The differences between European (also called Metropolitan) and Canadian Quebec French are greater than between American and British English, chiefly because the French spoken by the first immigrants was not the Parisian French that later became the norm.

First, there’s vocabulary.  Depending on the topic, differences in vocabulary could be an issue when translating into French.  European French tends to accept English words more easily.  For example:

  • Parking, which remains the same in Metropolitan French, becomes Stationnement in Quebec French;
  • E-mail in Quebec French is courriel, in France is e-mail or mél;
  • To chat is translated as clavarder in Canada and as chatter in France;
  • In France dîner means dinner, whereas in Quebec it means lunch! The Canadian dinner is souper and the French lunch is déjeuner.

Such differences may cause misunderstandings and jeopardises good communication! Moreover, the other big issue is how culture is reflected in the language. Canadians have the tendency to be more concise and to-the-point. If you watch a Canadian politician and a French politician, you will probably notice that the latter will take a long time to explain what the first would have said in fewer words and in a more direct way.

These considerations are of paramount importance when talking about translation and localisation. If you are targeting Quebec, make sure you ask for a translation in the right language variety. Ask SanTranslate.