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Canadian French marketing translations in a Naturalizer storefrontIf you’re looking for Canadian French marketing translations to expand to the Canadian market, you’ve come to the right place! The Canadian market is not entirely homogenous to the US market, and as large retailers have experienced in the past, it takes quite a bit of time and investment in order to get it right in Canada.

Retailers in Québec are mandated to communicate with customers in French, as established in the Charter of the French language and enforced by Québécois Office of the French language (OQLF) – (read about our services for the Francization process). There are specific rules that protect the French-speaking consumer from having to obtain information on commercial goods and services in a language other than French. Where most retailers may take a phased approach to introducing Spanish-language marketing and other materials in the US based on market research, in Québec it is required by law that all in-store advertising is in French and markedly predominant over any other language.

Our experience in Canadian French marketing translations spans for over a decade, with experience in e-commerce, retail management software, in-store marketing, and advertising (direct mail and online). In this post, we will discuss the importance of terminology management and brand consistency as retailers take on the Canadian market.

You can read more about the typographical differences of French translation for Canada and other important considerations here.

Canadian French marketing communications

With such a wide variety of brand messages and terminology, it is important that your Canadian French marketing translations provide consumers a message that is consistent, accurate, and understandable to the local market. Furthermore, as described in our Francization process, certain terminology is standard in Québec and should be used. It is highly recommended to run terminology decisions through a professional linguist that subscribes to and follows the terminology changes published by the Canadian government and/or the OQLF.

Brand consistency can be a challenge. There can be many players, including store managers in Canada, district managers and marketing managers, who may each have their own reference for terminologCanadian French marketing translations for Famous Footwear's rewards programy. Therefore, if your company is based in the US and you are translating your materials, your translator may choose different terminology than what store employees use internally.  It’s imperative to take control over the most important brand terms, cataloging them in a glossary or termbase and standardizing them throughout the organization.

For instance, think of the name of a customer loyalty or rewards program. The name of this type of program will appear in many different places, including in-store marketing, POS, email marketing, and online. All these areas may be managed by different people and departments. Without a centralized effort towards terminology management and a clear direction, the roll-out of such a program in Canada can be delayed or end up being inconsistent, resulting in confusion and potential consumer dissatisfaction.

Canadian French Employee HR communications

A bilingual employee manual in English and FrenchImmigration policies in Canada make it hard for US-based retailers to relocate company talent over to Canada. This means that there is a strong need for local French language expertise who can communicate brand message correctly and provide effective employee communications in French.

When we helped one of our retail clients to enter the Canadian market, all HR employee communication had to be rolled out in both English and French. A centralized effort in terminology management was key to employee engagement and effective roll-out of HR policies. We collected a few hundred terms ahead of time that needed to be agreed upon before we could start translation. Disagreements on terminology after the translation process has started can be costly, as a term may appear in many different places and would require manual processes to change them throughout.

We often find terminology that is company-specific and needs to be explained. There may be concepts that need to be adjusted to industry-wide terms that are already used in the retail world. As US-based companies need to hire from within the retail industry in Canada, their policies and concepts need to either be made relevant or training materials need to effectively explain the store’s management concept.

One challenge is the use of software technology that has already been localized. Our client in the previous example had a Point of Sale (POS) Manual that needed translation. Their software was already partially localized and we had to make sure that terms used in the software did not conflict with terms already approved in other company materials. Through this review, we identified areas where the POS software needed to be updated in order for it to be relevant to the store’s management policies. Without a conscious effort to manage the terminology in all aspects, there is a high risk for inconsistencies and ineffective policies. Inconsistencies between what is in the user manual and what appears on the screen may lead to confusion about how to operate efficiently in the software.

What we do

We use Translation Memory software to capture terminology and automatically apply it to any piece that we translate. Building a catalog of approved brand terms provides a clear direction for Canadian French marketing translations that will be used in-store, online, in direct mail, and by employees, as well as in inventory and POS systems.

Our Project Management is dedicated to managing and organizing people and processes in order to roll out translation in a coordinated way. It’s often underestimated, but having a dedicated project manager who serves as a single and central point of contact through whom all information flows adds tremendous value.

Finally, we only work with dedicated teams of translators with specific industry expertise. Too often, we talk with clients whose vendor handed off translations to any translator who is available for the job. Our dedicated teams not only make use of the available technology for consistency, but also know about past translation decisions and have become familiar with the client. This makes for a smooth translation process and collaboration with our clients.

We specialize in Canadian French marketing translations.  If you are a business in the U.S. thinking of expanding into Canada, give us a call to see how we can help you succeed in this market.