Saturday, February 13, 2010

French to English: The Press, Part 3

This is our last series for newspaper terms.  I'm going to take another extract from Le Devoir, the Quebec newspaper with an intellectual, conservative leaning.

This extract is written by Jean-Robert Sansfaçon and was published on February 1, 2010 in the economics section.

Mr. Sansfaçon says:


Consultations prébudgétaires - D'abord les dépenses!

Le deuxième «fascicule» produit par le comité consultatif sur l'économie et les finances publiques coprésidé par l'économiste Robert Gagné et par le ministre de Finances, Raymond Bachand, montre du doigt la façon de dépenser du gouvernement et le manque d'efficacité des sociétés d'État comme Hydro-Québec. Il confirme une impression généralisée que nous n'en avons pas pour notre argent.


Two points I'd like to tackle here before I translate this passage:  "fascicule" is a term that used to confuse me.  Think of it as a book with chapters, a report with sections, or a manuscript divided into specific instalments.  "Fascicule" therefore means that which is a part or section of a document.  In Mr. Sansfaçon's sentence, he's referring to a part of the document produced by the advisory committee on Economics and Public Finance.

The second one is "montre du doigt".  It is the same as in English - point a finger or put the blame on something or someone.

Translating that paragraph as, we have:

Pre-budgetary consultations:  first, the expenses!

The second issue raised by the advisory committee on the economy and on public finance co-presided by economist Robert Gagné and by Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, points a finger on the way the government spends and on the lack of efficiency of Crown corporations like Hydro-Quebec.  It confirms the general impression that we're not getting our money's worth.

We use "Crown corporations" in Canada because government entities are said to belong to the Crown (Her Majesty). 

"Co-presided" is common usage, but you can also say "jointly presided."

Here is your final series of newspaper terms:

article nécrologique obituary
pagination pagination
correcteur d'épreuves proofreader
casier rack
bobines reels
reporteur reporter
revue review
reporteur local stringer
agence de presse syndicate
tabloïde tabloid
agence de transmission wire service
éditeur de journal publisher


Before the end of 2009, I read that La Presse might have to fold owing to a dwindling readership and anemic circulation.  It got salvaged - to everyone's relief.  La Presse is a Montreal institution.  It wouldn't look too good if La Presse stopped publishing.

Newspapers that close for business isn't a good sign.  It's not because people read less, but a point made by Jeff Jarvis was enlightening.  He makes suggestions on how newspapers can survive; read about it here:

The two suggestions that struck a chord were to adapt to the digital age and to engage readers.  He says that readers want to know they're part of the news.  He says:  “The explosion of blogging and social media Web sites has created a culture in which consumers of news expect to be included in the news publishing process….”

Good point!


  1. I badly need to improve my French... Question: the word lists are really helpful but would it not be better to include the articles for the words so that people could learn all of it together maybe? (masc, fem etc) because it's often lack of this that gets me unstuck when it comes to grammatica, tenses etc. I try and read French newspapers here, with various level of success. Does Canadian French differ very much from France French?
    I'm bookmatrking your blog so that I can study this more, Thanks!!! regards, Kiwidutch :)

  2. Hello Andria,
    Thank you for your message. I created this blog not for the specific purpose of making it a French course (I'm not a language professor), but primarily for fun with a useful feature (lexicon), even if it's on a very limited extent. But you raised a good point about giving the masculine and feminine gender of the words I put on. I'll do that, thank you, and I am in fact changing my approach to this blog a bit.
    If you really want to improve your French, continue to read French newspapers and watch French films. Also: sign up for the French lessons at I signed up for their Spanish lessons. If you're an intermediate French learner, you may find the BBC lessons a bit too elementary. The beauty is that the lessons (they call them tips) are delivered to your mailbox.
    Your question about Canadian French: grammar-wise, French is the same, no matter where. What makes it different are the regional variations of idiomatic expressions, the slang, the accent and intonation (of course). But for language structure, French is the same everywhere!