With a population of more than 8 million, Quebec is Canada’s second largest market. Yet, some believe that the French language represents a significant barrier to doing business in Quebec.
Before shying away too quickly from the Quebec market that has proven to be lucrative with the right strategy, here are five “secrets” learned from organizations that are getting a strong return from their translation and French language investment.
1. Create and Develop Your French Voice
Your voice is key to your brand. When you develop collateral materials for your English-speaking clientele, you think about your audience profile and you talk to them in a way that resonates. It’s no different in French.
Professional translation is more than the simple process of converting English words to French words. It takes into account who is reading those words and how they might respond to them. Professional translation uses the written word to reach specific groups and elicit specific responses for text translations and adaptations.
To give a simple example, “It’s easy” can be translated as “C’est facile”, a direct and correct translation. However, we can go one step further and use the expression “C’est simple comme bonjour” (As simple as saying hello) to add genuineness and give the text a distinctly Quebec flavour.
2. Show You Care About the Culture
Loyalty is a key characteristic of Quebecers. Language reveals culture in subtle ways :
- a humorous reference,
- a historical reminder,
- an acknowledgment of shared attitudes.
It’s important to understand the Quebec culture and to reflect it in your French communications to do business in Quebec French language.
3. Support Your Staff
Employees who work in their own language are more productive, make fewer mistakes, and are more likely to stay with you. The kind of materials you will need to provide in French include: job ads, employment contracts, benefit descriptions, core training materials, technical documentation, relevant policies and procedures.
However, not all your materials need to be translated. A professional translation service provider can help you determine what needs to be translated and what does not. For example, if manager roles require them to work in English, you don’t necessarily have to translate the materials they work with by law.
4. Broaden Your ROI Expectations
Many businesses entering the Quebec market report that their French language project helped them identify redundant English materials, apply long-needed updates and streamline business processes. It is also a great first step in developing a multilingual infrastructure that will be valuable to support international business projects.
5. Respect the Intent of the Law
Quebec’s Charter of the French Language (i.e. the “language law”) exists to make sure that your French-speaking market can access your goods and services, and that your French-speaking employees can work for you most effectively and efficiently.
A skilled manager with a strong grasp of his métier, Jean–Guy Latulippe brings FIG Translation’s clients over 30 years of diversified experience in the fields of communications, marketing, business development and training.