recent issue of the Globe and Mail drew my attention to a new Government of Canada website called Healthy Canadians. It explains the various pieces of legislation the government is planning to protect the health of Canadians.

My translator’s curiosity made me click the word Français of the home page to discover that Healthy Canadians had been rendered as Canadiens en santé – which is nonsense! Let me explain. The English adjective healthy connotes three qualities: possessing good health, conducive to good health (healthful) and indicative of sound, rational thinking or frame of mind.

The French word santé means health i.e. the physical or mental condition of a human being. It is a neutral word as it is not positive or negative. Healthy on the other hand connotes that the person is not sick i.e. en bonne santé. If one speaks of the body, skin or cell, one would say un corps sain. Another meaning of healthy is thriving in which case the French would be sain as well.

Ce qui me bouscule dans cette affaire c’est que quelqu’un a décidé que l’expression « en santé » veut dire en bonne santé, ce qui n’est pas du tout le cas. Votre épouse vient de se faire examiner par son généraliste qui la trouve en parfaite santé – lui dira-t-il : Madame, vous êtes en santé? (you are in health – word for word translation). You watch your diet and the foods you eat – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, etc. – you follow a healthy diet. En français, c’est un régime sain que l’on suit.

Un magazine publié par un hôpital ontarien a pour titre Femmes en santé. On aurait peut- être dû dire «Femmes en bonne santé », surtout lorsque l’on nous apprend que l’anglais était « Women’s Health Matters ». Au moins cinq traductions possibles : La santé des femmes, ça compte; La santé des femmes est importante; Informations sur la santé des femmes; Santé des femmes; La santé pour les femmes.

On peut imaginer le scénario : le traducteur du site web fédéral s’aperçoit que quelqu’un a déjà dit en santé pour exprimer l’idée de healthy. Alors on continue – que cela soit du français ou du franglais! The cookie cutter approach to titles and headings says we have two words in English, find two words in French. This is similar to the recent Ontario Yield to Bus legislation, which was designed to improve transit flow and make transit service more reliable and efficient.

The French text of the Highway Traffic Act speaks about “ Nécessité de céder le passage à un autobus sortant d’une voie d’arrêt d’autobus.” Earlier (in article 136), the Right of way at intersections without a stop sign is described as Priorité. That would have been the right word to use for Yield to bus. No, instead, the French came out as Cédez!

Véhicule prioritaire (or véhicule à priorité) would have been more idiomatic.

Sentence structure and word sequence are definitely part of each language – they are most often not the same in English and in French. The true test of translator is to find the idiomatic equivalent of the source expression and transpose it into the target language.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Computer detective/L’inspecteur Clouzot informatique

Unless he or she is an IT specialist, the ordinary translator gets bewildered by any malfunction of his computer and has to rely on a specialist to solve the problem. It does help, though, to be a curious and inquisitive person, because answers are out there, to be found.

When my laptop’s clock recently started losing time, first an hour at time, then more, I did a Google search. Little by little, an answer of sorts came out. It was my CMOS (a small battery) that was either failing or was bad.

Revenant alors sur le site web du fabricant – Lenovo, j’ai trouvé un nombre de descriptions de cette panne, sa cause et même un diagramme de la position de cette batterie sur la carte mère de l’ordinateur. Malheureusement, son remplacement était déconseillé au commun des mortels.

M’adressant alors à un réparateur agréé, j’ai pu lui décrire les symptômes que j’avais observés. On me demanda de leur laisser l’appareil pour effectuer un diagnostic. Deux heures plus tard, on me rappelle pour m’apprendre que mon CMOS est en parfaitement bonne santé! Ils ont découvert qu’une des soudures du CMOS à la carte mère s’était défaite et c’est cela qui provoquait mon problème. La soudure est refaite et me voilà avec un ordinateur en parfaite santé!

I have described this way of dealing with adversity in an earlier post dealing with cap guns.

The detective work was lots of fun. That is the spirit which continues to drive me to provide translations: to help my clients communicate in a language that they do not know or do not know well, while having a ball doing the work.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


About a year ago, we were fortunate to discover the A16 restaurant which I described in my earlier post .

Recently, we were able to revisit it and rediscover its food, its ambiance and its very friendly and knowledgeable staff. In addition to fresh fava beans, we sampled stuffed quail, petrale sole in cartoccio and various wonderful deserts, accompanied by some very tasty wines recommended by “our” waitress. I say our because we were immediately recognized and treated as long lost friends.

Comme dans toutes les grandes villes touristiques, les restaurants abondent à San Francisco mais seule une poignée valent un grand déplacement. Une visite, un repas, chez A16 se sont transformés en quatre repas en environ une semaine. De quoi nous gâter. Une table que nous avons redécouvert est la “chef’s table”, qui est en fait le comptoir qui fait face au four à pizza et à l’autre four de cuisson dans lequel une jeune femme sous-chef produisit devant nous une multitude de plats

Nous avons également appris que les proprios avaient ouvert un second restaurant d’un style un peu différent. En effet, il s’agit surtout d’hors-d’oeuvres et de petits plats chauds et froids dont plusieurs peuvent former un repas respectable. À ne pas manquer.

À peine rentrés chez nous, nos souvenirs nous font revivre ces moments. S.F. – nos coeurs (et estomacs) y appartiennent.

Monday, March 24, 2008

LCD Screens – Bigger is better/Écrans à ACL - voir les choses en grand

A visit to the local Staples (Bureau en gros) store not too long ago revealed that computer LCDs are growing : the 17 and 19 in models have been replaced by 20, 22 inch and larger models.

According to an article in today's Globe and Mail , large screen are replacing bonuses and represent a new form of reward.

J’ai moi-même fait l’expérience il y a deux ans lorsque je suis passé à deux écrans, un de 14,5 et l’autre de 17 pouces.

Il est indéniable que le travail sur un écran plus grand est plus facile. Même s’il me faut de temps à autre modifier la police des caractères affichés, l’écran de 17 pouces est irremplaçable.

L’espace disponible sur le bureau ne me permet pas de passer à un écran plus grand mais j’imagine que les employés décrits dans l’article du Globe, ci-dessus, travaillant dans des bureaux à cloisons, ont la place.

L’avantage également est de pouvoir visionner des films sur ces grands écrans. Les employeurs devront donc surveiller les employés pour éviter ce genre d’activité. Large LCD’s allow users to watch DVD movies, which may not be what their employers want them to do on company time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Terminology is more than words / La terminologie dépasse le mot

You may have dealt with a translator who asked you for specific terminology related to the piece you are having translated. Were you annoyed or did you help? Reminds me of a time when a video studio called me from Detroit, asking me for terminological information. They were doing a service video for a large auto manufacturer. The question I was asked was: “what are caliper brakes?” I probed to find out what automotive knowledge did the translator have about automotive brakes – he had none! I recommended to the manufacturer that they pick someone who knows the automotive field.

Récemment, dans le cadre d’un travail sur l’installation de câbles de fibres optiques, j’ai rencontré l’expression “handwell”. Mes recherches dans Termium et le GDT n’ayant pas abouti, j’ai demandé au client de me renseigner. On m’envoie un schéma décrivant l’objet. En désespoir de cause, je fais une recherche sur Internet et trouve dans les dossiers de la ville de Toronto, une série de documents décrivant en images et en texte la nature de l’objet, sa fonction, son installation - bref tout ce que je cherchais. Vous donnez-votre langue au chat?

Il s’agissait d’un puits de raccordement. Morale de l’histoire : il ne suffit pas d’un équivalent, il faut comprendre comment il marche, quelle est sa fonction.

The translator needs to know not only the word but how the item works, how it is used – the City of Toronto documentation provided me all that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A translation that missed the boat/Pourquoi chercher midi à quatorze heures ?

I happened to chance upon Birk’s Jewellers home page recently and was pleasantly surprised by the tag line: "Sure to bring back the butterflies". The addition of a fluttering butterfly really combines the abstract and the concrete.

My translator’s curiosity made me look at the French version:

“Ravive la flamme en un battement d’aile” or word by word: “Revives the flame with the beat of a wing”

Does the sight of a butterfly revive love? I think the translator looked too far or tried to create a poetic message, forgetting that there is a very common and accepted expression

“Sentir des papillons dans l’estomac”

Il est vrai que l’expression en question n’est pas mentionnée ni dans le Petit Larousse ni dans le Robert. J’ai trouvé cependant plusieurs occurrences de cette expression sur Internet, surtout par des auteurs québécois. Interrogée sur la publicité, mon épouse (d’expression anglaise) me dit : I could have done this translation myself. En effet, le traducteur avait cherché trop loin.

Il s’agit d’une surtraduction. Est-ce que le français actuel vous fait penser au petit pincement dans l’estomac provoqué par un événement agréable et imprévu ? À vous de juger.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow – Vancouver - Neige

It has been a while since we returned from Vancouver but many people have asked me to describe the view from Grouse Mountain. On that sunny day, the view was so magnificent I have decided to share it.

Je n’avais pas eu l’occasion de voir de la neige si près d’une grande ville. Le voyage, du centre-ville, en bateau et en autocar, au pied du Grouse Mountain a pris environ 30 minutes. Puis c’était le téléphérique pendant 8 minutes pour arriver à 1400 mètres d’altitude.

Un souvenir que je garderai pendant longtemps.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Marketing the Business when you are the Business/ L’affaire du marketing pour un indépendant

Independent professionals can always use more information on how to market their expertise and ensure that their businesses use the right marketing approach. That is why the seminar organized by AIC was such a successful event, last night.

Rachel Colic , a communication
and marketing expert, reminded us of the various essential ways of ensuring that our marketing message is heard. Her advice: 1) be creative, 2) be clear, 3) be consistent.

C’est la raison d’être du présent blogue qui vise à expliquer le processus de la traduction ainsi que de mettre en garde contre les erreurs qui peuvent se produire entre le client et le traducteur.

En plus, l’utilisation d’un site web cohérent est également importante. Les sites de l’ATIO et de l'AIC confirment mes activités professionnelles. Celui de la HPCA met en valeur mes compétences mais également celles de mes collègues de cette association.

Est-ce suffisant ? Faites-moi part de vos propres efforts dans les commentaires ci-dessous : ils serviront à tous nos lecteurs de par le monde. Merci.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Advertising adaptation – and the winner is….? / Un coup publicitaire magistral

A recent trip to Vancouver took me to Grouse Mountain, a skiing spot just 30 minutes north of Vancouver. After taking in the chilly air (it was –7° C at the altitude of 1400 metres), I decided to have a snack. Here is a picture of it:

Excellent example of creative adaptation. The name of the English produit is Milk 2 Go which, to my mind, plays on the fact that this drink can be had anywhere. The French version, cunningly, plays on the similarity of the sounds Lait (milk in French) and Let’s go – an English admonition. It is the French spelling that gives away the generic name of the product (Lait), as the Canadian Consumer Labelling Act requires.

Plus je regardais l’adaptation française plus j’étais littéralement épaté par la créativité de l’expression. Je dirais même que l’appellation française est plus réussie que l’anglaise tout en respectant l’anglais, la langue dans le vent à travers le monde.

I can testify to the fact that the milk was extremely thirst quenching and the chili con carne hot and spicy. A very filling snack.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Free museums – France – L’entrée des musées est gratuite

Among teenage murders and descriptions of snow storms in Europe and torrential rains in California came the news that the French government is temporarily dropping the entrance fees to its national museums .

C’est une nouvelle agréable qui me rappelle les nombreux jours que j’ai passés, pendant mon séjour à Paris, à visiter Le Louvre, l’Hôtel des Invalides, le Musée de l’homme, le Musée des arts et métiers et d’autres encore. Il y en a 21! Le prix d’entrée ne m’est pas resté en mémoire mais je me souviendrais toujours de la Vénus de Milo, de la Victoire de Samothrace et des différents pharaons.

The readers who are fond of museums will find this map handy

it gives the names and locations of all the museums and national monuments in Paris. (note the English version in the header).

The Globe article mentions that the free admission will only last till June the 30th so it may be a good idea to make your plans soon.

To whet you appetite, here is a link to the Louvre

Happy browsing!