12 Best Expert Tips to Help with French to English Translation in 2019

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In the world today, knowing just one language isn’t good enough. More so, if you are planning to soar beyond your local borders. Besides learning an additional language opens more doors for your career prospects and allows you to interact with ease with people from a different culture.

Thus you are better prepared to participate in the global economy. Though you may find the best French to English translation; it’s also okay to do the conversions on your own. It could be for your assignment needs or your business.

The next probable question is how to do this successfully?

Pro Translation Tips


1. Understand the Material First

Read through the piece before you start translating it. Do it several times, if you have to. Try to identify what message the author wants to convey, and how they are going about it.

Take note of the words and phrases used. Don’t forget to jot down anything that seems noteworthy. Register the pitch and style used, too.

2. Focus on the Bigger Picture

If you are doing French to English translations; you probably a decent level of fluency in English. You have a fair understanding of the basics of Grammar and can quickly recall some vocabulary.

Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in the details. Instead, ensure that the translated copy feels natural, and is readable.

3. Don’t always Take it Literally

When you come across idiomatic expressions as you do translations for French; you may chance upon those whose literal translations don’t hold meaning.

Say, “une bonne fourchette” directly translates to “a good fork.” However, the ideal translation is “a heavy eater”, which makes more sense. Building your knowledge base of expressions in French will allow you to draw from this knowledge when doing your translations.

4. Maintain Stylistic Techniques

Writers use these techniques to create meaning. Therefore, they are vital aspects of practical interpretation. Your aim should be to maintain the register and style of the original text.

The techniques used depend on the type of document you want to translate. Identify these effects and try to render them in the translated text. It should be subtle, however.

5. Stick to the original Register

That means you need to mimic the style, words, and tone used by the author. Find the appropriate words that convey the same meaning as intended by the source text.

Don’t Just Rely on Google Translate

6. Tailor it to the Audience

Try to steer the French version of the text towards fluid translation. You achieve this by standardizing the vocabulary used, limiting the use of acronyms, and avoiding cultural references that are obscure.

7. Look out for Cognates

These are words in French that sound like their counterparts in English. They also hold the same meaning. For example, “amusant” means “amusing/ fun.

In doing this, though, you should be on the lookout for false cognates. Also referred to as “faux amis.” They may sound like a word in English but hold different meaning, e.g. “actuellement”, which means currently and not “actually.

8. Brush up your understanding of Grammar Rules

It’s a way for you to ensure technical accuracy. Check everything carefully. Grammar and spelling errors will only mar your translation efforts.

In English, the use of active voice is acceptable more than passive voice. Also, it prefers verbal constructions to those based on nouns. Remember to keep your paragraphs short, too.

Additional Translation Help


9. Use a Bilingual Dictionary

Many of us have come across a good number of what we would consider funniest google translate pieces. A bilingual dictionary, such as Larousse, could prove useful, in such a situation.

It gives you options to consider before making a final decision on the words that match the sense of the source. It is so because, English has more words than French, thus, different options to choose from.

10. Proofread the Material

To ensure the flow of the translated piece, you have to take time to re-read it. Ensure the consistency of the tone. Did you stick to the same register as the author?

Be on the lookout for awkward phrasing or any grammar or spelling errors.

11. Take Your Time

Go over the source material slowly. Take each word methodically, and ensure you produce a solid piece.

12. Practice

Translation requires more sophistication and precision than speaking. Therefore, you should give in if you fail in your first attempt.

Getting Better at Translations

To get the basics down, you need to expand your vocabulary. Find out the meaning of new words that you come across. Also, you can look for help in online forums such as Word Reference.

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