Quebec is a proud and inclusive nation, rich in history and diversity. The French language has allowed us to define ourselves and to continue to thrive. The Le français, notre trait d’union campaign highlights our common language as a key to “living together.”

Through this campaign, let us rediscover the French language as a tool for affirmation, encounters, social integration, and success. Let us embrace French as the language of work, services, and daily life. Let us recognize our collective responsibility to give a strong voice to the French language and to preserve it as a treasure to be shared.


This campaign is led by the Government of Quebec in partnership with the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion, and the Office québécois de la langue française.

TESTIMONIALS

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Intégrer le français à ses pratiques d’affaires, c’est gagnant pour Sabotage!

Question : Pouvez-vous nous décrire votre entreprise en quelques mots?

Réponse : Sabotage est un studio de jeux vidéo indépendant, fondé en 2016, par Thierry Boulanger et Martin Brouard, deux vétérans de l’industrie résidant à Québec. Le studio compte maintenant 13 employés à temps plein. Nous nous spécialisons dans la création de jeux à l’aspect rétro, mais qui mettent de l’avant des éléments de design modernes. Notre studio a remporté le prix NUMIX du studio de jeux le plus prometteur en 2016 et le prestigieux GAME AWARD for Best Debut Indie Game pour The Messenger en décembre 2018.

Question : Vous réussissez, au Québec et à l’international, dans un domaine d’affaires majoritairement anglophone. Vous semblez continuer de véhiculer fièrement votre utilisation du français. En quoi est-ce important pour vous?

Réponse : Lorsqu’on nous demande : « Pourquoi Sabotage? », on pense bien évidemment à la signification du mot qui évoque un certain esprit rebelle. Or, lorsque nous avons choisi le nom de notre studio, nous avions aussi ce désir d’avoir un nom qui fonctionnait aussi bien en français qu’en anglais afin d’évoluer dans cet écosystème majoritairement anglophone.

The Messenger connaît effectivement un succès critique et commercial un peu partout dans le monde. Nous avons la chance de compter des milliers de joueurs aux États-Unis en Chine, au Japon, en Amérique latine et dans la plupart des pays d’Europe, en plus du Canada et du Québec. Lorsqu’on fait un jeu vidéo, par défaut, la langue est généralement l’anglais, puisque c’est le dénominateur commun au plus grand nombre de joueurs. C’est néanmoins une pratique courante d’adapter ensuite son jeu à plusieurs autres langues comme le français, l’espagnol, le chinois, le japonais, le russe et l’allemand, afin de rejoindre un plus grand public et de mieux les fidéliser aux univers que nous créons. Pour le français, il va généralement de soi de faire une traduction internationale qui s’adresse aux francophones du monde entier. Pour The Messenger, le directeur créatif, Thierry Boulanger, s’est particulièrement investi dans les textes du jeu et, lorsqu’est venu le temps d’adapter les textes en français, nous avons décidé d’en faire également une version québécoise mettant en relief la « parlure populaire » d’ici, si chère à l’équipe. The Messenger est un jeu où l’humour occupe une place importante, et la version québécoise ajoute un degré à cet aspect du jeu. L’ajout de cette option a demandé des efforts supplémentaires considérables en fin de production, mais l’accueil que nous ont réservé les joueurs québécois a été phénoménal. Nous recevons régulièrement des commentaires dans lesquels on nous remercie d’avoir inclus cette option et nous ne comptons plus les mentions sur les réseaux sociaux ou les commentaires d’autres développeurs québécois qui se disent intéressés à suivre notre exemple pour leur prochain jeu. C’est aussi très drôle de voir la réaction de certains joueurs français intrigués devant des expressions québécoises. 😊

Question : Êtes-vous fier de réussir en français dans un domaine majoritairement anglophone?

Réponse : Nous sommes fiers de réussir dans plusieurs langues. Mais le sentiment d’appartenance qui émane des joueurs francophones, et particulièrement des joueurs québécois qui voient The Messenger comme un porte-étendard de la culture vidéoludique québécoise sur la scène internationale, nous rend extrêmement fiers.

Question : De quelle réussite en français êtes-vous le plus fier?

Réponse : Nous sommes fiers de voir l’engouement des joueurs québécois lorsqu’ils découvrent la version québécoise et leur réaction quand ils jouent lors d’événements publics ou lors de diffusions en ligne en direct sur des plateformes comme Twitch ou YouTube. Ils n’en reviennent tout simplement pas et leurs sourires sont une merveilleuse récompense!

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Montreal restaurateur Dyan Solomon reveals secret ingredient for added flavor

For more than two decades, renowned chef Dyan Solomon has been building a growing empire that includes the wildly popular Olive et Gourmando in Old Montreal, Foxy in Griffintown and new Italian eatery Caffe Un Po' Di Piu, also in Old Montreal. And while she’s always proven adept at expanding her culinary horizons, picking up a second language has proved to be an equally rewarding skill for her career.

In fact, learning to speak French has been a key ingredient in her success story.

“I wouldn’t say I’m someone who picks up languages quickly,” Solomon said. “It’s taken me 20 years of slowly improving, but I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself. It makes me feel good to jump into a conversation in French and articulate myself.”

A native of Kingston, Ont., Solomon only spoke English when she moved to Montreal to study at McGill University. It wasn’t until after she returned from culinary school in Vermont and started working in the kitchen of famed Normand Laprise’s restaurant Toqué, that she began to immerse herself not only in the French language, but Quebec culture as well.

“I was in the kitchen where everyone spoke French, and I mean everyone. It really opened my eyes to another universe,” she recalled.
Solomon said she learned French mostly by struggling. She made mistakes on the job and picked up words along the way. While her confidence in her French slowly grew, Solomon’s reputation was rising rapidly in Montreal’s competitive food scene.

Motivated by her desire to make a life for herself in Montreal and excel in the food industry here, Solomon continued to work on her French with the many unilingual suppliers, colleagues and customers she engaged with in her everyday life. Bonds gradually developed and strangers eventually became friends.

“What I discovered is people are incredibly generous and forgiving when you’re learning,” she said. “I felt like when I was making an effort to speak in French, I was met with a lot of warmth and a willingness to help. I felt lucky in that sense.”

Solomon can remember countless times when a mistranslation or incorrectly used word made for an amusing situation — and they still happen all these years later — but she’s been able to learn from them and instead of feeling embarrassed, she recalls those moments with a laugh.

“One time I was serving a regular and I wanted him to try a new cookie I had been working on,” Solomon said. “I told him I wanted him to be my guinea pig, but I couldn’t remember what guinea pig was in French so I said he could be my ‘chauve-souris,’ which of course means bat. Then I thought it was a direct translation and said ‘cochon dingue’ but it’s not that, either.

“The look on his face when I said that, and the look of everyone in the lineup, was priceless.”

As her French has improved so, too, has her network of friends and colleagues in the industry. Over the years, she’s developed closer relations with suppliers and customers with whom she otherwise would’ve had trouble communicating. She’s even made appearances on friend Josée di Stasio’s French-language television show.

“People tell me they saw me on TV and that my French is great,” Solomon said. “I don’t think it’s that great, but I try.”

Being on French television is something Solomon would never have imagined when she moved to Montreal from Ontario. Then again, she said nowadays most of her work and home interactions are in French, and even her circle of friends is largely francophone.

With two restaurants in the tourist-heavy area of Old Montreal, Solomon and her team represent the face of the city to those visiting from elsewhere. As a result, Solomon takes pride in serving her customers in French. And while it’s true that many who visit from out of town speak English or another language entirely, they love Montreal’s francophone cultural history and want to hear it for themselves.

Solomon also pointed out that a number of tourists who frequent her shops come from French-speaking countries.

As an Ontarian who came here as a unilingual anglophone, Solomon feels if she could learn enough French to interact comfortably with others, anyone can. Her tip to those who might feel nervous about expressing themselves publicly in a language they’re still learning is to not be afraid to try.

“Yes, it can be terrifying to speak in a language you’re not comfortable in, but let go of the fear of sounding silly,” she said. “If you’re too hung up on how you sound or what people will think, you won’t be able to make the kinds of important mistakes that help you learn.”

Erik Leijon, Postmedia Content Works

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Telecom company VoxSun opens new doors by communicating in French

Montreal-based telecom company VoxSun prides itself on helping companies across Canada and the United States communicate with its hosted phone systems in the cloud. But in their home province, they’re especially proud of being able to deliver the same great service in French.

When CTO Paulius Gedrikas was helping to build the company in 2012, he and founder Jeremy Pastel noticed a lack of companies serving Quebec in French. When it comes to technology, being able to serve a client in his language using the proper technical terms is imperative.

“What we realized is there’s a lot of untapped potential in the French-speaking market both on the island of Montreal and especially off it,” said Gedrikas. “We found certain parts of Quebec where their choices were limited and they were paying a lot as a result.”

But to properly enter the Quebec market and attract new clients, Gedrikas – whose first language is Lithuanian – knew he had to get his French up to par. Although he attended primary and secondary school in French and could communicate fairly well, his French was a bit rusty.

“The main thing that always bothered me about my French was my speed,” he said. “I can think faster and type faster in English. But it’s the aspect of my French that has improved by leaps and bounds the last few years. It took perseverance.”

Recognizing the benefit of having everyone at the company on board, VoxSun instituted programs to help employees improve their French, with specialized language software they could use to study while on company time, as well as conversational learning classes with teachers over the phone once they got more comfortable. Internal emails are sent in French, and Gedrikas, who started his first company at 15, credits the habit of email writing and editing as having helped him improve the speed at which he communicates in French. It’s now become second nature to him.

The positive results of speaking French at VoxSun have been noticed, with increased business both on and off the island of Montreal. It’s one thing to have marketing materials in French and being able to sell the right products, but afterwards there’s a lot of work to be done to keep the phone systems up and running, and any miscommunication can turn a small issue into something much bigger.

“When it comes to small companies, their tech teams usually only consist of a few people,” Gedrikas said. “They’re usually overworked and averse to change because they’re trying to keep everything running. By being able to speak in French, we can put technicians at ease and work towards finding solutions to their needs.”

Gedrikas called technicians his “eyes and ears,” and by being able to speak with them directly and build trust, VoxSun has been able to gain pivotal new contacts.

The next step for growth at VoxSun was to design features specifically adapted to the French market in Quebec. They’re the only cloud phone system provider in North America with a voice-recognition system included for free, meaning clients can pronounce someone's name instead of having to key in their last name in a directory.

“We specifically tweaked our system to work better with Quebec names and pronunciation,” Gedrikas said. “We also ensured that all aspects of our system are available in French – web interfaces, the phones themselves, system prompts, user guides – and easy configuration to be bilingual.

“There are a lot of opportunities in Montreal and even Quebec itself that people are starting to recognize,” Gedrikas added.

For anyone in business who’s perhaps nervous about entering the francophone market for the first time, Gedrikas observed that their attempts were met with positivity and support. He continues to learn new words and expressions every day.

“I’m a big proponent of jumping in the water and trying. Try to get some French clients, try a French marketing campaign,” he said.

If a company doesn’t, Gedrikas said they’re missing out on the chance to grow.

“When you’re growing a company, you want to make the most of all the opportunities that come your way,” he explained. “By not serving the French market, you’re losing out on opportunities. It’s about reaching your potential.”

Erik Leijon, Postmedia Content Works

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From school project to successful business, speaking French has opened doors for Sofia Sokoloff

Montreal-based clothing company Sokoloff Lingerie started as a school project and has now grown into a rising star in the fashion world, with over 80 stores selling the brand’s undergarments.

When founder and designer Sofia Sokoloff started the business in 2011, she was a one-woman operation, driving from store to store in and around Montreal trying to get her products on shelves.

It was a humble beginning, but one that helped prepare her for life as an entrepreneur in a competitive field.

“I was a little bit like a Tupperware salesperson, coming to every store with my collection and showing off samples and taking the orders in person,” Sokoloff recalled. “At first, when you’re starting out, you really have to do everything in person.”

The Argentinian native, who was three years old when her family moved to Côte-des-Neiges and who also lived in St-Eustache for a spell, credits being able to speak French as a pivotal entry point into the marketplace. It broke down barriers and opened up doors to trendy boutiques that are selective about who they partner with.

“Seeking out and finding new customers required speaking in French,” she said. “I was specifically approaching small boutiques not only in Montreal but all around the province of Quebec. I also approached chain stores like Simons or Frank & Oak, and in those environments, speaking French was really important in terms of making my sales pitch and building a level of trust that you need when making these types of sales.”

Sokoloff said the brand was originally conceived as an industrial management assignment in fashion school, but it quickly expanded from there.

“I ended up enjoying it a great deal so it stuck, and I decided to start pursuing it for real outside of the classroom,” she recalled.

Realizing that she had a potential winning business idea in place, Sokoloff started approaching manufacturers in Montreal and producing her own items. By the time she received her diploma, she was manufacturing her own lingerie and had secured a few clients.

Today, Sokoloff Lingerie has an office in St-Michel, five employees and has outsourced manufacturing, but the line is entirely made in Canada — and proudly so, she said. Sokoloff designs unstructured soft-cup bralettes, bras and panties that are ethically produced and emphasize comfort and style for every facet of life.

Sokoloff observed that the manufacturers she works directly with conduct their business entirely in French, and she wouldn’t have been able to partner with these skilled workers — who meet her high standards for craftsmanship — had she not spoken French as well. And those manufacturers are essential to the success of her business.

Right now the majority of the 80 stores that carry her brand are in Quebec, with locations in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Valleyfield and more. Sokoloff has also made inroads in Western Canada and has ambitious plans for expanding into Ontario and the United States.

A big reason why Sokoloff has the confidence to keep growing is the relationships and fan base she’s been able to develop in her home province. While she doesn’t do as many in-person sales anymore, she remembers those early days going from shop to shop with fondness. It’s that person-to-person exchange that inspires her in fashion — with versatile garments designed to meet a woman’s every need — and in business.

“For me, it wasn’t easy to start a business from scratch — but at the same time, when I look back on it, it was rewarding to be able to build something in Quebec,” she said. “Maybe it’s because I was able to speak in French to my clients, but I felt a sense of community here that was interested in the brand and followed us.”

Speaking French also allowed Sokoloff to build the right kind of team — giving her access to even more qualified and talented candidates — which helped her to reach her goals and set even more ambitious ones for the future.

If there’s one bit of advice Sokoloff can offer young entrepreneurs looking to make it, it’s to never close the door on a potential opportunity to bring someone into the fold.

“It’s important to surround yourself with good people,” Sokoloff said. “That means the right agencies, the right salespeople and the right employees that can bring you to the next level. And you don’t want to restrict yourself; you really want to be able to cast a wide net to bring in the right people.”

Erik Leijon, Postmedia Content Works

From school project to successful business, speaking French has opened doors for Sofia Sokoloff

Montreal restaurateur Dyan Solomon reveals secret ingredient for added flavour

Telecom company VoxSun opens new doors by communicating in French

You are an immigrant and want to learn French?

You live in Québec and want to know where to learn French?


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