April 16, 2009

Canadian/Quebec French on Facebook

I've been taking French in Canada, and every now and then someone is corrected and as professor is explaining something, it has sometimes been explained as been you can't write that, it's Acadian French, they only say it like that in Quebec...or the endlessly belittled Chiac language...but now at least Québécois has been given official recognition by Facebook as distinct from European French. Here's the story from the CBC:



Facebook now available 'en bon québécois'

Social networking website launches French-Canadian version based on users' translations

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 5:09 PM ET

Hundreds of Facebook devotees have helped the popular social networking website translate its contents to create a distinctly French-Canadian version.

'I like the French language, and I try to protect it — on the Internet and in real life. I'm especially proud of Quebec French, also called Canadian French, which is recognized as a different dialect from the European French language.'— Jimmy Lavoie, Facebook user and volunteer translator

A French-language setting has been available on Facebook since last year, but many Canadian francophone users wanted a version that better reflected Quebec French.

So, Facebook created an application to allow users to submit translation suggestions for the site.

More than 1,200 people offered their suggestions.

The French-Canadian language preference was added to the site last week and was officially launched Monday.

"Our goal, essentially, is to let people who use Facebook be able to openly share and connect with people around the world, especially their friends," company spokesman Elmer Sotto told the Canadian Press.

"As we start seeing people use the site, we also start getting a lot of requests from various users asking for a version of Facebook in their native languages."

The European French version – launched in 2008 – refers to "collège" and "lycée" while the French-Canadian platform uses terms familiar to Quebecers such as "CÉGEP" and "école secondaire" to refer to post-secondary college and high school.

"If not for the users translating it into Canadian French, those kind of subtleties and nuances would likely not have ended up being reflected in the final version of Canadian French Facebook," Sotto said.

Facebook has more than 175 million users worldwide and started translating the site in 2008 — first into Spanish, then French and German. Users around the world have since helped translate the site into Arabic, Hebrew and Mandarin.

One of the most active translators for the French-Canadian platform was Jimmy Lavoie, 16. The Quebec teenager contributed more than 56,000 words, and 8,000 phrases to the translation application.

"My goal was to help create a site that feels natural and comfortable to French Canadians," Lavoie wrote in a blog posting on Facebook's corporate website.

"I like the French language, and I try to protect it — on the Internet and in real life. I'm especially proud of Quebec French, also called Canadian French, which is recognized as a different dialect from the European French language.

"People spend a lot of time on Facebook in Canada and Quebec, which is why I think it's really important for Facebook to be available in people's native language," Lavoie wrote.

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