Sunday, December 20, 2009

Charter of the French Language

Three weeks after getting back home I had figured out how to get copies of the marriage certificate. They had originally told me to mail a request back to Montreal, but in my hurry I had found a way online to do it instead. The certificate arrived, in FRENCH. Call me sentimental, but I always kind of imagined having my marriage certificate, seeing it, and it was never in French in my visions. Immigration also prefers to see things in English, though you can have anything translated, it just sometimes causes hang-ups and delays.

If you think the beaurocracy in your government is bad, this is going to amaze you. I called Quebec to get a new copy of the certificate. The nice gentleman on the phone advised me that since I had signed my marriage document in French (something I did not actually realize I had done at the time) that I would never, I repeat, NEVER, be issued a certificate in English. He further went on to tell me that it was actually law under the "Charter of the French Language" instituted in Quebec. (Oddly, the CFL also mandates how languages are displayed on restaurant menus, i.e. French has to be first and a larger font than any other language. . . .there is even more inane, crazy stuff in there, but I won't bore you. . . ) It was not that they did not issue English certificates, they did, they just wouldn't issue one to me.

At any rate, I had to get the certificate translated. Now, the words on a marriage certificate are cognates, so even I could translate it, but someone who is actually qualified has to translate it for immigration purposes. Amazingly, the teacher I was working under doing my student teaching, a middle-school Spanish teacher in her 43rd year of teaching had for the first 24 years of her career, taught French! The dear woman agreed to help me by translating it and signing the certification of translation for me and gave me several copies because we both knew I would need extras for the steps down the line in immigration. It was beautiful, fast, and FREE!

In no time I compiled the package and mailed it out. The applications had been waiting for more than a year to be signed and mailed out, finally we were on our way, May, 2006.

1 comment:

  1. YAY! A new post!!! Keep it up.

    Lucky you for getting the translation taken care of easily and for free.

    I must admit I do sympathize with minority language politics like that of the French in Canada, although it obviously makes things inconvenient sometimes. Heck, in India I have seen political parties hiring thugs to vandalize tiny shops and restaurants for having signs in English and/or Hindi only, and not the regional language. People can be very very touchy about protecting their language and all.