Much ado about…..


Translate My Blog – A Little Canadian History

Posted by gottabkd on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am Canadian …. Sixth generation Canadian, with major roots in the Windsor-Buxton-Chatham communities of south western Ontario… and noooo, I am not from Nova Scotia as some of you who have met me, automatically think … Ontario is my home province.

Canada is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual country of settlers and while most cannot say they are more than two or three generations Canadian, most believe Canada to be their “home and native land”.

Canada was built on the backs of immigrants from all over the world, whom without them Canada would not be the Nation it is today.


Many years ago, in response to a more assertive French-speaking Quebec, the federal government officially became bilingual with the Official Languages Act of 1969. This was totally the highlight of the career of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who at that time was the prime minister of Canada and a Francaphone himself. Without him, I believe Canada’s Official Language would only be English.


The Official Languages Act of Canada is

…. a law adopted by the Parliament of Canada in 1969 and substantially amended in 1988. The law gives English and French equal status in the government of Canada. This makes them “official” languages, having preferred status in law over all other languages. Although the Official Languages Act is not the only piece of federal language law, it is the keystone legislation of Official Bilingualism in Canada.

The definition used in the regulations is complex, but basically an area of the country is served in both languages if at least 5,000 persons in that area, or 5% of the local population (whichever is smaller), belongs to that province’s English or French linguistic minority population. [4]

For example, Section 20 of the Charter guarantees the right of the Canadian public to communicate in English and French with any central government office or with regional offices where there is “a significant demand for communication with and services from that office.” Significant demand is not defined in the Charter of Rights. One of the purposes of the Official Languages Act of 1988 was to remedy this omission.

But did you know that French is also an official language in 31 countries around the world, forming what is called in French, La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking nations.
Did you also know that it is one of six official languages of all United Nations agencies including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish?

But here is the thing…. when a French speaking individual wants or needs services outside the province of Quebec, the law states he/she can/should be able to get it…. yet when an English speaking Canadian tries to get service within the province of Quebec, well it is nearly impossible to even get acknowledgment, let alone service (speaking from experience of course).

My point really, is that this is an English blog, by an English speaking/writing Canadian, and although Je parle le très petit français, I make no bones about being able to read, write, let alone speak Canada’s 2nd (not 1st, but 2nd. Should really be 3rd as the Métis were here before the French) official language with any great finesse.. I only get by…. sad but true.


I have found several good translators that will translate a phrase, paragraph or a whole blog page into practically any language you desire.

Yahoo! Babel Fish is very good. All they ask is that for accuracy you use the best possible grammar you can for the highest translation quality. You can also enter the URL of a site and get it all translated into your mother tongue.

Google Groups has a French to English translator that you can download to your desktop. I have not tried this one, but would be handy if you could put it on a PDA and use it while travelling abroad.

Google Translate is an online version worth using.

Reverso Translation also works well and is online. It also has an online dictionary and conjugator.

Free has an online translator that is also good. My phrase above “I speak very little French” came out slightly different as: Je parle le très petit français which translates back to “I speak the very small French” but I guess it means the same. (see French is not that easy!!)

So if you are visiting from Quebec, France, Spain or anywhere really, and English is not your first language, may I suggest that for your reading pleasure, you use one of the above translating tools. After all, I want you to enjoy yourself while here and come back again for more.

Au revoir et venir encore….. 😉

Till Next Time….. Tags: , , , ,

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2 Responses to “Translate My Blog – A Little Canadian History”

  1. This is a very informative post. I expected something totally different and have now become, like my slogan on my blog, wiser by hindsight. I shall be regularly visiting your blog.

  2. gottabkd said

    Hello Ramana,
    Thanks for stopping by and visiting.
    I am glad you found this post informative. I too also believe “that all wisdom is by hindsight” for it is experience that makes us wise…. I only wish hindsight would come sooner than it does as forsight with wisdom would save us all a lot of grief…. 🙂
    Best reagards and do come back again…

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