Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Brave New Language

Ever sat through a business meeting being held in French and feel as if you never learned a thing during your numerous years of studying this very same language? It is sad but true and happens because there is a whole, brave new language out there that real French people speak that is very different from what you learned in books; it has evolved, it includes slang, and it has a completely different set of rules and customs! Bon voyage donc!

First things first: as a rule of thumb, always default to the most formal. If ever unsure as to with whom you should use the vous or the tu, default to the vous. Unsure about using first names? Default to using Monsieur ou Madame LABLANCHE (in French names are always written as Julie LABLANCHE with the last name capitalized) - wait until invited to use a first name, wait until invited in every situation - this includes going into an office with a closed door - knock first AND wait for the response.



préalable = prerequisite, prior to or warning or forward (in a report)
un sommaire = summary
un échantillon = sample...
un fabricant = manufacturer
un détaillant = store/ seller
un distributeur = distributor
une grossiste = wholesaler
un brevet = trademark
breveté(e) = trademarked
une licence = license
les taux d’ amortissement = depreciation percentages/rate
rentabiliser = to make profitable
une division = a division
un secteur = a sector/section/ division
un pôle = department (a pôle has many secteurs inside of it)
une filiale = subsidiary
une filière = a network, a line of (a specific product)
un(e) stagiaire = intern
démarrer, redémarrer/ éteindre… un ordinateur = to start up, re-start, and to shut off a computer
verrouiller = hibernate/sleep (for a computer)
connecter/déconnecter = log off a computer
brancher/débrancher = plug in, unplug a computer
un produit = a product
le marché, l’économie = the market, the economy
un(e)chef/un(e)patron(ne) = boss
les taux = rates
les taux d’intérêt = interest rates
un paragonnage = a benchmark, while authentic is used very little in spoken French.
une veille = market review (example quarterly)
les notes blanches = white papers
intéressant = interesting/important (as in a client, numbers)
incontournable = dire, of utmost importance
pénétrer le marché = to penetrate the market
s’implanter dans le marché = to set up business in the market/economy
première approche = first contact with the market
un produit phare = key product


les données = statistics/numbers/facts
une société, une entreprise = more eloquent ways of saying a company (une compagnie)
les cibles = targets
cibler = to target
un commercial = sales person
commercialiser, vendre = to sell
un mèl = e-mail, the more proper version is un courriel (this is almost always used in Canadian French)
un fax = fax
faxer = to send a fax
une gamme = quality level
HdG = haut de gamme = high quality
BdG = bas de gamme = low quality
MdG = moyen de gamme = medium quality
(une) Raison Sociale = Name of Company
(la) Politique = policy
(la) Direction = management
le Directeur, la Directrice = CEO, or Executive Director
général = overall i.e. directeur général = head/senior manager
une entretien téléphonique = phone conversation
une entretien = interview or conversation
une interview = interview
RDV = rendez-vous (shorthand)
un rendez-vous = meeting (as in a lunch/or quick meeting between two people)
une réunion = meeting (as in an office/team meeting)
être en déplacement = to be on a business trip (elsewhere)
être en mission = to be on a business trip (elsewhere)
une carte de visite = business cards


Je reviendrai vers vous le 29 septembre ... (I will follow up with you on (this date))...

Je vous prie, Monsieur (ou Madame), d' accepter le sentiment de mes salutations les plus distinguées,

(This is the basic signature of a business letter, e-mail - which says in a very formal way that you wish them to accept your distinguished salutations).

Signatures in descending order of formality;

Meilleures Salutations,
Très Cordialement,

When you are friends with someone;


Compte tenu, (given that)

Merci de bien vouloir ... (verb) (Thank you to please do the following)

Je soumets ce document à votre appreciation. Merci de vos commentaires. (I am submitting this document for your review).

Compte-rendu = feedback/report

Je fais suite à votre mèl du (I am responding to your e mail from...)

Je vous présente .. (I am introducing you to ...)
Prochainement (next, soon)
Très prochainement (very soon) as in Je reviens vers vous très prochainement...
Sauf erreur de ma part... (Unless I was mistaken)

Je fais suite à notre entretien téléphonique de ce jour au cours duquel nous nous sommes entretenus... sur les produits que vous souhaitez commercialiser sur le marché américain.

(I am following up to our phone conversation today during which we discussed ... regarding the products you would like to sell on the U.S. market).

Restant à votre disposition, je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de ma considération distinguée,(I remain available to you, and ask you to accept my distinguished expressions)

Si vous disposez de compléments d'information sur... (If you have additional information regarding...)

Je reste à votre entière disposition pour toute information complémentaire souhaitée... (I will be available to you for any additional information that you may need)

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