• The Low Down

Google translate will save French culture

The Editor,


In dealing with recent medical issues (and the “naturally” occurring French-only medical forms and terminology that accompany these things), I think I may have inadvertently stumbled on a fix to this silly Bill 96 et al. problem: Google Translate! To illustrate, I think it would be best to imagine the following scenario:


Sam is in line at the local dépanneur (which they have been frequenting in their tongue of choice for years, but let’s not digress), and to do their part to be a language law abiding citizen, takes out their phone, opens Google Translate, selects the enforced langue de jour and enters something like:


“Hello! My name is Sam, and I wish to purchase these items I have placed before you. In a sincere effort to not deteriorate your endangered language, erode your vibrant culture or invite the wrath of the almighty language police upon your fine establishment, I ask that you speak into my device. !#@&*ernac! Sorry, let me change the language around for you…..There!”


Sam holds their phone at a polite distance from the cashier’s mouth, and voilà! No laws broken, no erosion of culture (I think) and no more time wasted than when one ends up behind a lottery ticket enthusiast (as is too want to happen in such establishments), and Sam has successfully, if a little awkwardly, acquired their necessary items. Now simply apply the above to a medical facility, licence bureau or perhaps a psychologist’s office. It’s practically flawless, non?


Now if you’ll indulge me un petit peu further, Google Translate may not be the perfect fit for the subtle nuances of our local, blended French, so, while I’m no techy, I’d like to put the bee in the bonnet of those savvy app developers among us who, I think, could easily develop a translation app to include this blended French.


I’ll even offer up what the wife and I thought of as a catchy name (while sitting on our dock whereby we pay the same amount of taxes as our francophone friends and neighbours. That’s right, FRIENDS!). Ready for it? Tête Carrée. I can just see the little square head/face emoji logo as I write. Pas de problèm; c’est mon plaisir!


Don Alguire

Wolf Lake, QC

Aka: Lac-des-Loups

P.S. A lake by any other name will still float your boat and/or get you wet; non?