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There is a time difference of five hours.

English: There is a time difference of five hours.

French: Il y a un décalage horaire de cinq heures.

A few weeks ago in the south of France. Il y a quelques semaines au sud de la France. I drove through some quaint French towns in the Pyrenees, many of which attract tourists who go there for the skiing. In order: Pierrefitte-Nestalas, Cauterets, Luz-Saint-Sauveur, Ginoles.

Sometimes, pilots like to announce what the time difference is between the departure city and the arrival city. It’s nice to know what the local time in the arrival city is, but passengers usually don’t care too much about how many hours the time difference is between the departure and arrival cities. Your pilots may announce that you’re now 5 hours ahead or 4 hours behind, etc. This part of the translation is often left out as it’s not the most important piece of information. If you do wish to translate it, you can just say that “there is a time difference of 5 hours.”


Il y a=There is, there are

Décalage (m) horaire=Time difference

De cinq heures=Of five hours


Sometimes, on shorter flights, a passenger may ask you if there’s a time difference between the departure and arrival city.

“Est-ce qu’il y a un décalage (horaire) entre Toronto et Québec?’’ ‘’Is there a time difference between Toronto and Quebec City?”


There is no time difference, so you can just answer “Non” and maybe add “Il est 10:15 à Québec aussi.” “It’s 10:15 in Quebec City as well.”


If there is a difference, you can say “Oui, une heure.” “Yes, one hour.”


Instead of “décalage horaire”, you may hear your passengers and colleagues say “changement (m) d’heure” literally “change of hour”. Technically, “changement d’heure” refers to time changes like daylight savings time, and doesn’t refer to time zone changes. Nevertheless, some French speakers will still say this to you, thus it’s important you be able to recognize it.


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