Knowing a second or third language besides yours will give you not only a better awareness for different ethnic groups, but will give you an edge in today’s competitive market. One of the languages you should learn is French. Why you may ask? French is spoken by more than 274 million people and is the language the most spoken after the English language. Learning French will help you understand a culture rich in history, architecture, literature and many more subjects as French traces his roots to the Roman Empire. In fact, French still shares with the Latin language countless of grammatical conventions.
If you choose to become a French translator, be aware that people in French speaking countries want to protect their native tongue and do not accept any foreign expressions on official paperwork or government websites , especially if those words come from the English language. Each discipline has its own jargon and you will have to know the dialect relevant to your field.
Some of the following are expressions that have their own corresponding words in French:
In the computer field, common English words such as “log on, search engine, and basket” are not allowed in French and the “French Academy” enforces the usage of French word only. Consequently, any English word must have a French translation. The words above become: entrer, moteur de recherche et panier. In the financial lingo, “public stock exchange” is “obligations publiquement échangés”, “over the counter” is “marché hors cote” in the legal field, be careful when you translate “Alimony” and “Child support” as a mistranslation of those terms can be the difference between receiving one payment or a monthly one.
Being a specialist in your field will bring you many clients, but vocabulary is not everything, you must know all the grammatical rules that apply when you’re translating into French.
Summary of the most grammatical rules used in the French language
French language use a conventional and a familiar form when addressing people. If the French meet someone they know very well, they will utilize the familiar form “Tu” and for a seminar or a company meeting, they will change to the proper form “Vous”. This is to refer to that person in a respectful manner.
French has 5 unique accentuations: acute accent, grave accent, circumflex accent, dieresis accent and a cedilla, written under the letter ‘c’). If one accent is used instead of another, then a noun can become a verb, or a verb can become a noun etc
French has many mute (not heard) letters that can affect the way words are pronounced and written
French words have a masculine or feminine gender for each object which causes the adjective to follow the gender of the noun. For example in English “The cat is grey” can be translated in French by either the masculine “le chat est gris” or by the feminine “la chatte est grise”. A good translator will know by understanding the context.
If you have mastered another language such as Spanish or Italian, French will come easier to you as all those languages follow some of the same rules. If you do not know any other language and want to become a French translator, many universities and organizations can give you a degree, certification or help you out in learning French but remember to learn a language correctly and to become a good translator, you must spend some times in that country…