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French is one of the core European languages, with approximately 274 million speakers across the globe. With the help of our network of experienced and tested linguists, the AD VERBUM team offers you access to French speakers from any market and industry.
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When you translate from English to French, you have to keep in mind several key factors that make English to French translation highly complex for translators.
Below we list linguistic examples:
In French, adjectives generally follow the noun, for example, ‘ville moderne’ (literal translation: ‘city modern’) when in English it is ‘modern city’. Of course, there are exceptions in French with adjectives, for example, the French words for ‘good’, ‘new’, ‘little’, etc., but this is not that common.
In French, all nouns take either the article ‘le’ or ‘la’, for example, the noun city has the article ‘la’ (or ‘feminine’), so the adjective ‘modern(e)’ will also be modified by adding ‘e’ at the end. Nouns do not change that way in English.
In French, accents (‘aigu’, ‘grave’, ‘circonflexe’, ‘tréma’) are used in many words, while in English they are only used in foreign words.
The possessive adjective provides information about gender, number, and person (information about the possessor).
In French, some nouns are in the masculine form and others in the feminine. This is not present in the grammar of English, which has no case endings, as there is no feminine or masculine in English aside from a few exceptions, such as ‘lion’ and ‘lioness’.
In French, you need to make sure that the adjective is in grammatical agreement with the noun it modifies.
In English, contrary to French, there is no grammatical gender.
Two singulars are treated as a plural. (‘Le chat et le chien couchés sous la table dorment’) (‘The cat and dog are lying under the table asleep’).
The masculine prevails over the feminine. (‘Maman et papa énervés se sont mis à crier’) (‘Angry mom and dad started screaming’).
In French, adjectives agree in gender and number.
The determiners ‘le, la, les’ are referred to as definite articles. They are used in front of a noun designating a being or a thing that is presented as known.
The determiners ‘un, une, des’ are known as indefinite articles. They are used in front of a noun designating a being or a thing that has not yet been mentioned and is not presented as known. Each determiner has a special function and agrees with the gender and number of the noun.
The process of translating from English to French is complex, especially considering that the structure of sentences in French is different from that in English.
Verbs in French change depending on the mood, tense, person and number, whereas in English, only the third person is different.
In French conjugation, there are 7 moods; a distinction is made between personal moods (Indicative, Subjunctive, Conditional and Imperative) which address a person, and impersonal moods (Gerund, Participle and Infinite).
French verbs are divided into 3 groups:
1st group: verbs ending in -er (except for ‘aller’)
2nd group: verbs ending in -ir, with the gerund ending in -issant
3rd group: verbs ending in -re (with the exception of irregular verbs).
The fear of long words (this pathology does exist) is called ‘hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobie’.
French was the official language of England for over 300 years. French became the official language of France in 1539 to replace Latin as the language of the courts and chancelleries.
‘La Disparition’ is a lipogram novel, a figure of speech that consists of a text from which certain letters of the alphabet are deliberately excluded. Written by Georges Perec, this 300-page book does not include the letter ‘e’ once.
Along with English and Portuguese, French is the only language spoken on all continents. This trend is the result of a colonialist past shared with the United Kingdom.
With its 6 letters, ‘oiseau’ is the smallest word in the French language containing all the vowels.
French has more than a million words and 20,000 new ones are created every year.
The shortest town name is Y. It is located in Somme, northern France.
In French, the word for ‘I’ does not require capitalization (‘Today, I am fine.’ - ‘Aujourd’hui, je vais bien’).
There are more French speakers on the African continent than in Europe. This is because in the past the French colonized a lot of African territories.
The French don't use QWERTY keyboards but AZERTY keyboards.
Non-breaking spaces before punctuation. (‘How are you?’ – ‘Comment allez-vous ?’).
Special quotation marks are used in French, for example « Bonjour ! », meaning ‘Hello!’.
Adjectives of nationality (French), nouns of days (Tuesday) and months (May) and titles (the Minister of Finance) are not capitalized in French, unlike in English.
Monsieur (Mister) is abbreviated to ‘M.’ and not to ‘Mr.’, which comes from the English mister and is therefore reserved for English.
For English, French can be similar, here are a few examples:
|Month in French||Month in English|
There are tricky French words that sound like words in English, but are not equal in meaning. They are called ‘false friends’; here are some French false cognates to watch out for:
actuellement – currently (not actually)
attendre – to wait (not to attend)
assister – to attend (not to assist)
bras – arms (not bra)
blessé – injured (not blessed)
une librarie – bookshop (not library)
un raisin – grape (not raisin)
Bonjour - Good morning (le matin)
Bonsoir - Good evening
Salut - Hi, Hello
Comment ça va ? - How’s it going?
Je m’appelle… - My name is…
Comment tu t’appelles / vous appelez vous ? - What’s your name?
A bientôt - See you soon
Oui - yes
Non - no
Je ne sais pas - I don’t know
Je ne comprends pas - I don’t understand
Me comprenez-vous ? - Do you understand me?
Comment se prononce ce caractère - How do you pronounce this character?
Comment appelez-vous cela ? - What is this called?
Plus lentement, s’il vous plaît - slower please
Je ne parle pas (bien) anglais - I do not speak English (very well)
Je parle (un peu) anglais - I speak (a little) English
Vous m’avez mal compris - You misunderstood me
Tu peux répéter s’il te plaît ? - Can you repeat that, please? (informal)
Comment dit-on … en anglais ? - How do you say … in English?
Je suis en train d’apprendre l’anglais - I’m learning English
Que signifie … ? - What does … mean?
père - father
mère - mother
enfant - child or a kid
grand-père - grandfather
grand-mère - grandmother
fille - daughter
fils - son
oncle - uncle
tante - aunt
frère - brother
sœur - sister
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