French as a business language
French is a prominent language in international business, providing access to markets of over 300 million people on all continents. France is a minor part of that market but bear in mind that is currently the sixth largest economy on the planet.
French is also one of two predominant languages in Belgium (also a member of the EU) and one of the official languages in Switzerland.
French is widely used in fields as diverse as international banking, industry, tourism, agriculture, military industry, metallurgy, aerospace and much much more. Be it an oil field in french speaking Algeria or a Renault factory in France or a mineral mine in the Congo, French is the language that ties them all together.
Thanks to France’s history as a colonial power, French is lingua Franca of various nations around the globe and you can find speakers in Canada (Quebec), Algeria, Senegal, Gabon, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and in many more places around the world. For operations in any of these countries, an investment in a French voice over would be a wise investment alongside other localization services.
French around the world
We all know that French is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. But there is so much more to it. Let’s explore fun facts and interesting data that makes this language even more unique. Also, French is one of the pillar languages in voice over projects. Simply put – it’s huge!
For 32 countries French is an official language and they are all members of the community of French speaking countries called. “la Francophonie”. We seldom understand the impact, French culture had on the rest of the world, but just remember Paris is not the largest French speaking city, it is Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and you will start to realize how influential it actually is.
Today, 300 million people are able to speak the language and that number is expected to rise to 500 million by 2025. Companies all over the world realize this and make great efforts to localize content for such a large market.
French in Diplomacy
French is a second language for many international organizations like United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the WTO, the International Olympic Committee, and the ICRC. It is also said to be the language of diplomacy so don’t be surprised if you see French inscriptions on various embassies and other diplomatic institutions. Often, our clients are various embassies in the French speaking world preparing French Voice Over materials for their partners and employers.
The Language itself
Next to English, French is the only language that is thought in every country of the world and the only language that’s spoken on all the continents. Actually, it’s worth noting that about 30 percent of English language is composed of French words. You’re probably wondering how is that possible, especially if you take into account that French is a romantic language and English is a Germanic one.
Well, English adopted many French words into its vocabulary beginning in the eleventh century, with the Norman invasion of England. That trend continued particularly through Renaissance, because English thinkers and royalty alike shared a huge affinity of French words. Furthermore, words that were adopted include conquer, staunch, surf, view, and war.
French has more than 1,000,000 words. Yes, a million! It can be argued that some, like potato, are not terribly creative. Let’s put it this way, literal translation of potato or “pomme de terre” is “earth apple”. On top of that, it would be way too easy to simply say coconut oil – French version would be oil of the nut of the coco. Even Harry Potter got the wrath of French language. Harry is in possession of a magic wand or as French would say “une baguette magique”. Yes, that could be a magic wand. It could also be a magic baguette. But no worries, our awesome native speakers can help you deliver your corporate message in a comprehensible and relevant to your market manner. Also, with 20,000 new words created every year, it’s hard to stay up to date with trends. We can help you with that, as well.
Okay, in all honesty, despite having a weird sounding word for potato, French are actually well known over the world for their culinary scene. When it comes to gastronomy words, French is the top language. They don’t just develop foods, they develop words too. French has given us casseroles, marmalade, mayonnaise and many others.
Different dialects use different idioms and phrases. Our awesome native speaker can help you navigate your way to your target market. Language doesn’t have to be a barrier, it can truly be your competitive advantage.
It’s a difficult language to master. There are about 600,000 rules that no one knows but that everyone follows for the use of “tu” (you) and “vous” (you). And its mind boggling how similar certain words are. For example, “the green worm goes towards the green glass” translates to “le ver vert v avers le verre vert”! Not just the words, the counting is haphazard, as well. How? Try this – sixty-eight, sixty-nine, sixty-ten… Or sixty-ten-eight, sixty-ten-nine… Or four twenties, four twenties one… You get the point. However, you might be in luck if you live in Switzerland or Belgium by chance. Swiss and Belgium French has actual words for numbers. Apart from “four twenty”. Which makes it again very confusing, right?
It doesn’t stop there, too. French people are known for their creativity. If you were to forget to turn off a light, they would say “C’est pas Versailles ici!” or “Hey, we’re not in Versailles!”. If you were to stand between them and something they want to see, they would ask you “Et ton pere, il est vitrier?” that translates to “Is you father a glazier?”. Finally, if you are hungry but the dinner is not ready yet, you would hear “Ben mange ta main et garde l’autre pour demain!”, meaning “Well, eat your hand and save the other one for tomorrow!”. Confused? It might be because you’re not fluent in French.