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ZIMS in French: Volunteers Are Making It Happen

Lu En Français

How’s your English?  French?  Japanese?  Spanish?  Russian?  Are you more comfortable reading and working in English, or French? You are not alone – most of us prefer to work in our native languages.  And thanks to a handful of dedicated volunteers in France and Canada, hundreds of users from nearly 70 French-speaking Species360 member zoos and aquariums will soon be able to use Species360’s Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) in French.

This is all thanks to a small group of volunteers from 22 French and Canadian zoos and aquariums who have spent many hours working to translate over 20,000 words and phrases into French.  “ZIMS is a critical, comprehensive tool for managing our members’ animal data,” says Cécile Erny, Director of Association Française des Parcs Zoologiques (AFdPZ).  “Having ZIMS available in French will make it more useful for the staff members at the 57 AFdPZ member zoos and aquariums who currently use this valuable tool.”

The work is difficult – volunteers log into a system that presents them with the words and phrases in English, and they then translate them into French – and requires not only good English but a good understanding of biology, ex situ animal management, and the ZIMS tool itself.  It is the type of work that automated tools just cannot do well, and it can be tedious at times.  A word can have many different meanings depending on the context, and these volunteers have to understand that context well in order to complete this work successfully.

To date, the team has translated over 12,000 words and phrases, with nearly 8,000 left to finish by the end of the year.  Of the 24 volunteers, three have been especially helpful, translating more than a third of the words and phrases – 4,400 – themselves. These three are Brice Lefaux of Parc Zoologique Et Botanique Mulhouse, Margaux Pizzo of Museum de Besancon, and Rudy Wedlarski of BioParc de Doué. 

Brice Lefaux, Director, Parc Zoologique Et Botanique Mulhouse

Brice alone has translated over 2,200 words and phrases. His expertise is deeply valuable due to his veterinary knowledge – translating ZIMS for Medical has the additional challenge of requiring medical knowledge.

Margaux Pizzo, Scientific Director, Museum de Besancon

Margaux has translated over 1,000 of the words and phrases in ZIMS into French.  Her scientific expertise has been extremely valuable.

Rudy Wedlarski, Veterinarian, BioParc de Doué

Rudy has also translated over 1,000 English words and phrases into French for this project.  His experience in the zoo as a veterinarian has been exceptionally helpful.

Without the help of these three dedicated wildlife professionals and the other 21 on the team, ZIMS in French would remain just a dream.  Despite their excellent progress, the team still has nearly 8,000 words and phrases left to complete by the end of the year, and the small team is looking for additional volunteers.  To date, ZIMS has been translated into Spanish, Russian, and Japanese.  We are very excited to release ZIMS in French to the wild – if you are comfortable working in both French and English and would like to help, please contact Species360 (

To all our volunteer translators, MERCÍ!

Anthony  Dabadie of Parc Zoologique de Chateau de Branféré
Arnaud  Dazord of Château et Parc Zoologique de la Bourbansais
Aurore Carrier of Parc Zoologique de Paris (MNHN)
Brice Lefaux of Parc Zoologique Et Botanique Mulhouse
Collana Maeliss of Legendia Parc (Le Sentier des Daims)
Elodie Rey of Parc Zoologique de Paris (MNHN)
Eric Plouzeau of Touroparc
Fanny Blais of Grand Parc Du Puy Du Fou
Floriane Guibert of Zoo des Sables d’Olonne
Franck Haelewyn of Parc ZOO du Reynou
Géraldine Blanchon Pothet of Parc Zoologique de Lille
Jean-Pascal Guery of La Vallée des Singes
Laëtitia  Lassalle of Biotropica Zoological Conservancy
Laure Garrigues of Parc Zoologique d’Amiens
Laurie Berthomieu  of Zoodyssée
Lucie Brisson of CERZA Centre d’Etude et de Recherche Zoologique Augeron
Margaux Pizzo of Museum de Besancon
Marie-Pierre  Lessard of Aquarium du Quebec
Marion Laurent of Espace Zoologique la Boissiere du Dore
Nicolas  Geli of Le Pal, Parc Animalier
Romain Brouart of Parc de la Haute Touche (MNHN)
Rudy  Wedlarski of BioParc de Doué
Tatiana  Beuchat of Parc Animalier de Sainte Croix

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