Frenglish or Franglais?

June 26th, 2007
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“Our policy will ensure cleaner oceans, lacs and air” -

CPAC translator working over a speech by John Baird in the Commons


One shouldn’t exactly pick on the poor gentleman who has to translate, in real time, the ramblings or outbursts of our parliamentarians. This does however underscore the bilingual nature of the Ottawa bubble and the purity of language that is a natural casualty of it. What I mean is that people regularly mix the languages in manner that would curl the hair of the old gents at the Academie Francaise.

I recently heard a lady at Ottawa’s farmers’ market shout to her co-worker as they were sorting out vegetables – “Hey France, n’a tu pas une reject pile“? 

Another odd thing is the way signs are translated in the national parks.  Obviously someone, sometime decided only to do semi-translations – which sound very odd.  Dog Lake is simply Lac Dog, and Settlers’ Road is, you guessed it, Chemin Settlers. Something tells me that, although they only got semi-translations, they weren’t given a semi-bill.

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