French translation: do you need a French or English translator?

Does your translator need to be French or English, and native in which language?

This post should help to clear up whether your project needs a French or English translator when looking to translate into English or French.

The first rule, to clear up most of the confusion, is for translators to always work into their mother tongue. This guarantees a basic level of fluency in the output, while the understanding, if the translator is qualified, should be as near to fluent as possible.

So for projects in English, to be translated to French, a native French person should do that job, i.e. a French translator. That term can be confusing when a native Brit or American refers to themselves as a French translator. What they m ean in that case is that they translate from French into English. This is who you need if you have a French text that needs to be rendered into English, i.e. an English nationality French language translator.

Following that rule of thumb, always going into the native language, you can then focus your search on sourcing translators who come from the country your project text is targeting.

I am an English mother-tongue speaker, who has lived in France/Canada for a chunk of my life, so I always translate into English, from French (and Swedish, nowadays!). I have dozens of colleagues I can refer you to for the other direction (into French, or indeed any other language) but for projects from French, I’d be the person you’re looking for!

If you still have any questions or just would like to discuss something related, give me a call, email or message via the links at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for reading. I do translation from French and Swedish to English, so if that's useful to you, feel free to connect and message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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