My husband used to drive truck throughout Quebec on a regular basis. He wasn’t bilingual, but knew enough to get himself through the Province. Although he took high school French he never used it after that until he began trucking. In his early years the company he drove for went to the same place most of the time so as long as he got the exit correct there was no problem. Everyone at the location he went to spoke English so the language wasn’t an issue. Later in his driving career he worked for a company that operated in Ontario and Quebec only. This is where he noticed his lack of knowledge of French would become an issue. He had a regular trip to Quebec and after a few months he was starting to pick up the language. Of course he was always trying to learn but it would only come so fast.
He did have a few stories that were quite funny such as the time he had this in depth conversation with an engineer on a customer site about life in general. He said the engineer was trying to speak English and my husband was trying to speak French. The results were hilarious. He had another proud moment when some hunters from New York State were trying to order lunch and he had to help them order from the menu. The waitress seemed to understand what he said as he had just ordered his lunch. He said he left the restaurant shortly after ordering so he hopes the hunters received the burger and fries he ordered for them. He always used to say that he would rather be stuck in a traffic jam in New York than Quebec only because he could read the signs.
So if you are a driver that travels into Quebec even if it is just passing through then you may want to spend some time learning a few words that will make your life easier. Learn directional words for left and right,learn what streets and highways are called. Of course knowing your basic road signs will help you stay out of trouble with the law. Learning the basics of a menu will help you keep eating in a restaurant, and of course learning about Canadian money in French will help you give the correct change. I will have some future posts to help through some translation challenges. If you begin to learn a few words at a time you will quickly start to gain vocabulary that will help you on your travels through Quebec. There are many people that speak English, but they always appreciate when someone tries to communicate in their native language. Try it you may just turn bilingual over time.
About the Author
Carmen Outridge is the owner of Outridge Translation Services which is a division of Outridge Enterprises Inc. Her business offers English / French translation services for clients dealing with the Province of Quebec. To learn more about Outridge Translation, Services visit their website at www.outridgetranslation.com