Language bureaucrats take aim at appliance wording
Quebec’s language bureaucrats are taking aim at appliances.
This time the offenders are appliances carrying words such as: bake, broil, spin cycle and sensor cook.
The Office de la Langue Francaise said that about 1,100 of the 7,600 complaints it received last year focused on the language of words printed on appliances.
Only about 20 percent of appliances sold in Quebec are souped up with French texts, according to the agency.
The government will ask appliance manufacturers to include French words on their machines.
They will give the companies two years to comply.
The issue had not been prominent in the public eye up until now.
One Montreal economist suggested that the timing of the announcement might be strategic.
“There's a precedent here. These products have been sold into the market prior to his requirement and why hasn't it been a requirement to this point?” asked William Polushin of McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management.
The minister in charge of the dossier notes that other countries such as Brazil and France have managed to get appliance manufacturers to get local languages on their machines.
Quebec should also be in that group, she said.
“I think this is very normal in a province where the official language is French,” said Minister of Culture and Communications Christine St-Pierre.
Some merchants feel that new language restrictions could hurt them or put them out of business.
“We wouldn’t be able to sell about 80 percent of the products that we sell,” said Montreal high-end appliance retailer Pascal Maluoni. “But they’ll still be available elsewhere. Just because we won’t have them in Quebec, doesn’t mean Ontario won’t have them.”