|Lost in Translation|
[Last updated: 05-May-2018]
This page contains a collection of English equivalent translations to some of the more common French words and expressions that were observed while working with French-speaking colleagues in Belgium. The work entailed proof reading documents, written in English, mainly by those colleagues. Numerous French words and phrases had either been translated from French into English literally, or 'badly'.
The information provided on this page, started life as a Word document. However, three factors dictated a change of format: an increase in the number of entries, an ever-growing distribution list of interested colleagues and the introduction of SharePoint. Thus it was decided to convert it to HTML and publish it as an on-line document on the company's Intranet site. This saved physically sending an updated Word document to millions(!) of staff (every time an update had been made), as well as reducing the corporate's e-mail traffic; albeit small!
It is purely a quick reference guide and is not meant to replace the vast amount of other information available from other sources. A few hyperlinks to external Internet sites exist in the Related Links section (at the bottom of the page) to provide additional information.
Note: Where more than one English alternative is shown, the context of the sentence/paragraph needs to be fully understood before selecting a translation.
|French Use of English||English Equivalent|
|...||Avoid using the ellipsis (...) to represent additional
values. It is not good practice to assume that the reader knows all
Unlike its frequent use in the French language (particularly at the end of lists), in English, the ellipsis is used to indicate that text has been deliberately omitted from a sentence.
Left (as in the past tense of leave; not to be confused with direction!)
|According (to xyz)||Subject (to xyz)|
|Anterior (to)||Earlier (than)|
|Applicable for||Applicable to|
|Applicability||How something is applied.|
Note: Although the word "Approbation" exists in English, it is used in very formal (legal) instances.
|Associated to||Associated with
[See English Forums]
|Assure/Ensure/Insure||See the appropriate entry in Common Errors in English Usage (Assure/Ensure/Insure) for clarification.|
|Applicable for||Applicable to|
A minimum of
|At least implies more than the stated number; for
example, Position at least two probes in each corner implies using
three or more probes.
A minimum of implies the stated number or more; for example, Position a minimum of two probes in each corner implies using two or more probes.
|(to) Canalize||(to) Channel; for example, to channel the air flow into a refrigerating unit.|
|(in) Charge (of)||Manage, Managing
Applies to something
Relates to something
Refers to something
Relevant to something
|Conform/Conforms||something conforms to something else
Meet/Meets; as in "it meets requirements"
Comply/complies (with rules, standards, or conventions)
|Conformance||In accordance with|
|(As a/by/in) Consequence||Consequently
Cover (the children well for warmth)
Cover (as in encompass)
|During||For (a period of)
Over (a period of)
|Echelonner||Evenly spaced (or spread) out|
|Exhaustive (list)||Complete (list)
|Fill/Filling/Filled In||Complete/Completing/Completed - For example, Complete the
Enter - For example: Enter your name and address on the form
|Final Approved||Final Approver
|Good (picture, temperature)||Best (indication of)
Note: Although the word "Hereafter" (or hereinafter) exists in English, it is either used in law, or to refer to the afterlife (those that have passed on)!
For example, The minimum amount of locations to be tested per area is not imposed.
There is no set minimum to the number of locations to be tested per area.
|Improvements of||Improvements to|
|In place since||Effective from|
It makes no difference
|Industrialisation||Clinical Development (depending on it's context)|
|Infeed (water)||Source (water)|
Effect? See also the Affect/Effect entry in Common Errors in English Usage
|(an) Information||(a) Notification|
|Last||Last (This is the last train to Bruxelles today)
Latest (This is the latest version of the document)
|(those) Last Time||Lately|
|Local dimension||Local environment|
|Lyophilisation/Lyophilisator||Freeze Drying/Freeze Dryer|
|Maturation (room)||Maturing (room)|
To come across something
To come up against something
|(as/at a) minimum||(at) least; for example, at least every three years|
|Mission (Description)||Job (Description)|
|Modelisation (noun)||Model/Modelling (noun)|
|Modelise (verb)||Model (verb)|
|Never eliminate sb||Never dispose of sb|
|Not anymore||No longer|
|Parameterisation||Setting up of parameters|
|Parted (in)||Divided (into)|
|Posterior (to)||Later (than)|
|Propose you||Propose to you|
« word »
Notes: In written English, there are no spaces either side of a word when using punctuation marks, exclanation marks, question marks, colons and semi-colons.
To create double quotes on a non-English keyboard, hold down the <Alt> key and enter 34 on the numeric keypad.
Direction (as in film making)
Is necessary (or 'required')
Production (as in film making)
|Redaction||Compiling and writing|
Put (things) in order
Sort (things) out
Responsible for, not Responsible to
|(In) Routine||Day-to-day activities
|Scotch (tape)||Clear adhesive tape
[UK – Sellotape®]
[That is, the application of a thin layer (or coat) of silicone.]
|Sloped (pipes)||Angled or Inclined (pipes)|
|Specificities (of)||Details (of)
Specifications (Functional Specifications)
|Steady||Static (not moving)|
Put/Putting up (with)
|Thanks to (something)||As a result of (something)
Because of (something)
|Tightening Torque||Tighten a screw cap to a specific torque setting|
|Unitized (load)||Individual (load)|
|Univocal (reference number)||Unique (reference number)
Clear and concise
In written French, non-alphanumeric characters (i.e., the exclamation mark (!), question mark (?), colon (:) semicolon (;) and Guillemets (« and ») are usually separated by a space from the preceding word, whereas in English, they are not. This space gives rise to an unusual (from a British point-of-view) situation.
When these non-alphanumeric characters are forced onto the next line (because of the length of the text or width of the margins), they can sometimes be the only character on that line. If this writing style is maintained when translating French into English, it can cause confusion (due to incorrect punctuation), especially if the ‘new line’ crosses a page boundary. The non-alphanumeric character ends up being the only character on the next page! [This situation does not usually occur in written English, as there are no spaces before any of the non-alphanumeric characters.]
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