On every job from Careers, the "Joel test" string is translated to "Test de Joël" (note the diaeresis sign (2 dots) over the e) in the French version. The diaeresis (also called trema) is used to indicate that the e must be pronounced.

It's surprising because I don't think it's common to translate names in French. For example Peter Jackson is not translated to Pierre Jackson (even if Peter and Pierre are translations). There is an exception with people whose names are now known in History, for example Alexander the Great is Alexandre le Grand in French (this example is not the best because his real name is in Greek but you get the idea).

So I think it should be changed to "Test de Joel" because it comes from "Joel Spolsky", not "Joël Spolsky".

See this random example and switch the language at the bottom of the page in order to view this.


I just saw that it may be a choice from Joel himself, see his own website:

It's the same on Wikipedia:


We'll get this fixed with our translators. We have a "do not translate" list which includes things like company names etc... Joel's name doesn't need to be translated...


Well, when I studied French in high school I always wrote my name as "Joël Spolsky" so I think that's correct. That's also the way it's translated on french.joelonsoftware.com (See Le test de Joël).

Ideally the wording in our French glossary should match the wording that Serge Wautier and Moez Mahfoudh used in that original 2000 translation of The Joel Test.

  • Hi. It's a honor to have your feedback, thanks. Do you remember if it was your choice or the translater's choice to translate/localize your first name? As I said in my question, it's not a common practice to translate names. Anyway, if you prefer than your first name is written "Joël" in french, I can update this question in order to ask the developers to revert the changes. – A.L Oct 20 '14 at 13:15
  • You have to keep in mind that we love rules, and we love exceptions too. Looks a bit schizophrenic ... My name is jean, which is a male first name here in France, and, as I know, a female one in US, so knowing that the female version of jean in France is jeannette, how do you translate "jean et jeannette" which is a roman of french author Théophile Gautier ? I recovered your copies in 10 minutes ! – Jean Davy May 4 '15 at 13:57
  • @JeanDavy actually I think Jeanne is the female variant of Jean (see Jeanne d'Arc). Is your comment addressed to Joel or me? Anyway, my comment was about asking directly Joel how he prefer to write his first name in French, I don't think rules or exceptions are helpful here since first names can be written the way the parents want (see Le Tumblr de la Ligue des officiers d'état-civil, where first names are written without following any rule). – A.L May 4 '15 at 15:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .