Future Shop fails again at service in French

Two years ago, blogger François Rodrigue noticed a page on Future Shop’s website with absolutely atrocious French. I blogged about it, some other people did too, and Future Shop responded by taking the page down and blaming it on a U.S.-based subcontractor.

In not-entirely-apologizing for the transgression, and reasserting the priority they place on communicating in a proper language in Quebec, spokesperson Thierry Lopez promised that “nous faisons évidemment tout notre possible pour que des erreurs telles que celle-ci ne se reproduisent pas.”

Flash-forward to a few days ago, while I’m on Future Shop’s website looking through the Boxing Day sales. A window pops up asking if I want to be part of a customer service survey, produced by a Michigan-based company called ForeSee Results.

For fun, I decided to choose French as my language. I got a window similar to this that popped up, and a survey in adequate enough French (though half the accents didn’t work). I clicked on the bottom where it said “politique de confidentialité”, wanting to know what this information would be used for.

Imagine my surprise when “politique de confidentialité”, as well as all the other links on the bottom of that survey, led to an English-only page.

Another U.S.-based subcontractor, another translation fail. You’d think they’d start learning from this.

I asked for comment from Lopez concerning this latest gaffe. Haven’t heard anything yet, but will update if there is a response.

31 thoughts on “Future Shop fails again at service in French

  1. Nicolas

    En fait, c’est partout. Je viens de leur acheter un netbook et il y a des fautes partout sur tout le matériel imprimé qu’ils m’ont donné (jusque sur leur politique de retour au dos de leur coupon de caisse…).

    Reply
  2. Francois Rodrigue

    Cela débute bien mal 2010 pour le français au Québec. Une chance que nous avons plusieurs alternatives à Future Shop. C’est la seul façon de leur faire comprendre notre déception, en allant magasiner ailleurs.

    Reply
  3. Tommy

    This happens all the time. Even the Government H1N1 English page had links to pages that were in French only. What’s more important? Your electronic gadget or public health?

    However, there needs to be patience and understanding from both linguistic communities. The majority of people are understanding and would emphasize communication over language priority. There is a practical issue as well — cost. Not everyone is able to pay for translation services and proof-reading services. I will admit that a company with Best Buy’s (Future Shop’s parent company) resources should have paid for better translation and dropped the ball on this one.

    EVERYONE needs to understand that not every language brouhaha is born of malice.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I’m not suggesting this was caused by malice, but it’s a symptom of two problems:
      1. The troubles of outsourcing to a company that either has no clue about regional needs or doesn’t have the budget to care
      2. Dismissing fine print (like a privacy policy) as something nobody reads and is therefore not important

      Reply
    2. Jean Naimard

      EVERYONE needs to understand that not every language brouhaha is born of malice.

      Indeed, greed has a lot to do by choosing contractors who do a cheap substandard job… And the english have been very vocal about the cost of french (and bilingualism), too…
      And it so happens that to us, the english act very much like greedy bastards (they keep saying “Québec does not gives a shit about the Economy, look at all their [socialist] policies!!!”), which does not help their image.

      Reply
  4. MM

    Oh! get over it. Do you go to the Future Shop site to get a deal, or to be a prick. It’s like the PQ member that complained that he couldn’t get a bagel in Montreal in French. Shit!. Did you go there to get a bagel to eat, or to talk to it? Hey, Future Shop is not a government agency. If they provide crappy french translation on their site that is not a crime. They try. In the end, you go to Future Shop to get electronic gizmos at a hopefully good price. If you’re looking for customer support, forget it.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      If they provide crappy french translation on their site that is not a crime.

      No, but it is a violation on Quebec’s law on the French language, and more importantly it’s being a dick.

      If they provide crappy french translation on their site that is not a crime. They try.

      Well, in this case, they’re not trying. There’s no translation at all. And it’s not Future Shop, it’s this U.S. company that Future Shop has outsourced to.

      Reply
      1. Fassero

        It’s not even not trying. It’s flushing money down the toilet. It’s basically paying a US company to run what HTML pages they can through some kind of two-bit translation software and whatever doesn’t do anything, the outsourcer basically goes “screw this, but pay me anyway”. Anyway, in this particular case, I’m sure the parent company is just chomping at the bit to shut down Future Shop in the province (or *at least* this province) and just run with the Best Buy brand.

        Or maybe they are just incompetent. Doesn’t somebody there understand that if you’re going to outsource, go Indian? :)

        Reply
        1. Jean Naimard

          How can they be “fascist” since they have been democratically adopted by a democratically elected government, and they are also constitutional?

          Reply
          1. MM

            How democratic are those laws that look to silence those who do not agree to having their rights removed. How are they democratic when use of legal means to scare and intemidate those who do not agree. How democratic when the you’re told to shut up in your own country!

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          2. Jean Naimard

            How democratic are those laws that look to silence those who do not agree to having their rights removed. How are they democratic when use of legal means to scare and intemidate those who do not agree. How democratic when the you’re told to shut up in your own country!

            Kindly tell us whose persons have had their human rights removed.
            Thank-you.
            (Note: I am not holding my breath on this one — I fully expect an absolute non-answer on this one because there is no answer).

            Reply
  5. corinthian rick

    You fret about what you consider an inadequately thorough application of the language laws but have no opinion about the massive damage that same law has had on the province. You lack a sense of perspective to ever be a good journalist.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Chic! Des romains!

      You fret about what you consider an inadequately thorough application of the language laws but have no opinion about the massive damage that same law has had on the province. You lack a sense of perspective to ever be a good journalist.

      I am making a batch of pop-corn right now so we can be ready for when you start explaining “the massive damage that same law has had on the province”…
      I just can’t wait to shoot down your “arguments”…

      Reply
  6. Kevin

    90 percent of the complaints about language in this province come from journalists digging into obscure crap.

    9 percent come from the Mouvement Montreal Francais, the Jeunes Patriotes, or some other group of people who don’t have a real job.

    The other 1 percent come from priests.

    Real people in Quebec do not complain about language issues. We don’t care about language issues at all, except when some journalist brings something up — in which case all we do is say “shut up already, go do something useful.”

    Reply
    1. Heather H.

      I disagree wth you Kevin. When I came to Quebec from Australia, I knew I was moving to a French community fighting for survival in a sea of English. Having language laws to protect it makes perfect sense to me. Quebecers are tolerant, and most will turn a blind eye to obscure, silly violations of the law. What they will NOT tolerate, is a large corporation with deep pockets nickel-and-dimming service in French.

      Perhaps it’s time for people like Corinthian Rick to realize there’s a lot more to Quebec society than his selfish perspective.

      Reply
      1. Gilles

        Heather,

        With all due respect to you; as you are a newcommer to Quebec – you may not have witnessed the decline of our historical (anglophone, allophone) community in terms of numbers the way those of us born here have. Half a million Quebecers voted with their feet and left this province over the past 30-40 years. A once vibrant community is really not in very good shape in terms of morale and numbers. More to the point – Anglophone communities in places like the Gaspe and Eastern Townships have been severely affected.

        I personally do not believe that the language laws where English is forced to be half the size of French is helpful to unity and to the image of this province. Other laws with regard to schooling could be changed without any effect on the “survival” of French in Quebec. In fact, many of these laws are perceived (and I believe rightfully so) as petty and designed to send a negative message of marginalization to these minority communities.

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        1. Jean Naimard

          With all due respect to you; as you are a newcommer to Quebec – you may not have witnessed the decline of our historical (anglophone, allophone) community in terms of numbers the way those of us born here have. Half a million Quebecers voted with their feet and left this province over the past 30-40 years.

          Boo, hoo, hoo. Cry me a river. Those people who “voted with their feet” were the most obtuse rhodesians who thought that just by being english, they were better than the french rabble. No sane society needs such people who put themselves above the majority.

          A once vibrant community is really not in very good shape in terms of morale and numbers. More to the point – Anglophone communities in places like the Gaspe and Eastern Townships have been severely affected.

          When that “vibrant” community “vibres” at the expense of the majority, it is nothing more than a parasite. And by being 300 million strong in North America, that culture is not exactly endangered.
          They have left by their own volition; no one was expelled; they left when they realized that they could not continue to dominate Québec like they used to do for so long.
          Good riddance.

          I personally do not believe that the language laws where English is forced to be half the size of French is helpful to unity and to the image of this province.

          No one cares. Really. No one cares about the “plight” of the english in Québec (who still have their hospitals, schools, media, etc.). No one gives a rat’s ass.
          All people see is what there really is: a bunch of spoiled brats whining because they do not have enough cherries on their sundæs.

          Other laws with regard to schooling could be changed without any effect on the "survival" of French in Quebec.

          There is no way in hell that immigrants shall be allowed to go to english schools. No way at all. Remember the bill 63 riots? You want that again?

          In fact, many of these laws are perceived (and I believe rightfully so) as petty and designed to send a negative message of marginalization to these minority communities.

          We do not care about minorities. We are french. We do not believe in multiculturalism. We believe in an unique culture. If you want to be english, you just go to Ontario where you will be able to be as english as you want.
          It’s 101 or 401.

          Reply
          1. Gilles

            “We do not care about minorities. We are french. ”

            Wrong… You sir are a little man who is simply a cowardly violent little f@@@. Your claim of representing the average Quebecer (French or of any other background) is absolute garbage. I wish you would kindly leave this forum but as I am not the admin; we all must put up with your trashy ways I guess…. Oh well.

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          2. Westerner

            Heh little Johnny boy,

            “We are french.” You from France? or do you just speak a weak version of french. Not the same thing.

            “We do not believe in multiculturalism”. Really, no wonder you have problems with Montreal Nord and the immigrants. And here all along I though Quebec was so open to other cultures.

            “We believe in an unique culture.” Really, and what would that be. “Canadian who speaks french”

            Your such as joker little johnny.

            Reply
          3. mdblog

            Jean,

            Don’t you think you’re being a little racist? I mean, you’ve stereotyped all anglophones in Quebec as “obtuse rhodesians” and “a bunch of spoiled brats”. You’ve even gone so far as to say that the French do not believe in multiculturalism! 101 or 401? Are you serious? How many reasonable people do you know who offer logic only in absolute terms? Do you really believe this, or are you trying to be dramatic?

            You should be careful with racist stereotypes. As attractive as they are because of the simplicity they can bring to an otherwise chaotic human environment, they are dangerous because they obscure the truth. For example, if I beleived that every single French person in Quebec had the same views as you when it comes to the anglophone community, then I would not have all of the great francophone friends and work colleagues that I lucky to have in my life. The love I have for these people would be replaced by an all-encompassing hatred. Hate is like a corrosive poison to the human soul.

            Have you ever had a civilized conversation with an anglophone about their views of the language laws? About how it feels to be a minority in a sea of francophones? Have you ever asked an anglophone why they might disagree with your views? Just to see what they said? If you did, you might understand things a little more clearly. For example, you might understand how ridiculous it is to say that “If you want to be english, you just go to Ontario where you will be able to be as english as you want.” It’s just as stupid as saying “If you want to be French and have a government that protects and promotes the French language above all others, you just go to France where you can be as French as you like.” You know all tose arguments going through your head right now as to why that is a ridiculous statement? Do you see where I’m going with this…?

            I am an anglo. My mother’s family came here from Lebanon in the 1890s and my father’s family came from Romania in the early 20th century. I admit that growing up in an English enclave that I had a singular view of the language protection laws (I thought they were simply insane) and of the sovereignty movement. That was until I recognized a flaw in my thinking. I KNEW A LOT OF FRANCOPHONES! And what’s more, they all seemed to be perfectly reasonable people! Imagine that! Why would such kind, friendly, and sane people support such an insane project? So I decided to ask my francophone friends about why they supported language laws and sovereignty. After doing so and listening to their answers, I can say that although I still don’t agree with language laws here in Quebec, I understand what the motivation behind them is, and why they were put in place. I can even understand why sovreignists want to have their own country. It seems reasonable! Doesn’t mean that I agree, but at least I can understand it.

            By the way, I would love my own country too. Filled with people who were all like me, thought like me, looked like me, had the same values, etc. I understand where you are coming from- seriously! Just because I disagree with your point of view doesn’t make me a whiner who doesn’t have enough cherries on my sundae.

            Wasn’t it Voltaire (a francophone incidentally) who said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Do you reject this type of thinking?

            Anyways, I’ve written too much as it is but let me sum up by saying that from what I can tell from your post that you are a xenophobic racist. No different from any other bigot who would judge a man by the colour of his skin. You can change however. I am proof of that.

            Reply
    2. Samuel

      @Kevin, I have a real job (whatever that means) and am not a member of any of those organizations. Yet I have strong feelings on the language issue and so do most of my friends who were all born and raised in Montreal. I would even have prefered to answer in french, but since the odds that you understand it are thin, let me put it this way: I think a guy who claims to know what «real people» think should leave his keyboard for a sec, get out the door, and look the f*** around.

      Reply
    3. Jean Naimard

      Real people in Quebec do not complain about language issues. We don’t care about language issues at all, except when some journalist brings something up — in which case all we do is say "shut up already, go do something useful."

      As you are complaining about language issues, I gather you are not a “real people”, no?

      Reply
  7. Emile Thomas

    That is not the businesses of the future Shop good. Imagine the opposite: in English written information confuses. I never bought something that of such websites.

    And why should lower close it in the USA – there not is someone in Canada, that can contain and can compose in our 2 office languages?

    It is laughs entirely correct, that the Future Shop its customers at – anglophone, francophone, allophone, saxophone, al Capone…

    Le commentaire précédent ayant les erreurs d’anglais est en fait un lien venant d’une entreprise extérieure et indépendante de chez nous.

    J’ai comme priorité de promouvoir l’anglais sur le site Fagstein et je prends très au sérieux la qualité de l’anglais utilisée pour communiquer avec vous.

    Je reste à votre disposition pour autre information.

    Cordialement,
    Emile Thomas

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Future Shop: Fagstein, un anglophone à la défense des francophones « Reflet de Société / Journal de la Rue. L'actualité sociale et communautaire. Jeu compulsif, gang de rue, alcool, toxicomanie, suicide

  9. Jacques from Laprairie

    GILLES SAYS…..

    Half a million Quebecers voted with their feet and left this province over the past 30-40 years. A once vibrant community is really not in very good shape in terms of morale and numbers.

    WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!

    Small minded people try to blame a so called post PQ election and subsequent law 101 and the exodus of supposidly english community.
    The fact is that their was a shift in the population as early as 1968 as the economy of Canada shifted towards the center of Canada in response to the opening up of western Canada. the opening of the Saint Laurence seaway also contributed.
    Businesses did not move because of law 101 but more to centralise their locations and employees were given the opportunity to relocate.
    I`m sure that SOME whackadoo anglo french haters and french bashers moved to get away from them thar crazy frenchies and separatists but THEY are cowards and in the minority.

    the real Quebec anglophones stayed and participate in Quebec society.

    Jacques

    Reply

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