Translation, the pillar of global communication, goes far beyond mere words. In this delicate world, even the smallest typographic details, such as apostrophes, play a crucial role in preserving linguistic consistency.

Apostrophes: curves and straight lines

Apostrophes, those little signs that are often overlooked, come in two distinct forms: curved and straight. What’s the difference, you might ask?

  • The curved apostrophe, also known as typographic is similar to a comma. This is the typographically correct version of the apostrophe, the one we’re supposed to use in our texts.
  • The right apostrophe, also called typewriter is a straight line. This is the apostrophe found on our keyboard.

The fact is: we use the wrong apostrophe most of the time, without even realizing it. But why is the wrong version on our keyboards?

The answer lies in the ancestor of our computers: the typewriter. Originally from the English-speaking world, its creator decided to replace the traditional apostrophe with this right apostrophe, to save space on the keyboard and make it a multifunctional character, which can be used to open and close quotation marks, for example. Since then, the bad habit has stuck, and we continue to use this “impostrophe”.

Consequences of negligence

Typographic accuracy is crucial to the quality of a translation. Neglecting these differences can have surprising consequences, as clumsy translations can alter the very meaning of messages.

The translator’s role

The translator, a true linguistic craftsman, juggles these subtleties. Its role is not simply to transpose words from one language to another, but to maintain consistency, even in the smallest details. As such, his role is also to take care of the latter, in order to obtain work of the highest quality.

What’s the best way to keep the traditional comma?

The French language is full of apostrophes, so you might as well use the right ones! What’s more, the curved apostrophe is easier to read, and blends in better with the text.
Unfortunately, most texts today use straight apostrophes. This is also the case for many of the texts we receive from our customers. Here are a few solutions we can adopt to make our texts more coherent:

  • To place the curved apostrophe, simply use the shortcut alt + 0146
  • For Mac users, use the shortcut cmd + ‘.
  • It’s also possible to use the “search and replace” function, which comes in handy when you need to change all the apostrophes in a text.
  • Finally, in the parameters, you can replace the assignment of the ‘ key with the curved apostrophe.

So let’s remember that every comma, every apostrophe, contributes to the symphony of global communication. Recognizing the detailed work of translators, guardians of linguistic coherence, means embracing the rich cultural diversity that weaves our world.

At ApexTra, you entrust your translations to experts who know the difference when it comes to these important details.