Hockey Canada 'lacking linguistic sensibility'

Incorrect English-French translations

By Mathieu Turbide, QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - Hockey Canada has temporarily closed its online store in both French and English so that the numerous French-language errors on the site can be fixed.

Several items for sale, such as children's jerseys and T-shirts were incorrectly translated from English on the site, which sells clothing and promotional items in the colours of the Canadian Olympic hockey team.

Hockey Canada suspend operations of that portion of the site and asked the sub-contractor who created it, Elastic Path, to fix the errors.

"Hockey Canada communicated with Elastic Path and the store will be closed until we rectify the situation and the French version is (correct)," said communications director Andre Brin.

According to Brin, the commercial section of the Hockey Canada site was likely translated "internally" by the sub-contractor, while the rest of the site was done using a professional translator from Montreal.

"Obviously, of the 15,000 pages of our site, it is possible that mistakes slide in in French, just like in English," Brin said.

The publication of a site so full of French errors and in the translation irked the president of the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes du Québec (OTTIQ), Francois Abraham.

He said that it was troubling that a major organization such as Hockey Canada was lacking in "linguistic sensibility".

"I understand that the work was done by someone else, but you still need to revise the work and ensure that it is well done," he said, suggesting that companies need to be careful about using online translation tools, such as Babelfish or Google Translator. "People say that (the programs are) easy to use, but you have to be careful.²

Abraham added that while these online tools weren't bad to use, they are designed to give only general idea of the meaning of a text written in a foreign language.

He also said that such mistakes can be damaging to a business.

"We know, for example, for hockey, Quebeckers are important consumers," he said, adding that they probably don't enjoy being mocked by this "lack of sensibility".

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