Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its population was estimated to rise to approximately 38 million this year. It's one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations around the globe. More than 6 different ethnic groups call Canada their home:

  • 76.7% of European Canadians
  • 14.2% Asian
  • 4.3% Aboriginal
  • 2.9% of Black Canadians
  • 1.2% Latin American
  • 0.5% multiracial
  • 0.3% other

Canada is one of the top ten countries with the highest number of immigrants. Thus you can hear more than 200 languages and dialects on the city's streets. Regarding official languages in Canada, there are two - English and French. English is the mother tongue of around 56% of the Canadian population, while approximately 20% call French their mother tongue. Thus, in this region's context of cultural and language variations, it is not enough to provide only English content to service Canadian customers.

The power of the French in Canada

Today French is the language most widely spoken throughout the regions of Quebec and New Brunswick. According to the Canadian census in 2011, only 7.7% of the Québecois population declared English as their mother tongue. Regarding certain parts of the region, like Quebec City, the number of English speakers is much lower. Only 1.9% of the city's inhabitants call English their mother tongue.

The Charter of the French Language (La charte de la langue française), a law in the province of Quebec, states French is the official language and comprises fundamental language rights. Thanks to this so-called Bill 101 (Loi 101), everything needs to be translated into French, including company names and every label on consumer goods. Hence, localization in Canada plays an important role.

french and englsih in canada

Take care not only of translation but of other content localization. For example, there are specific rules for spelling currency signs in different countries - the symbol position can be before or after the amount. If we are talking about Canada localization rules - there are used both options (in the English region, the symbol goes to the left, and in French-speaking, to the right.)

Characteristics of Quebec French

Québecois, also known as Quebec French, distinguishes itself from Metropolitan French (European French) in many ways. Arriving with the French colonizers, it stayed turned off from the motherland and kept some old pronunciations and spelling. At the same time, the Quebec French developed independently and gathered toponyms, new words, and loan lexical.


While in European French a full non-breaking space is used before the semicolon, exclamation mark, or question mark (“Félicitations !”), only a thin space is used in Quebec French (“Félicitations!”).

Spelling and Grammar

In Quebec, the feminine form of many professions is used, although these nouns didn't have a feminine form traditionally. Canucks (Canadians) use almost universally the feminine form (“une chercheuse”), while French people tend to use the male form (“un cercheur”) or both (“un chercheur” and “une chercheuse”). There are also some slight spelling differences. Tofu, for example, is spelled "tofou" in Canada and "tofu" in France. Like the French, Canadians also tend to omit the negative particle "ne" in informal language.


The following tables show the differences in the lexicon of Quebec French and the European one.

Quebec and metropolian French

There are lexically specific items which are exclusively used in the province of Quebec.

Quebec and metropolitan French

Semantic differences are further characteristic for Québecois.

Quebec and metropolitan French

Quebecers use fixed expressions unique to Quebec.

Correct words and term usage is an essential thing in localization. Your team should keep consistency throughout your projects and provide the exact translation on all pages, and the glossary is the best tool to accomplish this task.

The term base provided by Lingohub automatically suggests the correct translation and considers case sensitivity and different matching. With our glossary, you will quickly translate between the Quebec and Metropolitan French and ensure that exact terms are correctly translated.

Use of anglicisms

Another characteristic distinguishing the two types of French is the number of borrowings from English. Anglicisms are mainly used in the informal spoken language. While Quebecers refuse to use Anglicisms, the vocabulary of European francophones contains a relatively high number of English words.

Canadian English - another exception to the rule

Not only Canadian French differs from the European one, but there are also some slight differences between Canadian and American English. Generally speaking, the following "Canadianisms" are of British origin. Lots of these language specialties are common in Great Britain too. Here's a list of some localization hints to assist you in terms of translating content to Canadian English:

  • Canadian spelling is related more closely to the British and Australian one than to U.S. English: colour vs color, cheque vs check, centre vs center, etc.
  • Canucks have their very own expressions for some special words. Kapsack is what Canadians call their backpack.
  • The metric system is generally used in Canada, although Canadians use feet/inches and pounds to quote their height and weight.
  • In contrast to the U.S., Canada uses Celsius rather than Fahrenheit for measuring temperature.
  • While Americans use the expressions one or two dollar coins, Canadians call them Loonie and Toonie. They like things that rhyme. :)

Summing up the importance of localization for Canada

At first, offering content in English and/or European French to service Canadians is sufficient. Delving deeper into these variants of French and English, the importance of localization for Canada is obvious. The Canadian counterparts of these two languages differ in many ways and make localization for Canada a critical topic that needs to be considered by every global champion.

Are you interested in gathering insights into other translation markets and discovering even more localization potentials? In former blog posts, the U.S., South America, Australia, and India have already been analyzed. Give them a try! :)

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