The now-deleted tweet read, " Rappelez-vous: nous travaillons pour que nous puissions se caresser, manger sur les terrances, et se rencontrer de nouveau. "
What did the Ottawa Public Health tweet say?
Anyone who knows French would laugh out loud at this because what Ottawa Public Health was suggesting with this unfortunate grammatical gaffe was that they are "working hard so we can touch each other, eat on a terrance," not a terrasse, "and meet again." The tweet was deleted and replaced by a more G-rated suggestion of "hugging each other."
Now, that's either a quite steamy proposition from Ottawa Public Health or it's that we just all have dirty minds in Quebec and appreciate a silly error when we see one.
Either way, I think the lesson here is that any translation software might give you the right words, but context is key!
What does Ottawa Public Health have to say about the tweet?
In a statement shared with MTL Blog, Ottawa Public Health said that its "social media team strives to provide clear, current and trustworthy information in an engaging way across our communication channels."
The agency said that it uses humour to boost its messages on social media.
As for the naughty tweet in French, public health said it was simply a matter of "human error."
"Ottawa Public Health does not rely on automatic translators, and does not exclusively translate public health messaging from English to French, but rather takes great effort in adapting the content, messaging and cultural references to our francophone audiences."
"In this particular instance, a francophone member of our team wrote the tweet while being quite tired during a particularly hectic week and made a wording error that was not caught prior to being published."