Monday, November 30, 2009

French to English: Marketing, Part 1

How are marketing and advertising different?

Hint:  think of advertising as just a small part of marketing.

Instead of defining them, why don't I give some examples:

  • slogans and catchy titles constitute advertising; where to use those slogans and catchy titles and how often they should be used constitutes marketing;
  • billboards, flyers and posters and TV and radio spots make up advertising; deciding how to optimise those billboards, flyers and posters as well as TV and radio ads to turn target audiences into customers belong to the realm of marketing;
  • advertising is announcing your product or service using one medium or several media; marketing is a process that incorporates advertising as one component of the entire marketing strategy;
  • advertising is the execution or outcome of a specific marketing strategy; marketing is a systematic sequence of steps to promote a product or service and is executed to target the desired demographics.

Take this blog as an example.  Notice the ads on the right hand bar which are placed there by Google's AdSense team?  Do I have advertising on my blog?  The answer is yes.  Do I have a marketing strategy for my blog?  No, I don't.  I wouldn't know where to begin.

Why is it that people like Darren Rowse and other successful bloggers can use their blogs as a springboard for other creative endeavors - like start a community or sell a product online? Why is it that successful bloggers morph into successful entrepreneurs overnight just by attracting - and maintaining - a faithful following of admirers?

The answer:  clever marketing!  What else could it be?

Let's go to the bigger players.  Have you watched the movie, Twilight New Moon yet?   It hit the box office, and is doing superbly well as its predecessor, Twilight.  Why the sudden fascination with vampires?  vampire The concept was supposed to appeal to teens, but according to surveys and marketing polls, Twilight New Moon is also attracting the middle aged and the almost senior group.

The big players - Burger King, Volvo and AT&T - are now capitalising on the movie's popularity by launching marketing campaigns to attract other "demographics."

Brian Quinton, who writes for Promo (an online marketing site) cited Linda Gangeri, national advertising manager of Volvo US:  “From pre-teens to 50-, 60-year-olds, women are in love with this series,” she said. “We’ve targeted our media buy in this campaign to appeal mainly to women 18-54. The movie has given us a chance to expose our brand to a much larger audience, and to get people to think differently about the brand.”

Gangeri also explained that a Volvo car was driven in the movie by Edward, the main star of Twilight, but Volvo did not really do anything about it. It was only after they experienced a spike in traffic to their web site and when their dealerships received calls about the car did they realize that a marketing strategy could be developed to promote the Volvo name.

Burger King, Volvo and AT&T are not the only ones who have capitalized on Twilight and New Moon.  Clothing retailers Nordstrom and Kohl have also hopped into the marketing train to introduce Twilight-inspired apparel, says Brian Quinton.

That, ladies and gentlemen is the essence of marketing.

If you want to sell a product or service, you need marketing savvy.  If you don't have the talent, you can always pay for that savvy.  But you'll have to tell your marketer what your goals are.

Before I give your marketing terms in French and English, I'd like to briefly mention that the idea for this blog was inspired by someone who goes by the user name "FitJerk" and by Darren Rowse, both of Problogger dot com.  They had worthwhile recommendations on how to market a blog and make it appeal to a wider audience!



marketing (although purists might prefer commercialisation) marketing
plan marketing marketing plan
points d'influence influence points
part de marché market share
croissance du marché market growth
stratégie de positionnement positioning strategy
cycle de vie du produit product life cycle
profil client customer profile
annonce imprimée printed marketing materials
l'achat de temps de radio buying radio time
publicité des tiers, cadeaux et bouche à oreille publicity, giveaways and word of mouth
marketing direct:  publicité, telemarketing et publipostage direct marketing: direct response ads, direct mail and telemarketing
bannière publicitaire banner ad

This blog won't attract a sudden tsunami of visitors just because I talked about how a company crafted a marketing tie-in to Twilight New Moon - the latest rage -  but if it can increase my page impressions based on Google's definition, then that should be good enough...for now!

Friday, November 27, 2009

French to English: Actuarial Science, Part 3

Since actuaries spend their days performing mathematical and statistical calculations, I wondered if they had a set actuary, part 3 formula or equation for calculating a person's life span.  I poked around the World Wide Web and found two sites that might interest you.  I didn't find the magic formula, but there were two sites that provided a good idea of how life expectancy is calculated.  The real calculation, I would think, would apply on a case-to-case basis where several factors will have to be considered.  But these two sites should shed some light.  Plus, it's a good way to entertain yourself.

The first one is a fun game consisting of about a dozen questions.  It is called the Longevity Game which the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance invented. Each question you answer results in the age tabulator spewing out a number on the right side.  This number (your age expectancy) changes depending on your answer.

I took the test and the age tabulator spit it out without mercy.  Looks like I'm going to live till age 94, barring any unforeseen you know what.  I'll need to buy a larger piggy bank then.  At 94, how much brain and leg power will I have left?  Sure, I'd love to live till 94, but make that a productive and pleasant 94.

The second life span calculation site is not as light-hearted as the first.  It takes actuarial considerations for determining a person's lifetime.  It was created by the Foundation for Infinite Survival Inc of Berkeley's Life Extension and Control of Ageing Program.  This calculation takes 10 pages in total.  If you really want to take a more serious look into how long you'll live, print the pages and do the calculations manually.   If you don't want to do the entire 10-page calculation, David Garrison did an automated calculation - click on the words "automated calculation" in red.

To take the Longevity Game, click here:

To take the 10-page calculation (it's not as intimidating as you think because it's laid out logically and clearly), click here:

Calculating your life span is not rocket science.  The usual questions apply:  your present age, your lifestyle (how much you drink and smoke, whether or not you have dangerous or risky hobbies, how often you exercise), and there are questions about your forefathers and their medical history.  Specific health questions relate to family members dying from cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Just for fun, take the Longevity Game by Northwestern Mutual or the one by the Foundation for Infinite Survival Inc.  When you know - more or less - your age expectancy, it will help you decide how large a piggy bank you need to buy.  Or you might be persuaded to set up  appointments with a life insurer and financial planner.  And if you have friends who are actuaries, have them over for dinner.

Here is your third set of French to English terms for Actuarial Science:




frais d'acquisition reputés afférents aux polices deferred policy acquisition expenses
régime (de retraite) à participation (différée) aux bénéfices deferred profit sharing plan
degré d'invalidité (ou de l'incapacité) degree of disablement
pénalité de retard delay penalty
acquisition en bloc delayed full vesting
coéfficient d'ajournement delayed retirement factor
hypothèses démographiques demographic assumptions
passif-dépôts deposit liabilities
fraction amortie du coût depreciable cost
rente de veuf invalide disabled widower's pension
matrice des covariances dispersion (covariance) matrix
garantie épuisée exhausted limit

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

French to English: Actuarial Science, Part 2

There are at least three professional associations that represent the actuarial science profession in North America:

  • Canadian Institute of Actuaries
  • Society of Actuaries
  • Casualty Actuarial Society

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) has a 16-member Secretariat based in Ottawa and looks after communications and publications including overseeing volunteers, managing the web site and carrying out translation.   Since they are the national organization for professional actuaries, people who are thinking of studying in this discipline will want to keep the CIA as a point of reference.  The organization is large:  a Board of Directors with 16 actuaries on staff, three councils that look after the association's main functions, 40 committees and 15 task forces! 

On their web site's FAQ section, one of the questions addressed is what it takes to become an actuary.  First, you have to love mathematics, plain and simple, and have a knack for it.  This is the first requirement that is mentioned.  Second, you need the patience for doing detailed calculations and spending  hours in probabilities and statistics.  probabaility

The CIA adds, "the study of life contingencies, which deals with the probability of survival, is an essential part of actuarial education."  While these requirements are technical, actuaries should also be capable of developing skills that go beyond technical expertise.  A background in economics, finance and business, as well as the ability to communicate well are important, particularly for those who want to transition into consultancy or advisory roles.  All that technical knowledge must be communicated to laymen in clear, easy-to-understand concepts.  If an actuary can do this with ease, that is a huge plus.

The CIA does not conduct exams or administer certification procedures.  This is done by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), which is based in Schaumburg, Illinois.  It supposedly is the largest professional organization of actuaries in the world, serving 20,000 members, 30,000 candidates and the general public.  They conduct exams and confer three designations - ASA, CERA and FSA - which the Canadian Institute of Actuaries recognizes.  The CIA, however, will require that a candidate has the FCIA certification in order to practice.  For more information about the SOA, click here:

The CAS - Casualty Actuarial Society - is based in Arlington, Virginia.  They have a narrower focus:  to promote the study of actuarial science as applied to property, casualty and similar risk exposures.  Actuaries seeking to specialize in property and casualty risk management will need to take the exam administered by the CAS.  To prepare for this exam, the CAS provides a  syllabus of examination.  Exam applicants can join e-mail study groups (of which there are 9 exam study groups).  There is a Canadian study group (exam study group # 7.  To join any of these groups, go to



prestations déterminées defined benefits
assurance-vie populaire debit life insurance
déclaration de désistement declaration of renunciation
contestation de la validité du contrat declaration that the policy is forfeited
rente décroissante declining annuity
rachat de la franchise deductible buy-back
perte déductible deductible loss
vétusté déductible deduction for ageing
ajournement de l'option entre les prestations deferment of choice of benefit
période du différé deferral period
assurance différée deferred assurance
assurance à participation différée deferred dividend insurance

Friday, November 20, 2009

French to English: Actuarial Science, Part 1

Have you ever wondered how insurance and finance companies determine premiums, rates, risks and other factors that make you shell out more in premium payments each year?

I am intrigued by these tables that spew out statistics math (blog on actuarial science) on how age determines the premiums to be paid on say, a life insurance plan, taking into account the standard questions of "do you smoke" "what prescription drugs are you taking" or "any dangerous hobbies?"

When agents sell you insurance and are satisfied that you answered their questions honestly, they fish out a table that looks longer than your arm, and then voila - they've got the amount you have to pay each month!

Actuarial Science is a field of study that would fascinate someone who enjoys number-crunching.  It combines the disciplines of mathematics and statistics to evaluate risks in the insurance and finance business.

A report I read in the Wall Street Journal years ago said that if you were an actuary (a person who is trained in  actuarial science and practices it) and live in the US, you have the second best job in the country.  I wonder if that's still true today.  That observation must apply to Canada as well.

Actuarial Science can be studied in both the undergraduate and graduate level.  Graduates should not have problems finding jobs in this field.  The University of Waterloo (Ontario) enjoys the reputation of being the best actuarial school in North America and "even the world;"  at least this is what the University of Waterloo itself is saying, but it is a credible statement.  I mean, how many actuaries do you know?  You're bound to meet lawyers, accountants and doctors every week, but actuaries? 

As an actuarial science graduate, what kind of career can you get into?  If you're looking for a job in insurance and pension management companies, you can work as an actuarial analyst, a personal lines analyst, an operations actuarial associate or as a consultant.

Students studying actuarial science are strongly encouraged to include computer science courses in their academic program.  Those with above average statistical and numerical analysis abilities as well as communication skills usually land in top-paying actuarial jobs or are fast-tracked to promotion.

When I was at McGill University completing my Certificate in Translation, I got into the habit of scavenging for technical lexicons and databases in both French and English.  These lexicons are like diamonds in the rough to a translator.  When I stumbled upon a lexicon  of actuarial science terms, I was's a valuable lexicon that will stay in my safety vault for a long, long time!

I'll share 36 terms with you in my next 3 blogs.  Here's the first 12:



rapport sinistres/primes théorique calculated loss ratio
fixation des prestations/calcul des prestations calculation of benefits
Régime de pensions du Canada Canada Pension Plan
résiler, ristourner cancel a policy
police annulable cancellable policy
risque de capacité capacity risk
assurance de remboursement de capital capital redemption insurance
report des primes d'assurance carry-over of insurance rates
directeur du service des assurances accidents casualty manager
courtier diplômé chartered underwriter
indemnité journalière daily compensation
date de constitution su sinistre date of ascertainment of loss

For my next blog, what does it take to become an actuary and what associations can represent me as a professional actuary?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

French to English: H1N1, Part 3

mask As we come to this final instalment of H1N1 terms, it looks like a lot of the excitement in the last few weeks has now reached a plateau.  The latest news is that so far 6 million Canadians have been vaccinated, and of that number only 36 have experienced side effects.  Operations are going smoothly.  Response to the vaccine is 96%; that is, the rate at which the H1N1 offers protection to those who get the shot.  An encouraging sign, considering that the response rate to seasonal flu vaccines falls between 60%-80%.

Provincial governments in Canada have their respective web sites on H1N1, and the federal government's web site is

The federal government classifies adverse reactions into (a) allergies and (b) convulsions.  In my last blog, I wrote that some 60 people have died from the swine flu.  Today, however, that number went up to 198.  What's ironic is that 4,000-8,000 Canadians die from the seasonal flu every year.  Compare that to the 198 who have died from the swine flu - and it raises questions.

But I'm no doctor.  I'm not going to question why our government has launched this massive vaccination campaign.  The young hockey player in Toronto who died from swine flu about three weeks ago probably convinced authorities that we shouldn't take any chances.

Here are some prevention measures you can take (source:  Self-care Guide, Quebec government):

  • wash your hands frequently (in the absence of water and soap, use antiseptic paper towels)
  • avoid contact with infected people
  • get vaccinated
  • wear a face mask
  • rest (if you're feeling out of sorts)
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • keep your home clean
  • if you have young kids at home, teach them basic hygiene

Just to clarify the Second Wave concept:  the Canadian government reports that this Second Wave arrived in late October this year.  It simply means that there has been an increased rate of H1N1 activity in certain parts of the country.  This was expected.  Although some deaths have resulted from this Second Wave, most of the cases that were or are being treated are mild.  But the public needs to be vigilant.

The term "Second Wave" sends a shudder down my spine.  Should I be watching that 2012 movie?  And for good measure, should I be stocking up on face masks?  Perhaps a fashion designer can come up with masks à la mode?

Here is your final set of French/English terms:



toux cough
début soudain sudden onset
douleurs et courbatures aches and pains
nausées et vomissements nausea and vomiting
mal de gorge sore throat
douleur thoracique chest pain
pleurs rauques rasping cries
mal de ventre abdominal pain
essouflement shortness of breath
anticorps antibodies
serviettes alcoolisées antiseptic towelettes
le vaccin saisonnier seasonal flu vaccine
vaccin contre les infections à pneumocoque pneumococcal vaccine

Friday, November 13, 2009

French to English: H1N1, Part 2

Today's news re H1N1?

Grim.  Grimmer.

Reports say there have been 66 deaths in November so far throughout Canada.  Back in April, no one died from the swine flu; after that, the numbers climbed.  At least the CBC said two nights ago that supplies arrived, one batch with the booster and the other without the booster.  One shipment supposedly came from Australia.

Is the booster intended primarily for people who need stronger protection from the flu because of their susceptibility?  A bit of research led me to a brief video where Dr. M. Marcus was interviewed.  He said that the H1N1 booster should be administered to children under the age of 10.  It is NOT recommended for people who are undergoing chemotherapy.  I'll embed the video here.  The first part is an advertisement, it's not part of the interview.

Higher susceptibility or not, the self care guide published by the Quebec government makes a clear distinction which symptoms warrant staying home and resting, calling Info-Santé, seeing a doctor without delay, or going to the emergency.  The problem with this is that the people suffering from these symptoms could really panic and head straight for the emergency.  There's a thin, blurry line between symptoms that call for a doctor's appointment and symptoms that justify rushing to emergency.

So when should you see a doctor right away?  Answer:  when these symptoms are present (applies to both adults and children):

  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty in breathing
  • vomiting for more than four hours
  • unusual lethargy on the part of the child

And these symptoms mean you'll need to go to the hospital's emergency unit:

  • fever over 38 C plus one of the following:
  • difficulty in breathing that does not improve
  • blue lips
  • severe stiffness in the neck
  • drowsiness, disorientation, confusion
  • convulsions
  • absence of urination for 12 straight hours
  • fever in an infant younger than 3 years old

Quebec's self-care guide is a helpful tool.  Keep it within reach especially if you have small children.  If you are a subscriber to the Montreal Gazette, it should have come as an insert and delivered last week.  If you don't have a copy, you can download it from the web site:  It is available in both English and French.

I'm keeping an eye on developments.  My turn to be vaccinated is on December 7 but I'm wondering if with the latest death toll, the authorities will decide to revise the schedule and aim for all groups to have been vaccinated by the time December rolls in.

I'd hate to be down with the flu - swine or not - during the holidays.

Here are your dozen or so terms:



personnes à risque people at risk
précautions et soins precaution and care
médicaments pour soulager les symptômes medication for relieving symptoms
mesures d'hygiène et de prévention hygiene and prevention measures
usage du masque antiprojections using a face mask
dossier médical personnel personal medical record
lavage des mains handwashing
voies respiratoires lungs and airways
la contagiosité contagiousness
début des symptômes onset of symptoms
gouttelettes du nez et de la bouche droplets from the nose and mouth
maladies du foie liver diseases

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

French to English: H1N1, Part 1

The swine flu is also called hog flu, pig flu or simply swine.  If you have symptoms like high fever, chills, coughing, aching joints, sore throat, headaches and generalized discomfort, see your doctor.  H1N1 a

Two weeks ago, my sister in Florida had flu-ish symptoms and fearing that she might have contracted swine flu went to the nearest clinic.  They took tests; after a few minutes she breathed a sigh of relief.  The tests came out negative.

But what if she was diagnosed with swine flu, she asked the doctor.  He said, "nothing to worry about.  We'll give you a prescription for the tamiflu and let's hope you're up and about in no time." 

I had never heard of tamiflu before so I looked it up. 

Tamiflu is the brand name of a substance called oseltamivir phosphate, an antiviral medication given to children and adults with flu symptoms. But be aware that Tamiflu should not be your first line of defence.  A flu shot is still your # 1 defense and protection.

h1N1 b The H1N1 virus can affect individuals who work with pigs; you don't get it from the foods you eat but do make sure the food is thoroughly cooked in case it's contaminated.

And do pay heed to what the media and the government are saying, especially when they talk about vaccination schedules.  If the World Health Organization, United Nations, general physicians, bacteriologists and pathologists are saying that everyone, regardless of health, must be vaccinated, then there must be credibility there.  If you lean towards the conspiracy theories that are circulating around, at least obtain information and opinions from the other side of the fence. 

The best argument is why take the chance?  It's free, it's safe and if kids are being vaccinated, then whatever side effects are being trumpeted about are no doubt negligible.

Here in Montreal, there was some confusion at first.  There were angry outbursts, frustrations, complaints and accusations about people getting preferential treatment.  Parents with young children were at their wits' end.  Most of the commotion has now subsided.  The papers are sending out constant reminders by publishing schedules, locations and hours.  There are also inserts and flyers.

Do yourself a favor.  Diarise your turn so you won't forget.  When this all started, I was skeptical.  But I've done my homework and like it or not, I'll have to show up at my health centre on December 7 and get that shot.



Grippe H1N1 H1N1 influenza
doses disponibles available doses
vacciner groupes en priorité vaccinate priority groups
calendrier de vaccination vaccination schedule
centre de vaccination vaccination centre
graves maladies chroniques severe chronic diseases
travailleurs de la santé health care workers
premiers répondants first responders
soutien à domicile in-home support services
personnes immunosupprimées immunosuppressed people
femmes enceintes pregnant women
symptômes de la grippe flu symptoms
guide autosoins self-care guide

Saturday, November 7, 2009

French to English: iPod, Part 3


Ever wondered how many iPods were produced by Apple in any given year?  Every wonder how many kids own one?  And ever wonder how many iPods a user has owned since the first generation iPods came out?

kids ipod Time to play the numbers game!  Jonny Evans who wrote an article last year for Macworld UK reported that many iPod users in England are under 10 years old.  Thirty one percent of British kids own an MP3 player and half of them are iPods.

Evans also says that if you looked into a kid's collection, the collection would look like this:

  • 125 songs
  • 10 TV shows
  • 15 movies

Jordon Golson of Valleywag, another online magazine, said that Apple sold 52.6 million iPods globally in 2007 alone.  He said that out of that 62.6 million, 27 million iPods were sold in the US.

What about you?  How many iPods have you owned?  Were you using a Zune or another player before switching to the iPod?

Copyright issues are beginning to appear in daily newspapers, especially now that Canada is getting ready to review legislation on copyright issues in 2010.  Canada has been blamed for being too lax regarding copyright, and observers have remarked that no amendments have been made to our copyright laws since 1997.

When you purchase content (music, movies, TV shows) from the iTunes Music store, Apple respects the policy of protecting artists' rights but gives you some leeway to enjoy content you purchased.  For example:

  • you can make as many backups as you want.  Download content and burn them on CDs and DVDs;
  • you can play songs and watch videos on a maximum of 5 separate computers;
  • copy content to as many iPods as you want
  • burn up to 7 CDs of the same playlist
  • you can also share content over a network (up to a max of 5 computers)

But if there's anything that can be said about laws, it's that they change.  So, when you register with the iTunes music store, read the fine print re conditions of use.

By the way, Christmas is less than 8 weeks away.  If you know of people who go gaga over their iPod declaring it as their only survival tool, make them happy and give them iTunes gift cards.  They're available in $15, $25, $50, $100 denominations.  They ship within 24 hours!

Just for fun, I googled "win an iPod contest" and guess how many results came out?  Over 4 million!  So if you're a freebie hunter and want to treat yourself to an iPod, join a contest.  Of course that 4 million would be a much lower number if you filtered the legit versus bogus contests (or contests that have already ended).



unique molette cliquable unique circular scroll wheel
bouton de séléction select button
mix de morceaux shuffle songs
en lecture now playing
précédent/retour rapid previous/rewind
lecture/pause play/pause
suivant/avance rapid next/fast-forward
configurer iTunes setting up iTunes
licence d'utilisation licence agreement
pistes audio music tracks
sauter des pistes skipping tracks
volet source source pane
panneau d'état status pane
égaliseur equalizer

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

French to English: iPod, Part 2

"What's on your iPod" is a regular feature of the Montreal Gazette.  It lists what's hot in music-mania land.

ipod part2 Your exciting iPod journey - if you bought it specifically to listen to music - begins and ends with iTunes.  The iTunes store makes it easy for customers like you to choose and download your favorite songs.  Do you have an idea how many songs are in the iTunes inventory?  No less than 11 million.  So your four-year old kid and your ninety-four year old mother-in- law will find their preferred titles, and...for the price of a song!

For single titles, you need not go the whole 9 yards but prices have a lot of 9s:  69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29.  A full album costs $9.99.

An enticing benefit is that you can burn your song as many times as you like because it doesn't come with DRM restrictions - digital rights management.  A second enticing benefit is that you can buy individual songs from an album at different times and if you decide, one month later that you want to purchase the entire album, you don't pay full price.  All the songs you purchased before will not be charged and will be credited to your account.  This falls under the "Complete My Album" feature.

What's more, you can play the song you purchased on as many as 5 different computers and on an unlimited number of iPod players.

If the benefits described above aren't enough to convince you, here's a real plus:  when you download a select album, you can sing along because the lyrics will show on your screen after a few clicks.  You'll also learn whether or not the artist you're currently playing produced a music video which you can watch as well if that tickles your fancy.  Many music videos cost 99 cents and you can watch it right on your iPod or on your widescreen television with Apple TV.

Shall we get to your dozen or so iPod terms?



facultatif optional
mode veille sleep mode
connections à 4 broches 4-pin connections
affichage iPod iPod display
commutateur "hold" hold switch
bande orange orange bar
iridescent iridescent
indicateur de batterie faible low battery indicator
batterie intégrée de type lithium-ion built in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
icône batterie indiquant la charge restante battery icon with progress bar
étui dissipateur de chaleur heat-dissipating carrying case
rétro-éclairage backlight
reglages settings

One more bonus:  every Tuesday, the iTunes stores features a Single of the Week.  You can download this for free.  After you've made a few purchases, Apple will send you weekly recommendations based on your buying history and this they do by sending you a newsletter.  But you need to subscribe to iTunes newsletters first!