French is the official language of 29 countries, with 270 million speakers worldwide. It is the language most commonly learnt in schools after English, and in 2011, Bloomberg ranked it the third most useful language for business, after English and Mandarin.
It has a long history as an international language of commerce, diplomacy, literature and scientific studies and is an official language of NATO, the European Union, the WTO, the International Olympic Committee and more.
Interpreting: We were able to provide two expert French interpreters for a two-day conference taking place in Paris last month at very short notice – the previous provider had unfortunately cancelled. After the event, the client credited both the professionalism and stamina of our interpreters. We also regularly provide French interpreters to the NHS, the Department for Work and Pensions and more.
History of the French Language
French is one of the Romance languages, meaning it descended from Latin, and evolved from Gallo-Romance dialects spoken in northern France. Forbes Magazine released an article in 2014 that argued that French could well become the ‘language of the future’, given the demographic prospects of Francophone Africa.
There are several major dialects of French spoken worldwide, most notably Canadian French, descended from Old French after settlers colonised the eastern shores. There is also a significant Francophone community in the state of Louisiana, where French has gained co-official status with English. In other former French colonies, including Vietnam and Cambodia, distinct pidgin varieties of the language have evolved.
Within Europe, there are significant differences in French spoken in Belgium, Switzerland and also northern Italy. Regional dialects within France are still strong, with the two biggest distinctions being Oïl and Occitan, from which most varieties descend.
Our French linguists are well versed in managing the differences between variants – use the link below to discuss your language requirements with us.