French translation is crucial for doing business in France.


French language is spoken by more than 68 million people around the world, and the French are very proud their language and also very protective of it. Therefore take great care whilst expanding to France and ensure your marketing is professionally translated into French.


When in France, you are expected to speak French. Even if you’re asking for directions, you should probably first apologise for not being able to speak French well, if at all.


French has been used as the international language of diplomacy for hundreds of years before English took over. There has been times when French has been spoken by aristocracy in remote countries, including Russia and Mexico, in preference to the native languages. Today, even though English is the most common language in international business, science and aviation, many French people still believe their language is superior. Therefore, many French business people know English very well, but they most often prefer to hold meeting in French.


There is even a commission that has been established in 1966 designed to combat Franglais, a phenomenon where French and English languages are mixed. This commission protects the French language and creates new terms to replace words that are borrowed from English.


As you can see, the French do really take their language seriously and proudly protect it. So it shouldn’t come as a surprised that French translation is crucial if you’re planning on doing business in France. At the very least your business cards should have French translation on one side and English text on the other, but really in order to succeed you do need full French translation support including interpreting, website translation, and localisation of marketing materials.


Couple more tips…


It is suggested not to bring gifts to first business meetings, and bringing wine for dinner at a French client’s home will most likely not be a good choice. French wines are among the best in the world, and it is very likely that your French host would have taken great pains to choose wines that will be suitably matched to every course. Therefore, by bringing your own wine you might be implying that your cellar is better stocked than your hosts…


Also, the French prefer using surnames when addressing each other in business meetings. Therefore, don’t be put off by that, and try not to use first names until you are asked to do so.


Don’t hesitate to get in touch should you require any French translation. Our professional and experienced French translators will be delighted to be of help.



Don’t forget that some countries use different versions of French. So French translation aimed at France, should be localised if it is to be used in other countries. We’ve touched on this issue in this post:

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