Translating is a valuable tool for developing fluency and comprehension. A perfect translator needs more than the ability to speak both languages. There are many challenges French to English translators go through. It is essential to note this as many things are susceptible to misinterpretation in translation. This article discusses tips that are key when translating French to English. These tips will guarantee you interpret rapidly and precisely on your attempt! It effectively can make you a professional translator of French.

Understand the general sense of the text before translating.

The French language might get complex when translating to a different language due to their difference in rules. If you come across a complicated text, get a general feel and understanding of the text before rushing to translate. Once you understand and are more comfortable with different components inside a text, it can help sort it out.

Try to Identify Cognates


French and English are languages that originate from the same family. There might be words that look, sound, and have the same meaning. The following are French words that are similar to their English counterparts.

  • La page translates to the page
  • La musique translates to the music
  • Immense translates to immense. They look alike and have the same meaning.

However, it is essential to note the false cognates. These words sound the same in English but are different in meaning. The following are examples:

  • Un raisin translates to grape and not a raisin.
  • Attendre translates to wait and not to attend.

Familiarizing yourself with these will help you increase your vocabulary and translation skills.

Avoid Literal Translations of Idiomatic Expressions

It is essential as a translator to familiarize yourself with the numerous French Idiomatic expressions. It requires special care and attention so as not to lose meaning. French Idiomatic expressions like, “Une bonne fourchette”, mean a hearty eater but when translated literally to English means a good fork which may make no sense to an English speaker. Other expressions include:

  • une bouche d’incendie means a fire hydrant. In literal translation, it means a mouth of fire as the word ” bouche” means mouth.
  • faire le pont means a long weekend. It refers to a French habit of prolonging a weekend through Friday, Monday, or a midweek holiday. However, when translated literally, it means to make a bridge.
  • Ça marche means that something functions or is okay. Its literal translation is to walk.
  • Coup de foudre refers to falling in love at first sight. Its literal translation is a lightning strike.
  • Poser un lapin à quelqu’un refers to a dating scenario when you stand up to someone. In its literal meaning, it refers to putting a rabbit on someone.

Several idiom expressions are popular with the French natives. These are only a few. Try to know as many French expressions and their meaning to have a smoother translation.

Use Good and Reliable Resources


Regardless of how knowledgeable and fluent you are in the language, a decent word reference and French to English translation services are necessary tools. If you cannot fully translate a text from French to English, websites like Gotranscript offer valuable help when you get stuck translating. It is also essential to get the apps and checkers to help identify the grammatical errors you might have missed translating.

Know Your Crowd

Knowing the primary interest group of your text can assist with word decisions when translating. Who is my target audience? Is the language formal or informal? Since a more youthful crowd is intrigued by the most recent and playful words, you would be more inclined to use those particular words while the old may not be familiar with them. For example, you can translate Comment ca va as How are you or What’s up. When translating, your audience may affect your word choices hence it is important to know prior who is your target audience.

Structure the Language

French and English utilize a similar sentence structure: Subject-Verb-Object. However, the French language offers a lot more grammar structure that would be endless when translated into English. There is the question of gender in French, where things are assigned gender. It can get very confusing when translating hence it is always important to note how the structures in French relate to English before translation.

Always Reread and Have Flow


When you are done translating, have a break and enjoy some time off – the more drawn out, the better. When ready, come back and read through your work to make sure it makes sense. It is important as having a fresh set of eyes can help you identify mistakes that you could not see before while translating. Make sure the tone is consistent and your work has a flow. Pay special attention to anything clumsily expressed or muddled. It could be anything you abandoned in despair while translating. Lastly, if you are fortunate, get a native speaker to proofread your work when done.


Summarizing the above article, translating requires practice and consistency. We frequently commit errors when translating, and the last opportunity to keep away from them and once again check the work is to re-read the text. You should always take your time and try to understand the text before translating.

Following the above translation tips will increase your vocabulary both in French and English and your proficiency as a translator. It might take time and effort for your French-English translation to be fluent and flow well.

Learn from your previous mistakes, and always remember to capture the original feel of the message!