Language focus | 16.11.2009

Focus on French

Following the interest in our Country – Did You Know section on our website, The Translation People are producing a series of new, exciting articles dealing with language matters pertinent to EU-member countries. The Translation People cover all your translating and interpreting needs in any world language, but we have decided to dedicate our first series of country profiles to EU countries, due to the current focus on Europe and its imminent expansion.

The country: France

Many things come to mind when thinking about this vibrant country: the capital of style and haute couture; a thriving film industry; stunning landscapes which offer sultry summers in Cannes to the sweeping glaciers of Chamonix and the prehistoric standing stones of Carnac; toasts which are always accompanied by the eponymous glass of champagne; haute cuisine; and lest we forget French itself – the language of love.

The majority language: French

Love is not the only thing the language has to offer. As a country, France is diverse and beautiful, but furthermore, it is a major player in world politics, a fact which means that French itself takes centre stage as well: as a working language in EU institutions; as one of the six official languages of the United Nations (UN) and its umbrella organizations due to France’s position as a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council; one of the four official languages of INTERPOL, the International Police Organization; and in 2009, France also requested to rejoin NATO as a full member which will also strengthen its military power. It is high in the justice stakes as well, as it is the working language along with English, at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Regional dialects

Alsatian, Basque, Breton and Occitan are just four of France’s many regional dialects – not forgetting that French in all its forms is a world language spoken in Belgium, Canada and many African countries, to name but three. As a language it will become more prominent in international organizations if permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council are awarded to Africa. However, concentrating on matters closer to home, regional dialects have been hot topics recently and not only in France. The Scottish Government signed an agreement allowing Gaelic to be used in certain European institutions, which has paved the way for supporters of French regional dialects to push for the Regional Dialect Law and demonstrations to this effect took place in France on 24 October where over 14,000 people attended and urged the French government to better promote their languages.

Language matters: Shortage of French language translators and interpreters

The French language has been in the news recently both in the EU and within France itself. French falls into the popular language group known as FIGS (French, Italian, German and Spanish) and according to CILT (the national Centre for Languages) it is the most commonly taught language in schools in the UK. Yet despite all this, the European Commission had to advertise on YouTube for French language translators and interpreters, a shortage which needs to be addressed due to the anticipated retirement of current staff members. Over the next ten years, there will be the need for an estimated 200 new recruits.

France is a country rich in heritage, home to languages which still hit the headlines – showing the world that language and communication certainly do matter. It is one of the fastest countries to come out of the global recession and it is rich in thriving industries in sectors ranging from fashion to viticulture, from agriculture to manufacturing.

The Translation People understand the importance of language in every-day life to enable communication for business to take place. That is why we have established a team of highly qualified and trusted translators and interpreters who work in all language combinations both from and into French. We have our fingers on the pulse of the francophone world and are fully aware of the differences of the French spoken in countries such as France itself to Canada, Switzerland and African nations. We pride ourselves on our personal service and our team of linguists who have expertise in all industry sectors. So whether you are an individual or a company and would like to know how the Translation People can cover all your language needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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