77 million people around the world speak French as a first language. 51 million of these individuals live in France with 6.7 million living in Canada. Quebec is the second largest province in Canada; almost 25 percent of Canadians speak French as their first language. There are other countries as well that claimed French as their official language including Belgium and Switzerland.
While many languages have dialects, they are more important when it comes to translating French. The differences in dialects of Spanish maybe subtle, they are very significant in French in terms of writing, pronunciation and the colloquial language.
For instance, Canadians prefer words from a French origin rather than an English one. Even in terms of words such as “e-mail,” the translation of this word would appropriately be “courriel” or “courrier électronique.” While both terms would be understood, the first version would be used more in France While the second version would be used in Canada.
This information can help you as a freelance translator to assist your client to choose the appropriate dialect for their chosen audience. If the client wishes to reach both audiences in France and Canada, the best approach is to create the two separate translations, based on the fact of the extreme difference in the dialects.
However if you are forced to create one document to serve both audiences it is better to use the dialect spoken in France because Canadians are more familiar with Parisian French than the people living in France with the Quebecois dialect.
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