Ever wonder if your business should be posting in French on Twitter or Facebook? Our quick Q&A is intended to give Quebec-based businesses a few leads on the issue. Read ahead for more information.
Quick Q&A on the Use of French in Social Media
Do I need a French online presence if I’m doing business in Quebec?
Yes! If your business is based in Quebec and you deliver services or sell products in Quebec, then by law you need to provide French content on your Website and official social media channels.
Where does it say I need to include French in my social media messages?
The Charter of the French Language – a.k.a. Bill 101 – states that all promotional material, such as signs, products labels, advertising, packaging, needs to be in French first and foremost. Other languages can be represented, but must not predominate. The problem is that Bill 101 predates the arrival of the Internet, leading some to question whether it can be applied to social media content.
What happens if my social media channels are only in English?
You can be asked by the Office de la langue française, the Quebec’s French-language office, to change it to French. In fact, that’s exactly what happened to a Quebec shop owner in 2014. She ran her business out of Quebec, selling to customers in both Quebec and Ontario. Her Facebook page, however, was only in English.
Will I lose clients if I have English-only social media channels?
Definitely! The complaint about the English-only Facebook page described above came from a customer. But beyond the legalese of it all, reaching out to your potential customers in their native language – whether you meet them online or offline – just makes good business sense.
As lawyers grapple with the issue of language and social media here in Quebec, consider doing what’s right for your customers and, by extension, your business. Hire a qualified translator to adapt your English content to the Francophone marketplace.
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