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Issues in French Translation

For a conversation in the world or for livelihood, Language is the main source. Languages are communication method that consists of sounds and writing that humans use to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

At the beginning of the world, there were different types of cultures and their own languages. Among them, French speakers are approx everywhere. Apart from English, it is the only language in the world that’s spoken on 5 continents. There are more than 280 million French speakers all around the world. This number also includes 68 million native speakers. If you trace the source of the English language, then you’ll find that many words in the English language come from French influence. Out of all the languages in the world, French is the one that shares the most words with English. 

Major Issues While Translating French

You have to consider all the things, such as idioms and cultural references. While translating from French to English, one of the biggest challenges is idioms. An Idiom is a phrase that has an actual meaning, the meaning is to teach someone about a situation, and it’s not literal. Idioms are the toughest to translate as they don’t always make sense when translated from word to word in another language. It could also be tricky to translate it properly, but it is important to translate them as idioms are usually used in everyday conversation.

There are differences in grammar rules as well for every single language. It can also be challenging to navigate through these rules. Also, you have to take note of cultural references that may add a lot of context and richness to conversations. The French language has different rules for pluralization in comparison to English. It means that a word might be translated differently depending on whether it’s referring to one or many things.

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The French language is known as the language of love all around the world. The language has some Latin roots, and that’s where it gets its transparency from. But translating the French language isn’t an easy task, and here is the reason behind that:

  • Different styles of grammar
  • Deceptive similar to English
  • Variation in French-speaking
  • Long translation 
  • Unique cultural marks

Different styles of grammar

French originated from a different culture compared to English. For making sentences in French, they don’t use “subject+verb+object”. They arrange it in different order of words, which makes it difficult to translate. Another biggest difficulty is determining genders. This is because French is a two-gender language, masculine and feminine, so there are no determiners for genders in French.

In the French language, different words are used for each verb, but in English, there are only suffixes altered for each tense. French also has 5-6 different spellings for each tense of the verb.

In French, the adjectives are differentiated by the gender and number of the noun. Although when it comes to the English language, adjectives don’t change.

Deceptive similarity with English

As mentioned above, French has some Latin roots, which is English influenced. As a result, the number of words in English and French are similar but their definitions are different over time, which makes them more difficult to translate.

Variations in French-Speaking

French is the second most used language in business sectors after Mandarin. French is being used as an official language of 27 countries. Although, almost 4% of all internet content is in French. Almost all the French-speaking countries have lower numbers of English speakers, this includes France itself.

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Long translation

All languages are not created at equal lengths. Some languages contain more words in the structure compared to others. According to several types of research, when you translate from French to English, the translations are about 15-20% longer than the English text. If you’re considering translating the French text you need to fit it in a specific length.

Unique cultural marks

The level of formality of every language is different. In French, the formal pronoun for “you” is a more elevated title and is often used as a sign of respect. Some of these things are common in one language’s culture, but not common in another language.

Conclusion – French Translation

French is a language that has a rich history and roots in multiple sources. The French language presents endless challenges when translating from English. If you don’t have the right set of knowledge, you can have some challenges translating English to French. These are some challenges that a translator may face while translating French into English. Translating French isn’t a very easy job, but with enough knowledge and expertise, you can get the task done.