Lionbridge Learning Series
The Ins and Outs of Doing Business in Québec
What Will Be Covered:
1. Canadian Multiculturalism
2. Introduction to Canadian Language Laws
3. Localizing for Québec French
4. The Marketing Mix Québec Responds to
Canada is the first country to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy.
– Affirms the value and dignity of all citizens regardless of ethnic origins,
language, or religions affiliation.
The 1971 Multiculturalism Policy of Canada:
– Protects rights of the Aboriginal people
– Confirmed the status of Canada’s two official languages
Canadian Language Laws
Canada’s two official languages, English and French, are a fundamental
characteristic of Canadian identity.
• Official Languages Act
– Enacted in 1969
– Equal status given to English and French
– Gives citizens access to federal services in language of choice
Québec Language Laws
• The Official Language Act & The Charter
of the French Language
– Makes French the sole official language of
– Allow Québécois population to live and assert
themselves in French
Québec Language Laws
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE
• Products for
• Your company
has an OQLF
WHAT GETS TRANSLATED?
• Product Labels
Any business registered in Québec must
comply with the Québec Language Charter.
• Exception: Company names with
registered trademarks are not required to
be translated into French
– Registered French versions of your
trademark will get priority
– Optional regulations ask you include a French
descriptor or slogan to clarify your business
Rule of Thumb
To comply with
• French must be
• If text size is the
same, French must
All workers in Québec have the
right to work in French.
• Under the charter, you must provide
documents, tools, and more in
WHAT GETS TRANSLATED?
• Work tools
• Use during
Importance of French in Québec
• French is the official language of Québec
• Québécois are proud of their linguistic and
• Residents want to preserve the use of the
• Want to safeguard the survival of the Québécois
Need to be respectful of this when operating
Speak the Local Language
Metropolitan French is what we are accustomed to translating and
• Metropolitan French evolved directly from European roots
• Québec French differs, as it has had a stronger English influence in the
past 300 years
– Once France ceded in 1763, Québec French evolved in isolation from
Metropolitan French as we know it now
Localizing for Québec French
USE OF CAPITALIZATION
Québec is home to 8.3 million people - roughly a quarter of
0 to 9 10 to 19 20 to 29 30 to 39 40 to 49 50 to 59 60 to 69 70+
French Language Dominance
- 1,000,000 2,000,000 3,000,000 4,000,000 5,000,000 6,000,000 7,000,000
Spoken at Home
French English Both
- 500,000 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000 3,500,000 4,000,000 4,500,000 5,000,000
Canadien/Canadian French Other
Québec is too big to ignore for national and
international brands seeking growth and relevance.
Global Consumers Today
90% 70% 75% 20%
of all online
business is done in
of web users are
not native English
speakers will not
buy from an
• Generally speaking, you will see a higher ROI
using traditional advertising methods
• Local publications, programming is more likely
to be in local
• Add local flavor to your offerings and your
• Make your brand easily searchable
• Focus attention to Facebook and YouTube
• French speaking users log onto social media
to connect with friends, family before
engaging with content
Consider local social execution.
– Customer interaction should be near
instantaneous and in language
Daily Social Media Usage
Facebook YouTube Google+ LinkedIn
Mobile & Connected Devices
• Low penetration of mobile devices in
• Becoming more connected, especially
• TV, radio, and other traditional media
are still quite popular in the province
Hours Spent Online per Week,
Desktop Laptop Mobile
Providing Customer Support
• Global brands need local contact
pages, service reps
• Respond to inquiries in language
– No response, or response in English
will damage reputation
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
Why Do Consumers in Québec
Stop Liking a Brand?
Stopped Liking Brand
No Response to Inquiry
No Content in Preferred Langauge
Content not Relevant
Posts too Frequent
No Response in Preferred Langauge
Develop the Right Set of Linguistic Tools
A set of rules for how your brand
presents itself textually and visually
A database containing key terminology
used by your brand and their approved
translations in all languages
Culturally neutral templates for imagery,
web interface, digital ads, etc.
Brief providing key information to
translators and copywriters
Case Study: Why Target Failed in Québec
Target failed to align their localization
strategy with their global strategy.
– In 2013: Local integrated marketing campaign
launches in English and French.
– In 2015: Local shopping habits unaccounted for.
Stores close across Canada
– In 2017: Ecommerce only, no global gateway
page. No localization options until checkout
Speak the local language.
Businesses will be rewarded for tailoring their story to the
market. Adjusting your offer and adapting your messaging
will go a long way to creating stronger bonds with
customers in market.
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