Native speaker translator+

A native English speaker translator at work
A native English speaker translator will have a sound knowledge of English grammar

As a native English speaker translator who translates from French and also has a background in journalism, I offer my clients:

  1. French-English bilingualism
  2. Excellent knowledge of English
  3. Sound English writing skills

Indeed, good writing skills in a translator’s target language is often forgotten as essential for this type of work.

Moreover, especially if a non-native speaker translator doesn’t live in the country of his or her target language, that key linguistic knowhow invariably just won’t be present.

Professional translators work into their native language


Translation: Getting it Right — a guide to buying translation
(Institute of Translators and Interpreters, 2014)

To demonstrate this, below is some profile information of a France-based French translator that is prominently displayed on the front page of a professional website.

Even though the translation is grammatically correct and easily understandable, it reads like translated text and isn’t how native speakers express themselves.

French text on the site

Parce que votre marque, votre produit ou votre service méritent mieux que des mots, vous avez besoin d’un traducteur qui est avant tout un homme à l’écoute. Pas un robot.

Translated text on the site

You need a human translator to adapt your brand content, your added-value, because at the end of the day it’s not just words we translate. It’s your vision.


  1. “You”, “your”, “we” — in English, the passive voice tends to be used.
  2. An “and” is missing between “your brand content” and “your added-value”
  3. Contrary to French, English normally avoids repetitions of possessive pronouns (“your”)  in a list, even when it only contains two elements.
  4. “value” and “added” aren’t normally hyphenated.
  5. “because at the end of the day” is a highly idiomatic expression that makes for an inappropriate fit within the context of this text.
  6. For such a small chunk of text, an identical number of sentences in both the source and translated texts is often a bad sign. To maintain the original meaning of the source text, the translation needs to be reformulated.

Revised translation by a native English speaker translator

A translator who will communicate the subtleties and vision of a French brand, product or service in context-appropriate English.


  1. The revised translation includes a mention of both languages.
  2. The hyphenation in “context-appropriate” is correct.
  3. No need to make any mention of “a robot”. It’s obvious the translator in the text is human and not a piece of software.
  4. The translated text is slightly altered to ensure that the meaning of the source text is maintained.
  5. Cultural awareness disregards translating gender insensitive French expressions such as “un homme à l’écoute”.

The fact is that the first impression given to a potential customer will often be the key determinant as to whether any subsequent work is undertaken. These types of “first contact” content therefore need to be flawless — and all the more so when on a website’s Home Page.

A complete mastery of all of the subtleties of the English language is the added value that only a native speaker translator can provide.

Please contact me to discuss any French to English translation and English content writing work. I’m sure I’ll be able to help.

Singing to learn English

Singing to learn English with Marcel Wiel — photo credit: Ben White @benwhitephotography on

As an English language trainer, I always advise my students to use authentic materials as a tool to improve their language skills. Nothing beats a watching a cracking BBC series and reading articles from publications such as The Guardian.

Another extremely efficient practice, which is also fun, involves a daily practice of singing to learn English.

The idea behind this exercise is by concentrating on the singing, a learner’s senses are distracted from the effort of mouthing sometimes new English words. This leads to an almost unconscious integration of vocabulary, strings of words and language structures.

And thanks to YouTube, a vast catalogue of songs with subtitles or in karaoke versions are on hand.

The only proviso is to avoid music styles that include swear words or poor grammatical structures. The objective of the exercise is after all to learn correct English.

“Our House” by Crosby, Stills & Nash is a great song for this purpose:

  I’ll light the fire.
You place the flowers in the vase
That you bought today.
Staring at the fire,
For hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long
For me, only for me …

What’s particularly valuable about this song is its relatively slow tempo, which allows an intermediate level leaner to easily sing along with the lyrics.

Similarly, thanks to their extremely catchy melodies, songs by Abba also are very appropriate for this practice, such as “Thank You for the Music”:

   I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore.
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before.
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
‘Cause everyone listens when I start to sing.
I’m so grateful and proud,
All I want is to sing it out loud …

Lastly, apart from its fun and learning dimensions, singing out loud on a regular basis has a third benefit: increased confidence for learners who are often anxious about their English speaking skills.

Indeed, nothing beats belting out the lyrics of a favourite song on a regular basis to make us feel less uncomfortable when having to deliver a presentation in the classroom or in a work setting.

Click here for this article in French on LinkedIn

Three golden rules for journalists

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday, a film about journalism and journalists

1 What’s journalism?

  • Tell readers what they want to know
  • Tell them what they need — but may not want — to know
  • Be engaging and interesting

2 The Charlie Chaplin rule

… or what can readers be expected to know.

  • Most will know of Charlie Chaplin
  • Almost no-one will be able to name the assistant producer of his film Modern Times

3 Include or not include?

  • When in doubt, leave it out