Hundreds of millions of people around the world speak French, and over 20 countries have French as an official language. If you need your content translated into or from French, your best bet is to work with a professional French translation service. Unfortunately, not all translators have the experience to create the accurate translations you need. Get in touch with us to learn more about our high-quality French translations.
What factors should you consider when comparing French translation services?
How to communicate your message
If you are translating content into French, the final document may be longer than expected. In fact, French translations can be up to 20% longer than their English counterparts. This can cause layout problems if the text is being used in a print ad or other graphic-heavy format. You’ll need to work closely with your translator, who can decide how best to condense and trim the content while retaining the intended meaning and tone. A professional translator will listen to your concerns, propose solutions, and communicate clearly throughout the process.
French-specific formalities and tenses
French doesn’t just have longer words than English; it also has more verb tenses and pronouns. To correctly translate from English to French, your translator will need to know some of the context behind your content.
For example, the English pronoun you is translated into French pronoun tu, which is the singular informal form, or vous, which is singular formal or plural. The translator must know the number of people being addressed and the degree of familiarity between the speakers. If your translator doesn’t understand the social context of your content, the resulting translation may be inaccurate.
How grammar affects translation
Most nouns in English are gender neutral: we refer to chairs, televisions, and the moon as it. In French, all of these nouns have gender. The two languages also place nouns, adjectives, and verbs differently in sentences.
These grammar differences highlight a key reason why you need an experienced French translation service. Translation by an amateur who doesn’t make the text sound natural will sound odd to native speakers.
Countries where the content will be used
Depending on where they’re from, French speakers use a dazzling array of idioms and colloquialisms. When your audience is scattered across dozens of countries, the translation from English to French or vice versa may not always turn out exactly right.
When you are looking for French translators, ask where they learned French. If you are targeting French speakers in a specific country, let the translators know ahead of time.