Monday, July 20, 2009

French to English: Annual Reports, Part 3

This is my final instalment on French to English terms  used in company annual reports.

I said in an earlier blog that I've read a few good annual reports in my lifetime but there's one that stands out.  Call me biased.  My favorite one so far is that of Johnson & Johnson. 


(image courtesy of

My late father used to work for J&J and he'd bring home the annual report every year.  I remember that one evening  vividly.  He opened his brief case, took out his pharmaceutical notes and put the annual report on his night table.  I picked it up absentmindedly, interested only in the glossy photos.   (I was in my early 20s then and could hardly call myself an annual report reader).  I was just going to leaf through the pages and then put it back on my father's night stand right away.  He always read company stuff before retiring for the evening. 

What happened was I ended up reading the J&J annual report cover to cover. 

It was their Credo that hooked my attention.  They used the English language in its "mostest simplicity." Simple words that conveyed strong beliefs - and honesty. 

The J&J Credo states that the company's primary responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and to the men and women who use the company's products.  Their final responsibility is to the shareholders.  It wasn't long-winded.  It was direct.  It was eloquent. 

Two and a half decades later, I am happy to know that the J&J Credo has not changed.  My father would have been pleased as well.  Robert Wood Johnson drafted the Credo in 1943 before the company went public.  You can view the video and read the text here:

Let's tackle those terms now:



ratio de la marge d'exploitation net profit ratio
principes comptables généralement reconnus (PCGR) generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
système de mesure des indicateurs de rendement (SMIR) key performance indicators measurement system (KPIMS)
carnet de commandes order backlog
nombre d'actions ordinaires number of common shares
ratio de la dette rajustée adjusted debt ratio
gestion des risques risk management
structure du capital capital structure
cotes de crédit credit ratings
instruments financiers dérivés derivative financial instruments

My last six blogs were on legalese and annual reports.  I think it's time to shift gears and look at those terms that both men and women like to treat themselves to, purse strings permitting:  the SPA! 

Come visit and get a terminology massage treat!

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