French government unveils 18 new official translations for tech vocab

The French government has published a list of 18 words officially accepted as the French translations of tech-related words such as spoiler, clickbait and podcast.

French government unveils 18 new official translations for tech vocab
Is your tech French enough? Photo: AFP

English words seeping into French has long been a bugbear of both the French language 'guardians' the Academie française and various government ministers.

And tech-related vocab is usually the worst offender as new terms arrive to go with newly-launched or increasingly popular technology, although the non-recent literary category of 'chick lit' is also now frowned upon in France.

READ ALSO Swords, wifi and immortality – five things to know about the Academie française

The Academie française has made various efforts to replace English terms like spoiler, hashtag and Twitter followers with French equivalents, but now the Journal officiel – which is used to officially publish new French laws and decrees – has listed 18 approved French terms.

They are;

Ludopublicité – instead of advergaming, the method of advertising using video games

Ajustement automatique d'intonation – instead of Autotune, to describe the technical polishing of dodgy singers

Piège à clics – instead of clickbait for news and website headlines

Infox vidéo or vidéotox – instead of deepfake for faked online videos, usually of politicians

Infox or information fallacieuse – instead of fake news

Fresque vidéo – instead of video mapping, the process use to project lights or effects onto buildings

Audio or audio à la demande – instead of podcast

Divulgâcher – instead of spoiler in the sense of telling someone the ending of a film or TV series that they haven't seen

Hyperaccéléré – instead of time-lapse in filming or photography where a process is speeded up

Responsable des réseaux sociaux – instead of social media manager as a job title

Démineur – instead of sensitivity reader (the person whose job it is to flag in advance potentially offensive or upsetting content)

Directeur/directrice – instead of showrunner for a TV series. In French a film or TV director is know as a réalisateur or réalisatrice for a female director.

Minialbum/mini-album – instead of extended play (EP) for an album of a longer length

Mode express – instead of fast fashion in the sense of cheap, short-lasting clothing

Mode durable – instead of slow fashion

Responsable de la promotion en ligne – instead of traffic manager. Another job title, this one refers to internet traffic rather than cars and bikes

Romance urbaine – instead of chick lit. Hardly a new invention, but chick lit – the rather patronising term for romance novels designed to appeal to women – is replaced with the more artistic sounding romance urbaine

Technologie de la mode – instead of fashion tech

A word of warning though – a lot of these new 'official' translations have been rolled out in recent years and not many of them have caught on.

Probably the most infamous is the attempt to translate wifi as l'access sans fil à internet (wireless access to the internet) which has been widely ignored in favour of the much catchier le wifi (pronounced weefee).

Infox was first rolled out by the Academie française last year, but one acquaintance of ours saw an English girl earnestly attempt to use it in a French class, only to be sternly corrected by the teacher who told her that no such word exists and the phrase she was looking for 'fake news'.

Indeed the very fact that they are being officially replaced means that all these English terms are fairly widely used in France and will probably continue to be.

However since their publication in the JO it is likely that official documents like government guidelines and handbooks, job adverts and letters from officials will now use the 'correct' French terms.

And just for fun, here is one of our favourite recent Twitter threads, which involved French people coming up with fake 'translations' of popularly used English terms, some of which are hard to separate from the official translations.





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France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

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