Quebec enforces bilingual game law

Canadian province puts into effect decade-old measure prohibiting sale of English-only games when French version is available.

In the past, governments have tried to ban games for being too violent or too sexy, but now the Canadian province of Quebec is coming down on games for being too English. As reported by The Toronto Star, new rules take effect this week that prohibit the sale of English-only games in Quebec when there's a French version available.

Anglais? Non!

One Quebecois retailer told the paper that the move could put him out of business, as gamers wanting the latest titles on day one would rather buy online or from another province than wait for a French edition of a game to arrive. He cited Rock Band as a game that would have been impacted by the law, saying that only the English version made it out in time for the 2007 Christmas rush, with a French version lagging six weeks behind.

While the law went into effect April 1, it has been on the books for more than a decade. Quebec actually added the game restriction to its Charter of the French Language in 1997 but chose not to enforce it.

While French and English are shared as the official languages of Canada, Quebec claims French as its proper tongue. To enforce the use of its official language, the province has the Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise. According to the Office's charter, its duty is to ensure "that French is the normal and everyday language of work, communication, commerce and business in the civil administration and in enterprises. The Office may, among other things, take any appropriate measure to promote French."

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Discussion

331 comments
jmic75
jmic75

The title is a little misleading as the law is a French game law. I really "enjoy" living in a place where I can't buy Mass Effect 3 in English from a retailer as there is french version of the game. READ FRENCH, not bilingual version of the game.

AdjacentLives
AdjacentLives

It's funny... ever since my Father married a Quebecer I've learned that a lot of their population prefers to do things in english when it comes to RnB music, most types of movies and video games. If anything this is going to have a negative effect, not a positive one. Oh well, sucks to live in Quebec.

adrian296
adrian296

quebec should be their own country

adrian296
adrian296

im doin some newspaper on quebec. quebec is very very different

spag007
spag007

Paladin basic, we're not French... we're Quebeckers. Would you like it if I told you (probably you are american, such ignorance) that you were British? I think not!

Damien2k3
Damien2k3

What people should understand is this: The law does not say that all games must be translated. It says that if a version of the game has been translated AND made available in Quebec, then this is the one that must be sold here by the retailers. So a game that is only available in english can still be sold. It does not mean that english will be banned. A multi-lingual version will not be impacted by this law. And there are a lot of multi games these days. So the law, while not ideal, is not all bad and it has a deeper purpose than forcing companies to invest in translations. Quebec has a majority of french speaking people. It is part of our history and it is a reality. While it is unfortunate that not enough québecois can speak english as well as french, you can fault them for that. It would be the same as bashing an american that does not speak french or spanish. and let's keep politics out of our games. I'm grateful that I can play games in the original version while my son, who does not understand english yet (but will soon), can also play a game and understand it. We play for fun... right?

Granpire
Granpire

I understand the Quebec government, but I also understand the retailer's frustration. This basically means that if the game has a European version, these retailers will have to buy that version.

Yannick_18
Yannick_18

Arrogant French ?! You think it's the people who wants that ?! You guys are stupid to believe this ?! I speak french myself because I live in Quebec and I personnally think this is STUPID! I wanna play my games in english because the translations are done wrong... there's no way I will to a RPG in french! Comme vous pouvez le constater, je parle francais!

Drower
Drower

Haha, those crazy frogs.

AlbertiRAGD13
AlbertiRAGD13

Damn, I've heard that Quebec was kinda against the English, but this is a bit far.

Paladin_basic
Paladin_basic

Typical. Arrogant French. Charles de Gaulle has one hell of a lot to answer for. Want my opinion? Let them eat cake

scorch0188
scorch0188

Man, I thought it was annoying when english honor kids would correct your grammar at school, but this is just ridiculous.

Silver_bLooD
Silver_bLooD

wow, did you ever stop and think Quebec that perhaps English games will help the french, speak or write English better? Not hard to slip form Hull to Ottawa a pick up an English game. I bet they wouldn't like us if we stopped teaching French in Schools.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

these guys are a bit to nationalist, if they want everything in French then campaign to get your own country.

SlayerX13
SlayerX13

If France is cool with it then Quebec needs to get over. Boycotting games because they don't spend the money to translated everything into french. Make your own games then and boycott EVERYTHING that is not in french. So America has an ego because NY has flags on their bus but Quebec does not because they demand multinational corporations to pamper them. I think they will just tell Quebec to F off and gamers will just go the net town over to get their games. Quebec is notorious for over inflated egos so don't even go there.That doesn't pertain to every resident their but you that live in Quebec know the type I am speaking about.

proair92
proair92

People bashing the law obviously do not know the history behind it. When the then french colony was taken over by the english, the french wanted to conserve their language and culture. Today, with our modernized society, if such laws did not exist, french would surely disappear in north america, along with a very rich culture. After just returning from New York, New York, I can safely say that this sort of patriotism is nothing compared to the American ego, having the American flag on everything from buses to buildings. Though I do not fully agree with the video game censorship, I am somewhat for culture preservation.

Megamanx266
Megamanx266

So... our Federal government pretty much BRIBES Quebec not to seperate and what do they do to thank us? They continue to QQ no matter what from the looks of things. Oh, and Quebec's government is sounding more like a dictatorship than a democracy every time I hear about them QQing over something stupid like this.

Benelli_M3
Benelli_M3

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

SpicPeso
SpicPeso

the people that came up with this law are idiot dickheads, pardon my french.

xolivierx
xolivierx

I am from Quebec. I like my games to be in English even though French is my 1st language. It's the same for movies. Because translating something means it's been modified ; it's just not the same. And excuse me, if I play a japanese game, I certainly don't want to see french canadian expressions in the game's dialogues. It just breaks the magic. Besides, how bad could it be for people to try to learn English. It opens alot of door. Why not go to the next level : we should only have movies with white actors playing in canada since the majority of people is white. That would be as stupid. I'm sorry, but speaking 2 languages or more is NOT a bad thing. I just can't believe some people sat around a table, discussed about this, and came with the idea of having games translated in French an obligation. Why don't they ban English music too once and for all.... sigh

skemaal
skemaal

I'm ashamed to live in Quebec sometimes. No one asked gamers if this is what they wanted. Once again, this was pushed by a minority group "speaking" for the whole. And let us be clear, French gamers in Quebec never asked this. This is going to hurt business' here as there is very little demand for French games even when available. The last statistic I saw was 5%, and in that only a fraction are a really because the customer wanted french. It's more that the english software wasn't there and they opted for the french one that has been gathering dust for months, instead. Further more, we are in the age of downloads and the internet shopping. As far as gaming is concerned. It's very simple. A game isn't available here. and I need it now. Either I will download it or I will ordering through sites like Futureshop, Bestbuy or even better Amazon with their free shipping policy.

Shadowsouled
Shadowsouled

Here's a better idea Quebec: Let businesses sell what they want in whatever language they want. Quebec pisses me off sometimes.

roams
roams

@ SnakeBite27 Nope. Quebec laws only relate to Quebec. It doesnt mean anything to Canadians outside of Quebec unless you were looking for a new excuse to dump on quebeckers. My understanding of it (which would make it no different then what they do for books) is that if you are selling a game and it's exists somewhere on the planet in french, then "you must make it available in french", which doesnt mean it can't be offered in english or whatever other language you wanna offer it in.

SnakeBite27
SnakeBite27

Does this mean that Canadians can finally stop getting those dual-language game covers? We've had week late releases due to those. I believe the most recent being Persona 4. Nothing too major for a lot of people. Just annoyed me a bit.

lamprey263
lamprey263

hmm, well, I'm guessing they can just have a subtitle feature, should be easy enough, much easier than re-recording the entire audio track of a game haha, but if they can, it'd be much more bold for them to just include a card with each game saying something like (in french) "please go to www.[whatever].com to download translation decription guide"

ushauiyhauihdai
ushauiyhauihdai

dr. nash to answer your question: yes theres a psychological division between quebec province and canada, been there for a long time

liam72
liam72

DrNash, yes it does, especially culturally. There are endless fights for some stupid reasons between the french and english canada. All relying on past fights. History is supposed to learn us from our mistakes but it doesn't quite seem to work that way.

DrNash
DrNash

Personally, I find this whole thing fascinating. The fact that Quebec can do this at all shows me that they have more independence than states in the US. When any state down here tries to get English as the official language, they get ripped apart in the media just for suggesting it. I do admire that they have the independence to do something like this, but doesn't it create kind of a divide in the country, cultually and economically?

liam72
liam72

I lol'd when I saw a comment saying that this was hurting english people. The idea is to get people who don't speak english to understand the games they play.... the games will be available in both languages. Anyway. I'm deceived by the reactions. I don't give hell about the law, I care about how some people can so easily judge a province and it people according to opinion they don't even try to understand.... or people judging all americans because of some hateful comments.

Darthnaevus
Darthnaevus

do you speak french? no.... is this news relevant to you? no! CQFD! On other words, this pisses me off though.... living in quebec and playing games mostly in english is what I do, french dubbing sucks usually. ubi montreal only do good dubs

Gam3rKidd
Gam3rKidd

thank God I live in Ontario!

sontaakceon
sontaakceon

This law piss me off !! I live in Quebec, what does it mean : prohibit the sale of English-only games when there a French version available ? That it will become impossible even illegal to have the English version of a game because only French is tolerated ?! I HATE game's French version, they are so badly dubbed, it become ridiculous. Its great news for non-English speaking gamers but what is left for people like me who want to play the original versions ?

Kaully
Kaully

@totaleklypse OK, we started on the wrong foot. I'm not PRO-frenchie.. i like english pretty much. I play all my game in english .. why ? Because it's the original version of the game, like i watch my chinese movie in cantonese. But you guys don't really understand the the new law.. IT WON'T delay any game and IT WON'T hurt the game industry. And what i mention about the retarded place... just add me on Xbox Live, join a lobby of ... say .. halo 3 and look or your fellow american act when i talk to my friend in french... NOW you'll see what i mean about you "USA" being retarded (not the ugly sense, but the kind meaning "not knowing how to respect other culture" kind. And for the France thing having the more real French ain't true, i know what you mean, but they are losing it because they don't protect it like we do in Qc. You ask for a "stationnement" in France and they don't even know what it's mean... you ask for a "parking" and VOILA! they know. But still i got your point. And just for the fun of it, you , who speak english from birth, use PLENTY of french word -Fiance -VOILA -Deja vu -Rendez-vous etc... Because French is a beautiful language BECAUSE it's not an international one. (And i repeat, i do love english) Have fun.

Burniz
Burniz

Damnit i hate quebec government..... always makes us have everything the last....like rock band or guitar hero

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

This is terrible news for me. In live in Quebec. :| If games take too long to get here, I'm **** moving. The Quebec government and their silly laws can go to hell. :|

Fed__X
Fed__X

Move to America!

DrNash
DrNash

Well, according to the Canadian Constitution, this law is completely constitutional from what I see. Also, just under half of the Quebec population even speaks English. So you folks can be thrilled with your bit of cultural protection. Just hope that you have a large gaming population, because these companies only look at the bottom line, and if they even think they could lose money, you can say goodbye to almost anything but the major releases.

totaleklypse
totaleklypse

actually too i would say that if a language originates in a country the rules of the language are determined by said country. one could argue that american english. mexican spanish and canadian french could be classified as different languages. for example. many terms in mexican spanish mean something completly opposite of spain. same for the rest. my real point is there really should be no national languages but people should speak what they are taught by thier communities they live in directly. if the person wants to be able to communicate with another group or culture then it is on them to learn not by force but by the sheer need to do so. as for this law it doesnt force anyone to learn another language however the companies involved i would think from a money making standpoint should release the game with the choice. not be forced to do so. simple. more choice more money and all dialects are happy. right?

totaleklypse
totaleklypse

nope actually what i said is if someone is going to claim a pure dialect they are wrong. american english is full of slang and wrong lingo. guess i shoulda mentione that so some one tries to cry hypocrasy. egland is as close as u get to original modern english. as such with spain and france with thier respective languages. thanks though for trying to debunk and entire statement with something that should be self evident.

FraserAlexander
FraserAlexander

i lived in montreal for 5 years. Those language police and their rules are often very stupid. The rule could potentially put francaphone people out of work! I'm not even sure how the law is constitutional - i mean you saying to the population that they aren't allowed to buy an english product in a store!

dtraker
dtraker

lol I guess there's no real french, english or spanish ...depends where you're from ... france's french couldn't be called real french then cuz they use slang too and english words ...we just speak like we were taught to I guess... and If there's no delay and if we can switch back to english or whatever I guess I couldn't care less either

Grimlouis
Grimlouis

Lol at the kid saying everybody in the world hates canadians especially the ones that speaks french. I travalled in many country and i have always been greeted warmly everywhere, even in the US. The only people that seems to hates us are on the internet, on video game forums. Keep arguing about how everyone hates us, but in the end even you cant hate someone you dont know.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Canada only has like 10 million people that speak french, like 1/3 their population, and only half of those 10 million speak just french, while just as many speak both english and french

Grimlouis
Grimlouis

@totaleklypse Basically, what you are saying is, quebec's french is not real french, mexico's spanish is not real spanish but US's english is the real english?

Hyrules
Hyrules

The law is simple for those who still doesnt understand it... Gamestore will still sell english version of the game ( and get it at the same time other version are released worldwide) but they will be forced to sell the french version as well if it exist somewhere else in the world ( yes there are still people in 2009 that dont understand other language than their native). Simple no delay, no nothing. I'm from Quebec and i play my game in english as well. I could care less about this law. I buy all my games in english and this wont change. Put yourself in our place. If Canada would speak 90% french and 10% english... wouldn't you want your language to keep going ? I think so. But hey i'm a stupid french Quebecer, who would care less about me and my opinions. C'était mes 2 cents. Bonne engeulade.

dtraker
dtraker

I dunno ... personnally I don't want french games ... it's crap ...not gonna lie

dtraker
dtraker

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jeremiah06
jeremiah06

Well why not just ship there that same time they do to the other French places?

DrNash
DrNash

I find this whole thing ridiculous. To be honest, I don't think government has any place at all regulating speech. Especially for a purpose as murky as 'national identity'. What they should be doing, as I support here in the States, is allowing private businesses to operate in whatever language they want instead of forcing anything, and let the market, and eventually, culture sort it out. I don't know how that would work up there, but down here the government couldn't pass such a law anyway since the constitution prohibits any regulation of speech, and state gov'ts have similar provisions in theirs. Not that our gov't pays any attention to it though.