AKA – Why did my French girlfriend ghost me?

Paris, 1938. William, a young man from New York, has traveled to France to care for his  ailing mother. Knowing her days are ending, she makes it a point to introduce him to Marie, her young French bed nurse. In Marie’s broken English and William’s clumsy, almost non-existent French, they talk. William’s mother passes away, and Marie helps him grieve.  Weeks pass, they fall in love. He returns to the U.S.,  but they fulfill their promises of writing each other each month. Time passes, and they excitedly make plans to reunite. Marie writes, “We shall meet at noon on 3/2/39, at the café by the Seine where we first conversed.”

William takes the journey via steamship and shows up in his new suit on March second, only to wait hours alone at an empty table. He asks around, but no one has seen Marie for weeks. One waiter recalls seeing her there, also waiting for many hours, perhaps on February third. Heartbroken, he returns home and soon moves to Boston, never to see Marie again.

The cause of this missed love connection? A failure to account for localization

Marie wrote that they would meet on 3/2/39, which in standard French, would be read as February 3, 1939. William read it in the common US format of MM/DD/YY, and arrived over a month late. Tragic. A lack of localization claims two more victims.

Localization involves all the little odds and ends that are necessary to make a translation “work” for its intended audience. Is your Winnipeg company billing someone in Australia and not specifying Australian or Canadian dollars? You could be in for some nasty disagreements. Does your Tinder profile in South America not give your height in meters, but says you “are six feet?” That’s going to sound very odd and no one is going to swipe right.

Localization Translations

Most translations involve at least a minor form of localization. Entering foreign markets requires a great deal of it in order to entice potential customers with engaging advertising. Machine translation rarely accounts for this, so if you have an important project (or important love interest), make sure you are accounting for localization by turning to a professional translation agency like APlus Translations.

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