Three Useful Tips for Translating French Into English

Linguist Rob Watts of RobWords shared three very useful tips that logically explain how to translate certain French words into English.

The only language you need is English. Let me teach you how to read French words without already knowing any French

Examples include French words that start with “É”, which is traded for an “S”. (école = school, éponge = sponge, étranger = stranger); French words containing â, ê, î, ô; require and additional “s” (forêt = forest, hôpital = hospital, tempête = tempest or storm); and the “GU” within French words are traded for a “W” (Guillaume = William, Guerre = war, guêpe = wasp).

By inserting an extra S here or there, some French words magically become much more like their English equivalents (or “cognates”). Also, the clever deployment of a W can render even the most Gallic of words easily recognisable. The tricks don’t work every time… but when they do, it is enormously satisfying.

Three Useful Tips for Translating French Into English

Watts did another explainer about French words in English.