Monday, October 16, 2006

Innovative solution or a threat to my livelihood?

So, the saga of the interpretation of the contract with the comma, which has been the subject of my last two postings, continues and it's just too juicy a story to pass up.

Rogers -- the party arguing against the plain language -- or should I say, plain English -- interpretation of a clause in a contact it entered into with Alliant, is once again going before the regulator (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to argue its case. This time, however, Rogers is arguing that the French translation (which was separately signed) does not use the same punctuation and so the decision should be overturned. (The basis for Rogers' argument is that, because Canada is officially bilingual, documents in both languages are equally valid.)

So there you go. When in doubt about how to interpret rules of English grammar, the solution is simple: abandon English for French!

I'll certainly be keeping a close watch on this case because if other companies follow Rogers' lead and start relying on French contracts, my livelihood as a plain English consultant could be in jeopardy. After all, why bother trying to write clearly in English when you can rely on French rules of grammar instead?