Posting to Brussels sprouts novel tech-French course

Quick: How do you say “firewall” or “database” in the variant of French spoken in Belgium? For employees of Epic, the Wisconsin health-care software giant that is building out its European beachhead, it’s necessary lingo.

These were some of the terms that surfaced at the French House on the UW–Madison campus this summer, as four Epic employees took a one-week course in the University’s Division of Continuing Studies.

“We are working with a hospital in Brussels to consolidate their 400 software systems into one Epic system,” says Epic’s Jaclyn Wegener. “I hadn’t really used my French from college in two years and our company wanted us to get a refresher on the French language. It was helpful to learn a lot of the specialty-specific jargon. Counting is also different in Belgium … seventy is ‘septante’ in Belgian, ‘soixante-dix’ in France.”

“I’ve taught several business French classes, but this was a really specialized, boutique course, with technology and medical vocabulary,” says Sage Goellner, an associate professor of French. “We had to bone up on terms like ‘project management’ and ‘heath data.’ I did find that the stereotypes about Epic employees are true: they are bright, hard-working and fascinating individuals.”

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