French and Italian are romance languages and have been derived from Latin which initially used to be the language of the Roman Empire. Both languages are mutually intelligible to many extend due to their shared origins. Italian and French languages share a more or less similar history with different roots. Both languages have rich historical backgrounds and have also undergone a lot of changes and the development of dialects that exist even today. It is important to note that the French had a good spread all across the world as compared to the Italians. The reason behind this is France emerged as a colonial power and this factor contributed to the immense popularity of the French making it an official language in more than 29 countries.
When it comes to the translation of either language, it is important that translators are well aware of certain facts of both languages and the similarities and dissimilarities these share.
Italian & French – A Brief Introduction
Italian is an offspring of the Indo-European language family. It is a romance language and has evolved from the vulgar Latin. Italian is a language that went through the least changes from Latin. More than 85 million people speak this language and it is the official language of Italy, San Marino Vatican City, and Switzerland. This language has many speakers as immigrants and expatriate communities in the USA, Australia, and other countries.
French also comes from the same family i.e. Indo European family. It has its roots in Vulgar Latin and has evolved a lot after the collapse of the Roman Empire like all other romance languages. French is world’s one of the most popular languages. This language enjoys the status of official language in more than 29 countries. French is also one of the six languages of the United Nations.
How are these Languages Similar?
French and Italian are quite similar. The linguists also consider these languages close cousins from the romance language family. This implies that there are shared traits and also share multiple cognates with similar grammar, syntax, and other grammar rules.
Vocabulary and Grammar
Italian and French have a common ancestor i.e. Latin. It also indicates the similar vocabulary and grammar of both languages. The Italian word ‘casa’ is a similar word in French ‘Maison’ which means house. The grammatical structure is also the same for both languages. These similarities make the evident learners of one language learning another easy and convenient. Likewise, the translation process also gets easier. Moreover, many French speakers can also offer their services as translators for Italian translation services after getting proficient.
Maximum Lexical Similarity
As mentioned above French and Italian are alike in terms of lexical similarity too. As per the Ethnologue a catalog of living languages, the lexical similarity between both languages is 89 percent. This number marks them as similar as Spanish and Portuguese to each other. Moreover, interestingly this is the highest percentage of similarity for the language pairs of this family and no other pair goes above 89. However, there could be differences in pronunciations and speakers can have to struggle to understand each other.
As the languages are similar to each other on a larger scale the cultural understanding and similarities are also great. Cultural significance is an important factor to consider while working on French and Italian translation services. Both countries have great admiration for the food, art, and music. These also share a love for performing arts. This cultural understanding helps the translators of one language to understand the other with its nuances better and can contribute to better and more accurate translation services.
Similar Target Audience
As a translator of either language or performing French to and from Italian translation services, it is also imperative that you are aware of the expectations of your target audience. If you are an Italian who also knows French and is working as a translator for both languages you will not have to face many problems with your target audience and how they accept the new businesses. You can also get away with the cultural context more conveniently as compared to others, eventually leading to better, more accurate, and appropriate translation services.
Being Italian, however, does not guarantee that you will be a good French translator, and the same goes for the French people. However, it can give you a head start and make the learning process easier and more convenient. Rest assured you can excel in your languages and translation career if you focus on both languages, as both are important and popular languages. Certain courses and certifications can also help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful translator.
Dissimilarities Between both Languages
Among the similarities, differences also exist between the French and Italian languages. Italian alphabets have 21 letters which include 16 consonants and 5 vowels whereas French has 26 letters similar to modern English. Moreover, the French language has complex verb conjugation as compared to Italian. It is important that translators understand these differences in order to produce accurate Italian and French translation services.
Another difference is about the subject pronoun which French people use while writing and speaking. Whereas Italian only use these while writing.
As a translator of either language, you also need to be aware of the difference in the negative form construction. They add ‘ne’ at the start in French and it becomes ‘non’ before the verb in the Italian language.
Working on Italian or French translation services could be confusing and can leave you in ambiguity. As the languages are more similar and less different and many times differences create confusion. You should be aware of the phonetic differences in order to produce an accurate translation.
Italians are famous for their hand gestures and intonations. They are mostly phonetic. A number of consonants in French are silent at the end of the word. Whereas you have to speak all of these in the Italian language.
French and Italian are two close relatives languages from the Romance language family. They have a common ancestor i.e. Latin. It is important that translators are aware of the similarities and differences to avoid mistakes. The languages are more similar in terms of grammar, cultural aspects, and vocabulary. A few differences include pronunciation and the use of subject pronouns.