French Language Translation Services
An Accent on Accuracy
The highest quality translations, brisk turnaround schedules, competitive rates, and sharing of our knowledge, are all requisites for ALT‘s success. The complete and accurate translation of your company’s communications is vital to your success. That’s why ALT is obsessed with providing the best translators for YOUR project. High-quality translations are the product of a highly talented and experienced translation team with expertise in your industry. ALT puts all the pieces together to make it happen.
Why choose us for English to French or French to English Translation?
native speakers to ensure quality and precision translations for your target audience. With French in particular, a deep understanding of French culture is needed for translation to be successful. When doing business in a French-speaking country, professional human translation is a must. Do not expect to close a business deal or impress your clients with spotty software translation. Only through human translation, edited and customized to your target audience, can your meaning be honestly conveyed and your audience not be offended.
We are proud of our excellent reputation for reliable and high quality French to English and English to French translation services. We have assembled teams of translators from around the world, with an array of skills and specialties and can custom fit the knowledge and strengths of our teams to your specific projects and to your specific French-speaking market. To demonstrate our commitment to quality and our dedication to our clients, we offer free consultations and provide an industry leading 180-day warranty on translation!
We provide quick and easy custom quotes for your French translation and localization needs.
Need to get the “gist” of French?
Although professional translation is highly recommended for any business, legal or sincere correspondence in French, sometimes it may be ok to use machine translation (via software or the internet) to get the gist of an e-mail or web page. By no means is machine translation an acceptable substitute for professional translation—the technology is not there yet. But it is great for quickly getting the general idea of an article, e-mail, or web site.
Interesting Facts about the French Language
With more than 100 million speakers, French is the tenth most widely spoken language. French, with the exception of English, is the only language spoken on all five continents. French is the official language in 41 countries other than France and is the official or administrative language in many international organizations, such as the African Union, European Union, International Olympic Committee, Interpol, United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
For the most part, French dialects from different regions and countries are mutually comprehensible, but significant divergences may exist. For example, the number 70 issoixante-dix (literally, ‘sixty-ten’), in France and septante in Belgium and Switzerland. Or, the French word vide, which means ‘empty’ can also have the meaning of ‘vacation’ to French speakers in Algeria.
In the US, French places fourth as the language most spoken, behind English, Spanish and Chinese. French moves up to second most widely-spoken language in the states of Louisiana, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
History of the French Language
French language belongs to the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family. The Romance family also includes Latin (the parent of all languages in this group), Catalan, Italian, Occitan (Provençal), Portuguese, Romanian, Rumansch, Sardinian, Spanish and a few other languages of limited diffusion.
The wealth of the modern French language owes itself to the many different groups that have lived in the region. Having been inhabited at one time by a Celtic people, referred to as les Gaulois by the French, the language can claim several hundred words of Celtic origin. With the Roman conquest in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C., Latin, or more precisely, Vulgar Latin, became the predominant language. Later, in the 5th century, Germanic tribes originating in the east would also exert their own influence on the language.
Four hundred years after the invasions of these Germanic tribes, the language had become quite distinct from Latin. Referred to as Old French, this new language was first documented in the ‘Oaths of Strasbourg,’ which dates back to 842. France could now be divided into a northern region where the langue d’oil was spoken and a southern region where the langue d’oc was spoken. The names of these two languages came from the differences in how each group said ‘yes.’ There was also a third group, Franco-Provençal, but this language covered a much smaller geographical area. Dialects oflangue d’oil included Francien, Picard, Norman, Lorrain and Walloon. Dialects of langue d’oc included Languedocien and Auvergnat. Francien, however, would eventually dominate thanks to the growing political and cultural importance of the region in which it was spoken–that is, modern day Paris.
French utilizes the Latin alphabet. Diacritics include the acute accent (é), grave accent (à, è, ù), circumflex (â, ê, î, ô, û), diaeresis (ë, ï, ü, ÿ) and cedilla (ç). There are also two ligatures, æ and œ, of which the former is extremely rare.
In France, language is overseen by L’Académie Française, a governmental body first established in 1635, and restored in 1803 after being suspended during the French Revolution. While this body is the official authority on the usage, vocabulary and grammar of the French language, its power does not extend beyond the ability to make recommendations.
French punctuation is almost identical to English; however, there are a few exceptions. For example, a change in speakers in a French dialogue is indicated by a dash (-), while in English, each speaker’s remark is placed in a separate paragraph.
French Language Statistics
- For more than 100 million people, French is their first language. Another 60 million people use French as their second language.
- French is present on five continents and spoken in 51 countries around the world.
- Among others, dialects include: Acadian, Aostan, Cajun, Gaspé.
- There are at least nine different languages derived from French, such as Antillean Creole, Haitian Creole, Michif, and Tay Boi.
Translation / Localization Issues with French
Advanced Language Translation has extensive experience with commercial and technical translations from English to French and from French into English. We have also amassed years of experience in typesetting French content. Here are some of the common issues with English to French translation that we have learned:
- As there are so many significant differences between French spoken in various countries (and even in different regions of the same country), it is extremely important to take these differences into account when translating into French. Due to this fact, Advanced Language Translation carefully selects the translation/localization team for your target market, taking into account not only the team’s subject matter expertise, but also their dialect and locale knowledge.
- Texts usually expand by about 30% when translated from English into French. It is extremely important to take this into account in the document authoring stage. For example, buttons on a web site should allow for this expansionand page layouts in English should include more white space to accommodate the longer French translation.
- French is a Latin 1 language and typesetting of French texts does not pose any major technical difficulties, but hyphenation can be an issue.
- Beware of false friends. Make sure you mix English and French carefully. One should also be aware of a common misconception – French is an easy language to learn. So, as with any other language, having taken a couple years of French or being able to speak French, does not necessarily make one a translator. Translation requires more skills than just good command of source and target languages.
French Language Vital Information
Speaking Population: About 417 Million
Where Spoken: Europe: Belgium, Channel Islands, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland; Americas: Canada, French overseas territories, Haiti, US; Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo; Asia: Laos, Lebanon; Oceania: Vanuatu
Writing Systems: Latin 1
ANSI - 1252
Mac - 10000
Windows – Western European
Unicode Supported: Yes
Common Phrases: (phonetic pronunciations in parentheses)
French: français (fran-SAY)
Hello: bonjour (bon-JOOR)
Good-bye: au revoir (aw-revWAR)
Please: s’il vous plait (see VOO play), s’il te plait (see TUH play)
Thank you: merci (mer-SEE)
Yes: oui (wee)
No: non (no)
English: anglais (ang-LAY)