French translation services are important not only because France is a major economic power with trade interests around the world, but also because French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. A whopping 220 million people around the world speak French, and it happens to be the official language in many nations.
The language is spoken in as many as 29 countries across North America, Africa, and Europe. Nations wanting to carry out trade with these countries would certainly need the assistance of French translation services and translations agencies. It is also one of the procedural languages of the European Union along with English and German.
Considering that French is the official language in European nations like Belgium, Monaco, Switzerland, and Luxemburg, you can bet that there is tremendous demand for French interpreting agencies and certified translation service providers. Likewise in bilingual Canada, where both English and French are widely spoken there, there is bound to be a huge demand for both English to French and French to English translations.
A measure of the popularity of the French language can be had from the fact that it is the most studied foreign language in the world ahead of Chinese, Spanish, and English. So it goes without saying that French document translation services would be in huge demand within academic circles. It does appear that anyone who knows French and another major language has a readymade career in things like French conference translation and French conference interpreting!
French, like English, is spoken on every continent of the world, and anyone who knows either of the two languages will likely be understood pretty much anywhere. One of the important reasons behind the popularity of the French language is the fact that it is universally recognized as a language of culture. Anybody who can even speak a smattering of French usually manages to impress people around him. People even fall for someone speaking English with a French accent! The popularity of characters from cinema like Inspector Clouseau and Hercules Poirot bear ample testimony to this.
A person who is well versed in French has a direct window into the fascinating world of the best of fashion, gastronomy, architecture, and the arts. You can gain access to writers like Marcel Proust and Victor Hugo and poets like Jacques Prevert. That apart, a knowledge of French is handy in a wide range of sectors where France, the 5th largest economy in the world, is a world leader. These sectors include retail, automotive, aerospace, and luxury goods.
If you know French yourself then that is terrific. If you don’t, then you are well served by a vibrant translation services industry. The fact that French companies are doing great business around the world indicates that French translators, French interpreters, and French conference interpreters are doing a stellar job. French, like English and Spanish, and to some extent Portuguese and Italian, became a world language on account of a colonial legacy. The English, French, Spaniards, and Portuguese introduced their languages in the territories they colonized and ruled. The spread of the languages was commensurate with the size of the empires they created.
Spanish and English became the most widely spoken languages in the world on account of the large sizes of the Spanish and British empires. The French empire, though not as large, still led to the rise of many French-speaking regions in the world, particularly in Africa.
One thing about the French language and the people of France is noteworthy. They are terribly proud of their language and think that no language comes even close to the sheer class and elegance of theirs. In France, many people will make it a point to reply to any question posed in English in French, even though they may know English very well.
Far from getting offended by this French attitude, most people are quite willing to accept the French’s claim of possessing a superior language. They will be the first one to admit that French is an elegant language and sounds very sweet to the ear. Any English speaker who can weave in a sentence or two in French at the right strategic moment is considered very erudite indeed.
If you were to visit France and spend some time in Paris, the chances are that you will fall in love with the French language and want to learn it yourself. Till the time you do that, you will have to rely on some good French interpreters.
A lot of French is spoken in the U.S. itself. In fact, it is the fourth most-spoken language there after English, Spanish, and Chinese. A lot of Americans of French descent who only speak English tend to enroll their children in French classes, probably as a mark of respect for their French ancestry and roots.
What cannot be denied is that French is an extremely important language, intertwined as it is in the histories and cultures of dozens of nations. The total number of its speakers may lag behind the numbers that speak Spanish and English, but are still large enough at more than a couple of hundred million speakers to warrant being taken very seriously.
France has given so much to the world- the concepts of republicanism, democracy, freedom, humanism, for example. In fact, they were amongst the earliest supporters of American independence. They taught the world the true meaning of art, culture, and high fashion. If it was the Romans and the Greeks who defined the apogee of Western culture in ancient times, the honor surely goes to the French in the modern era.
It is important for the world to continue to engage with French thought, as it has so much still to contribute to the world, just as it has over the past few centuries. As not everyone has the privilege of knowing French, the role of French translations agencies is going to always be important.
Anybody who is thinking of a career in the French translation and interpreting field probably has a good thing going for him.