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Le mot du travail : « persévérance »

14 Jan

As a new year begins, many of us take time to reflect on the old year and set goals for the new one. On a personal level, I defined 2011 as a year of disappointments and hope, and 2012 as the year of perseverance and faith. Just the other day, I found a short note that I wrote exactly a year ago, that I could define as a short poem, but also a prayer and a statement of a wish I wanted to come true. I don’t know if the fact that I wrote it down engraved this prayer in my heart and increased my belief, but that prayer came true a few months later. Lire la suite

Le mot du travail: « to work out »

30 Juil

I find that when my workday of interpreting stressful  (yet fulfilling) phone calls, translating tricky terminology, billing projects and bidding on new ones is over… I am ready to let my brain rest and to get my body working!

I could assimilate all the knowledge and wisdom in the world (if only I had a brain large enough to memorize every bit of information that matters!), but it would not lead anywhere if meanwhile, my body was deprived of any challenge or care. Sure, I could go to the gym and run around in circles like a lab rat (or worse, at a standstill!), or go to my man’s basement and try myself at bodybuilding (and I have before!)…

Woman deadlifting (not me!)

… Whatever physical activity I pick, it has to be fun! But first, let’s review how to express working out in French: Lire la suite

Le mot du travail : « œuvrer »

2 Juil

After 5 weeks in Europe, I am finally back in my home office and slowly settling back into a “routine” (in quotation marks because there is honestly nothing repetitive or regular about interpreting and translating… that’s what keeps things interesting!). I cannot believe I did not get a chance to create a single post while in France! I must say that if I ever was at the computer, it was to work on a translation project with a deadline or quickly manage e-mails and prevent an overflow of messages. Lire la suite

When gender matters: « le découvert » vs. « la découverte »

26 Mar

As you can tell from the decreasing frequency of my posts, this interpreter/ translator/ blogger/ student is busy… and right now, feeling quite overwhelmed (in French: Je suis un peu dépassée par les évènements !). It is not just the work; it is the research and decision-making involved in moving. It seems to completely clog up my mind and stifle creativity. The anxiety of finding the right home, a good mover at a good price, packing & organizing, and then transferring all our bills, all that while we are already preparing for an extended stay overseas … it is all a bit much for me!

Since I am already researching and relearning financial terms related to the stock market for my class, I thought I would firstly share our mot du bonjour, and then cover some definitions. Lire la suite

Le mot du travail : « benefits » ≠ « bénéfices »

12 Mar

Faux-amis are so much fun… Since I interpret for health insurance companies, state health insurance plans, welfare programs in several countries, human resources departments for large companies, the word “benefits” comes up dozens of times a day (or as we like to say in French: 36 fois par jour). And in some contexts, the homonym works, in others not… Lire la suite

“Anniversary” vs. « Anniversaire »

20 Fév

It is a bit confusing…Happy birthday = Joyeux anniversaire

Happy anniversary = Joyeux anniversaire de mariage

My grandparents celebrated their diamond anniversary last year. = Mes grands-parents ont fêté leurs noces de diamant l’année dernière. Lire la suite

Le mot du travail : « la formation »

13 Fév

Continued education, additional training, or “professional development”, is so important in pretty much any line of work today. Whether mandatory or optional, it helps us to keep up our skills, acquire new ones and adapt our skills to new technology, market conditions, or industry advancements.

English: The Great Seal of the State of South ...

Image via Wikipedia

I had an opportunity to attend an event organized by the South Carolina BAR Association, called “Law School for Interpreters” last Saturday in Columbia, and it was quite enriching. Finally, the State judicial system explained… The naturalization process certainly helped me understand how the government works at the Federal level, but less so at the local State level. And every State is different, so it gets confusing, especially when you interpret…

Lire la suite

Le mot du travail : « délai »

6 Fév
Google Calendar - add an event
Google Calendar – add an event (Photo credit: Spinstah)

Deadlines, rush jobs and tighter deadlines… The life of a translator! In fact, deadlines are part of our daily lives, whether we deliver services or products, draw up reports or write up articles, or pay any type of bills. Personally, I like to give myself a limit date before the deadline, to leave myself time for proofreading if it has not been done yet, and for unexpected issues. I use my Outlook or Google calendar, to set my projects up with their respective timeframes and priority levels. How do you manage your deadlines, any tips?

Today’s word, as you can tell, is also a “faux-ami” (false cognate); beware not to mix-up with “delay” (retard). You don’t want to run into any delays for your délai…

// délai // masculine noun: deadline, timeframe
Synonyms: la date limite, la date butoir, (due date=) une échéance


Dans le milieu de la traduction, les délais sont très serrés (or « justes ») ! // In the field of translation, deadlines are very tight!

Il est primordial de respecter les délais, tout autant que de fournir un travail de qualité. // It is of upmost important to meet deadlines, as much as providing quality work.

Les candidatures doivent être déposées avant le 29 février si on veut postuler pour cette mission. // The deadline to drop off applications is February 29, if you want to apply for this project.

Je suis vraiment navré de vous apprendre que je ne vais pas pouvoir rendre le rapport dans les délais convenus. // I am so sorry to have to tell you that I will not be able to return the report by the agreed deadline.

Good luck in meeting your deadlines; bonne chance pour respecter vos délais !
Don’t forget to comment below if you have any time management tips (des “tuyaux”) to share with us… Have a great week!

Le mot du travail: « congé »

16 Jan

Bonjour et happy MLK day!

Having worked in the U.S. for many years, I have become quite familiar with the « system » and made the best of the small benefits companies are usually able to give when it comes to vacation or unpaid time off. My family in France is always surprised and feels like I ambeing « exploited » when I explain the standards here (2 weeks off vs. 5-7 weeks off after 1 year of employment).


However, I believe that you can make the best out of what you have and that it makes you a more competitive employee internationally compared to a French worker with numerous benefits and high taxes tied to their employment. Everything has a price… If a company gives you more paid time off, they will also have to reduce your salary. Basic maths.

So today, let’s talk about the word:

// congé // masculine noun (often use in its plural form): leave, time off, vacation US or holiday GB


J’ai pu demander un congé autorisé de 30 jours. // I was able to request a personal leave of absence of 30 days.

Puisqu’il est engagé dans l’armée, il peut seulement demander une permission de 10 jours à la fois. // Since he is enlisted in the military, he can only request a leave of absence of 10 days at one time.

Après 1 an d’emploi, Sophie aura droit à 3 mois de congés de maternité. // After 1 year of employment, Sophie will be eligible for a 3-month maternity leave.

Combien de jours de congés payés souhaiteriez-vous demander pour cet été, Mme Dupont ? // How many days of paid leave would like to request for this summer, Ms. DuPont?

J’ai du demander un congé sans soldes pour pouvoir visiter ma famille en France. // I had to request an unpaid leave in order to visit my family in France.

Je vais pouvoir prendre 2 semaines de congés pendant les vacances scolaires de mes enfants. // I will be able to take 2 weeks off during my kids’ vacation. 


Tips: Requesting a longer leave without losing your job

Whether you have been employed for 1 year or 10 years, this is a delicate issue because if you have the chance of being gainfully employed, you do not want to risk jeopardizing your position. Requesting a leave, especially in a « company first » corporate culture, can give the appearance that you no longer wish to work there, that you want time to look for another job or that you are high-maintenance…

So here are a few tips to get that conversation started with your manager:

  1. Acknowledge how happy you are in your current position, mentioning also the length of your tenure, and point out your recent achievements.
  2. Talk about a specific skill-set that an extended leave could support or help develop (ex. a leave in the country of the language you use in your daily work)
  3. Discuss how you would prefer to have the opportunity to telecommute during most of your trip in order to continue working on current projects (ex. set-up overseas, adjusted working hours, having your calls forwarded to a Skype number, etc.)
  4. Negotiate how much paid time off (Vacation) you can combine with an unpaid leave (Personal leave of absence); make sure you provide all relevant personal information too if you are requesting that leave in order to attend an important wedding or birth or funeral in your close family. This could qualify for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act).
  5. Express thanks, be accomodating and work extra hard to show your worth as an employee!

I have been able to manage such arrangements in my different positions over the years, with only 1 that was combined with a change of employment. Mostly I have been able to take some vacation time, and then work remotely for a few weeks… Bonne chance!

PS: You may have noticed that the audio files were not working properly in the inserted player (stuck on « buffering… »). This issue has been resolved and the mp3 format should work by clicking on play in the little player. Thanks for following le mot du bonjour!

Le mot du travail: « bosser »

20 Sep

// bosser // 1st group verb: to work (familiar)


Je bosse du matin au soir. // I work from morning to night.
Je bosse toute la journée. // I work all day.

– Qu’est-ce que tu bosses en ce moment? // What are you working on these days?
Je bosse à Saint-Miquelon en ce moment mais j’ai l’intention de trouver autre chose en province. // I am currently working in Saint-Miquelon but I am planning to find something else in the provinces/ country side

NOTE: « Province » = NOT Paris. Also note I made up « Saint Miquelon »… blame recording audio while driving! « Saint Pierre et Miquelon » is a group of Islands belonging to the French « territoires d’outre-mer » near Canada. There is no « Saint Miquelon » in France.


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