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In Canada the language laws require all packaging to be bilingual - English and French, and both languages must be given equal prominence, which means, letter for letter, all the type has to be the same size, in both languages.
For designers it's a balancing act that often teeters on the edge, because French invariably requires more verbiage, to say the same things as English and when you're faced with detailed blocks of legal, the copy can easily overwhelm things. It takes a lot of finagling to ensure that all that copy (which no one ever reads) doesn't completely destroy the integrity of the design.
But designers are a hearty bunch. Those of us who do a lot of packaging and signage learned, long ago, to take the space requirements for two languages into consideration at the beginning of a design project. I pride myself on the fact that while I can't speak French without embarrassing myself, I can at least, typeset it, as ably as any Francophone. So I feel a bit petty bringing up this next point, but I feel it has to be said.
I'm unimpressed with the fact that while those of us in "the rest of Canada" are programmed, early-on, to consider the French language to be of equal importance to English, the same does not apply toward English, in Quebec.
In Quebec, English copy must, legally, be 50% of the size of French copy. This strikes me as discriminatory, elitist and, frankly, unfair. I did a bit of research on the subject and uncovered a couple of other issues related to the topic that I might as well share here.
In Quebec, new immigrant students are not permitted to attend English schools, whether or not they come from Anglo families.
Last year, an Irish pub in downtown Montreal came under investigation by the Office québécois de la langue française (essentially the language police) for having classic Irish signage, in English, inside the pub.
Here's my point. Everyone on earth knows that Quebec is the French province in Canada. We've all heard the arguments for preserving the unique French flavor of the province and I even agree with a lot of it, but I don't think they're in any danger of losing that "uniqueness" at this point, so what's with the discriminatory attitude toward English and English speakers? And why is it allowed to continue in this day and age? What do you think?