She might be French, but she ain’t a translator!


All French speakers aren’t French translators

Sometimes we hear these words: “We don’t need a French translator. We have a member of staff who is French”. Well that CAN work. But there are a number of things to consider. We  were contacted by the senior lab manager of a big chemical company, who happens to be French. He said, “My boss says I must translate this report into French. But I’m not a translator, I’m a chemist! Also, I have loads of my own work to do. I don’t really want to do it…can you give me a quote?”

She doesn’t know about engineering, but she speaks French

Here are other examples “My son has GCSE French and says he can translate this into French. I know nuclear energy production is tricky, but he’s a bright lad”.  “My sister lives in France, is a fluent French speaker and she’s married to a French bloke. She doesn’t know anything about engineering or what we make, but she can use Google Translate for what she doesn’t understand!”

French cooks aren’t necessarily translators

A client sent us long document with a series of notices in the middle which were flyers.  She explained that the flyers had been translated by a French lady who works in the canteen. It was tricky to explain that the French lady may be an excellent cook, but she was clearly only semi-literate in French. There were many spelling and grammatical errors in what she had written. As a long-established professional translators, we couldn’t be associated with amateur translation like this, as it could damage our reputation. And what impression does it give of the business, when this is read by French customers?

If you don’t understand French, how will you know if it makes sense?

The tricky thing for a client who doesn’t speak French is that it is difficult for them to check the quality of the written French language. This is why they need a professional translator. However helpful a native French speaker may be, it can be risky asking someone who is bilingual. Just as we have dyslexics, so do the French! Also, a member of staff maybe doesn’t want to do the translation, but feels obliged to (because the boss asked them to). So they may carry it out as quickly as possible, and make a number of mistakes. Also, do YOU know everything about everything? I don’t! Just because the secretary is bilingual in  French and English, it doesn’t mean she understands engineering or other technical processes. So if you want to give the right impression, you need a professional translator, which is how we can help.