While working on a project, our translator (service) suggested we translate time zone to Canadian French. For example.

January 2, 2003 4:55 AM PDT

would become

2 janvier 2003 4:55 AM HAP

Are time zones really translated into Canadian French? If so, which time zones are translated? One source I found suggested that only the following would be translated:



This would have been a better example:

August 2, 2003 4:55 AM PDT

2 août 2003 4:55 HAP

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    Daylight Savings in January is uncommon in Canada, to say the least. – Pas un clue Oct 29 '18 at 11:39
  • @Montéedelait - That's a good point. I've updated the question. – B Seven Oct 29 '18 at 16:48

Yes, time zones have French names and acronyms and their use is recommended by the OQLF.

Here are the official ones used in Canada:

HAA : Heure Avancée de l'Atlantique
HAC : Heure Avancée du Centre
HAE : Heure Avancée de l'Est
HAP : Heure Avancée du Pacifique
HAR : Heure Avancée des Rocheuses
HAT : Heure Avancée de Terre-Neuve

HNA : Heure Normale de l'Atlantique
HNC : Heure Normale du Centre
HNE : Heure Normale de l'Est
HNP : Heure Normale du Pacifique
HNR : Heure Normale des Rocheuses
HNT : Heure Normale de Terre-Neuve

Here is a map showing where they apply: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heure_au_Canada

There is also a French name for the Central European time zone

HAEC : Heure Avancée d'Europe Centrale
HNEC : Heure Normale d'Europe Centrale

Should you want a "neutral" time zone name which works whatever the language, you might use the offset from the reference time zone, e.g.:

EST = HNE = UTC-5 : Universal Coordinated Time -5h = Temps Universel Coordonné - 5 h.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Time_Zone#/media/File:Timezoneswest.PNG

The UTC acronym was chosen as a compromise between French and English speakers, the former wanting TUC and the latter UCT.

You missed to "translate" AM (actually drop AM/PM and switch to a 24h clock) and "standard" matches "normale", not "avancée" so that should be:

2 janvier 2003 04:55 HNP

  • What is l'heure du Yukon? – Pas un clue Oct 28 '18 at 0:41
  • @Montéedelait Je l'ai enlevé, il n'est plus utilisé. – jlliagre Oct 28 '18 at 1:06
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    Great information. I have several follow up questions... Do you happen to know if these are universally applied for all French speakers? Or just French Canadians? Also, when they are used, do they only apply to Canada? Or do they use them for their USA equivalents? (ex, is HNE/HAE used just for Quebec, or also for New York?) And lastly, are there French abbreviations for other European time zones and/or other places around the globe? Maybe for French territories? Thanks. – Matt Johnson-Pint Oct 28 '18 at 18:39
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    They are not really used in France and are likely to be misunderstood. We rarely use timezone acronyms here, and not even zone names. Unlike with countries like the US and Canada,in France we rarely have to deal with timezones, mainland France and most of Europe being in the same one. When we need to specify one, we often just tell the name of the target city, e.g. Heure de Montréal, Heure de New-York, Heure de Londres, Heure de Papeete and so on. – jlliagre Oct 28 '18 at 19:45
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    In Québec too, we rarely have to deal with time zones all of Québec being in the same. Though your computer will be sensitive to time zones and time zone abbreviations wherever you are, whether the default language is set to English or French. – Nou La Oct 28 '18 at 22:37

Outre les recommandations officielles, la plupart des logiciels de date et heure font référence aux fuseaux horaires par les capitales ou les villes les plus emblématiques en faisant partie.

Par exemple sur mon ordinateur, le fuseau horaire est indiqué ainsi:

CET (Paris, France)

  • Yes this works fine in Western Europe, where no country has split time zones and the capitals are well known. But in bigger countries with multiple time zones, many people not even knowing the names of all the provinces, territories and states, virtually nobody being able to name all the capitals, as well as not knowing which are in which time zone, you have to use the name of the time zone itself. [Seven provinces and territories in Canada]{timeanddate.com/worldclock/canada) have multiple zones themselves as do several states. – David Robinson Oct 31 '18 at 14:07
  • North America (where I live). I'm pretty much sure, I never heard anybody on the phone mentioning "time zones", in French or in English. It is always something like; "Remember, we are two hours ahead." And, of course, there is the joke "deux heures plus tard dans les Maritimes", referring to Newfie kind of wit. Same with texting, time zones are computed in the head. – Nou La Oct 31 '18 at 21:53
  • Time zones really matter only in official uses. You'll see it on your electronic flight ticket, if you bother to look for it. – Nou La Oct 31 '18 at 22:09

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