Global Lingo Blog

The French Language

News – The French Language
2008.03.11

The Commission for Terminology at France’s Académie française has updated its guidance on the French language. It recommends avoiding terms such as ‘email’, ‘blog’, ‘fast-food’, ‘supermodel’, and even ‘shadow-boxing’. The guide instead proposes alternatives, including ‘diffusion pour baladeur’ for iPod and ‘accès sans fil à l’internet’ for Wi-Fi. While these suggestions are often mocked in the British media, the update also offers helpful guidance for professional translators. Thus, ‘multifunctional industrial buildings’ and ‘rise pipes’ should be translated as ‘bâtiment industriel polyvalent’ and ‘colonne montante’. In scientific texts, ‘serial analysis of gene expression’ and ‘suppression subtractive hybridization’ should be ‘analyse en série de l’expression des genes’ and ‘hybridation soustractive sélective’. As a Commission spokesperson pointed out, ‘French is a living language which is able to adapt in the modern world, but it is also rich enough to speak for itself without the need for hundreds of English expressions.’ Global Lingo is proud to share the Academy’s commitment to the fluent and articulate use of language, and wholly repudiates clumsy and awkward phrasing in all its work.

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