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Why It Is Important to Avoid Advertising Errors

By Barbara McClintock, C. Tr.

A few months ago, I received a Target store flyer mainly in French with some English translations (not everything was translated). I was taken aback by the mistakes I saw in both English and French. The following are some examples. My eyes were immediately drawn to look at the errors rather than the merchandise advertised.

  • Ch. Sélection d’ensembles de vaisselle 12 pièces
    Select 12-pc. dinnerware sets
    N.B.: Ch. = chaque.
  • 25 % de rabais sur d’autres appareils de cuisine sélectionnés
    25% off select other kitchen appliances
    N.B.: Sélectionné (adj.) = selected in anglais, e.g., marchandises sélectionnées = selected merchandise or selected commodity or selected products. “Select” is sometimes used in advertising, however it is used incorrectly here. The word order is wrong (“select other”).
  • 25 % de rabais sur d’autres ustensiles de cuisson sélectionnés XYZ
    25% off select other XYZ cookware
    N.B.: Perhaps “ustensiles de cuisson” was a proofreading error in French because they used batterie de cuisine for cookware elsewhere. The English word order is wrong again (“select other” instead of “other select”).

Select as an adjective—not a verb—means certain:  select goods and services = certains biens et services.

Mason jars, used in home canning, were named after John Mason, an American metalsmith. The term is often capitalized in English. Here, it was capitalized in French, but not in English. However, the flyer used the word “select” correctly it in the same sentence:

  • 20 % de rabais sur une sélection de pots Mason
  • 20% off select mason jars

At the time of writing, Target has unfortunately announced that it is closing in Canada.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.


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