A new law aimed at protecting the language of Molière in Quebec could have a strong impact on video game studios.
We love our French language, but we probably don’t love it as much as it is appreciated in Quebec. In the green lands of this province of Canada, everything is done to preserve the use of our language, to the point that it sometimes becomes ridiculous. Certain laws put in place force in particular the titles of films and works of all kinds to be fully translated, often giving rise to more than laughable names. We think in particular of Pulpy Fiction for the famous film by Quentin Tarantino or even the Pixar Cars became Cars. Even fast-food brands are not immune and KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) bears the sweet name of KFC (Poulet Frit Kentucky) there.
The problem when love turns to obsession is that the dynamic can quickly become toxic and harm others. And this is unfortunately what is about to take place with the adoption of a new law for the protection of the French language. But what is the relationship with geek culture will you tell me? The video game industry with a strong presence in Quebec could well and truly be destroyed from within by this new project adopted by the government.
Do you speak French?
For those who don’t know, Quebec is home to a good number of studios and some of their branches like Ubisoft, Warner Bros Games, and Eidos Montreal to name a few. The video game industry is so developed there that no less than 11,000 people are direct employees. In this profession, English predominates as the main language, but this is not going to last in Quebec studios.
In effect, the new law 96 provides for many changes in the legislation around the French language and the entire province will be impacted. With the adoption of this project, the French language will become the only official language in Quebec and must be applied everywhere, including at work and in business. International employees are starting to get scared and many are ready to jump ship to avoid the language barrier.
The director of the Quebec Video Game Guild is the first to worry about this decision to make French the default language in the Quebec video game industry:
“We have a lot of people who come from all over the world to come and make video games here in Quebec. We are afraid that this sends a message of non-inclusiveness towards other cultures. I think everyone understands the importance of French, but I think it’s also a matter of making sure newcomers feel included as well.”
While the French government is waging war on Anglicisms in the world of technology and pop culture, the situation is all the more alarming in Quebec, where a major part of the video game industry could find itself abandoned by its non-French-speaking employees.