Have you ever saved someone due to translation issues? I guess it is possible, but maybe not life or death. Let me share a story about how this could possibly happen.
My husband was a truck driver learning French with his weekly trips to Quebec. He had been learning the basics of reading signs, menus, and taking directions. All the everyday things that a truck driver would require on the road. I still remember the time he came home excited that he had saved some lives earlier that day in a remote restaurant. Originally I was horrified until ai heard the story.
He came home from his regular trip exhausted, but excited at a task he had been able to handle earlier in the day. He had taken a trip deeper into Quebec than normal to fill in for a colleague and found himself in Northern Quebec. He was sitting in a small restaurant and had just finished his meal when two people sat at a table near his.
The waitress asked the two men what they wanted to drink and they managed to squeak out coffee and then she went away leaving the menus with the men. When she returned with the coffee she began to take their orders. As the menus were in French they were unable to tell the waitress their order. This is where my husband stepped in. He asked the men what they wanted and then proceeded to tell the waitress in French what the men had ordered. He was extremely excited to have learned enough French that he was able to help someone else.
Was it life and death? Probably not, but his defence is that the men may have died if they didn’t eat any food, that’s the life and death part. The two men were going hunting in the area and were from New York State. My husband felt comfortable in what he ordered, but he also said he left before their order arrived so he hoped they got what they wanted. Translation may not be life and death stuff, but there are two men eating because of it. If you’re a hunter learn your French!
About the Author
Carmen Outridge owns Outridge Translation Services offering English to French translation services for those operating in the Province of Quebec. She has been in the translation industry for over 30 years and is from the Province of Quebec. If you have documents you need translated then visit www.outridgetranslation.com and have your translation completed the way Quebec expects it.