Are you looking to expand your business vocabulary in French? Whether you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking country for business or simply hoping to impress your boss with your language skills, learning some key business terms is a great way to show off your fluency.
In this blog post, we’ll share some essential French vocabulary for business settings. From common phrases used in meetings and negotiations to must-know vocabulary for office life, you’ll be ready to take on any business situation with confidence.
Business French Vocabulary: Basic Terms
Here are some of the most commonly used words and phrases in French business vocabulary, along with their English equivalents.
- Une expérience – an experience
- Une garantie – a warranty / a guarantee
- La candidature – the application
- Le prix – the price
- Une opportunité – an opportunity / a chance
- Une réduction – a discount
- Des indemnités – compensations
- L’agenda – the agenda
- Un salarie – a salary
- Un dossier – a file
- Un projet – a project
- Un client – a client
- Une filiale – a subsidiary
- Un devis – a quote
- Au bureau – at work
- Accountant – comptable
- Annual report – rapport annuel
- Assets – actifs
- Audit – vérification des comptes, audit
- Bankruptcy – faillite
- Bonus – prime
- Boss – patron, chef
- Budget – budget
- Business – entreprise, affaires
- Business trip – déplacement professionnel, voyage d’affaires
- Chairman – président du conseil d’administration, présidente du conseil d’administration
- Chief executive officer (CEO) – directeur général, PDG
Business French Vocabulary: Job-Specific Terms
When searching for a job in France, it is important to be familiar with the specific vocabulary related to the job market. Here are some key terms to know:
- Un emploi: a job
- Un poste: a position
- Une offre d’emploi: a job listing/offer
- La recherche d’emploi: the job search
- Les ressources humaines: human resources
- Un CV: a resume
- Une lettre de motivation: a cover letter
Business French Vocabulary: Business Correspondence
When writing a business letter in French, you need to be aware of the standard conventions of layout and language, which differ somewhat from English. Below you will find examples of some common French phrases used in business correspondence.
– Commencer une lettre/email:
To open a letter/email:
– Monsieur/Madame, (Dear Sir/Madam)
– Bonjour ‘Hello’, (informal) or Cher Monsieur/Chère Madame, (formal)
– Salut, ‘Hi’ (informal)
– Cordialement (Sincerely)
Business French Vocabulary: Meetings and Presentations
Greetings and Introductions
When shaking hands, maintain eye contact and give a firm handshake. It is also common to exchange business cards at this time. Be sure to have your business card translated into French before your meeting.
Making Small Talk
Small talk is an important part of building relationships in the business world. When making small talk with a French colleague or client, there are a few topics that are considered safe:
–The weather: Il fait beau/froid/chaud today (It’s nice/cold/hot today)
–Sports: Did you see the game last night? (As-tu vu le match hier soir?)
–Food: Shall we go out for lunch? (Allons déjeuner ensemble?)
–Travel: Where are you from? (D’où venez-vous?)
Avoid discussing politics or religion, as these topics can be controversial and may make people uncomfortable.
Business Conversation Starters
To start a business conversation, you can use some of the following phrases:
-Can I buy you a coffee? (Est-ce que je peux t’offrir un café?)
-I’ve been meaning to call you… (J’avais prévu de te téléphoner…)
-I was just thinking about you…(Je pensais justement à toi…)
-Have you read the latest report? (As-tu lu le dernier rapport?)
These phrases will help break the ice and get the conversation started.
If you’re doing business in France or with French companies, you’ll need to know these essential business French vocabulary words for meetings and presentations.
Réunion (ray-you-nee-awn) (meeting)
If you have a réunion, it means you have a meeting. This word is used both in France and in Canadian French.
Présentation (pray-zahn-tay-see-awn) (presentation)
A présentation is, quite simply, a presentation. However, the word can also refer to the act of presenting something or someone. For example, if you’re introducing your boss to a client, you would say “Je vais faire la présentation de mon directeur.” (“I’m going to make the presentation of my boss.”)
Ordre du jour (or-druh dew joor) (agenda)
The ordre du jour is the agenda for a meeting. It literally means “order of the day.” You can also refer to it as le programme de la réunion (“program of the meeting”).
Business French Vocabulary: Marketing and Sales
In order to successfully market and sell your products or services in France, it is important to have a basic understanding of key French marketing and sales terms. Below is a list of essential French vocabulary related to marketing and sales, along with English translations.
- La promotion: promotion
- La campagne publicitaire: advertising campaign
- Le client potentiel: potential customer
- Le prospect: prospect
- Les ventes: sales
- Le chiffre d’affaires: turnover, sales volume
- La force de vente: sales force
- Les objectifs de vente: sales targets
- Réaliser des ventes: to make sales
- Un bon de commande: order form
Business French Vocabulary: Human Resources
Human resources: les ressources humaines
The human resources department is responsible for a company’s most valuable asset: its employees. From recruiting and hiring to training and development, human resources professionals keep businesses running smoothly.
Here are some key French vocabulary words for human resources.
Recruitment: le recrutement
The process of attracting, selecting, and hiring employees.
A person who works for a company or organization.
Resume: le CV (curriculum vitae)
A document that lists a person’s education, experience, and skills. In France, a CV is typically one page; in the United States, it is common to create a longer CV with more information.
Interview: l’entretien d’embauche/l’entretien téléphonique/l’entretien Skype
A meeting between an employer and a job candidate, used to assess the candidate’s qualifications for the position. A phone interview is an interview conducted over the telephone, and a Skype interview is an interview conducted over the internet using Skype or another video-conferencing program.
Business French Vocabulary: Finance and Banking
When doing business in France, it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with your French counterparts. Knowing the right vocabulary will help you to make a good impression and be taken seriously.
Here are some essential French words and phrases related to finance and banking:
- Le crédit – credit
- La dette – debt
- Débiteur – debtor
- Crediteur – creditor
- L’intérêt – interest
- L’investissement – investment
- La liquidité – liquidity
- Placement – placement
- La rentabilité – profitability, yield
Business French Vocabulary: Miscellaneous
There are many words and phrases that don’t fall neatly into any one category, but are nonetheless useful in a business context. Here are some of the most useful:
– Affaires (f) – business
– Acheter – to buy
– Activité (f) – activity, business
– Adresser (à) – to address (to), to send (to)
– Annonce (f) – ad, advertisement
– Attacher (à) – to attach (to), to be attached (to)
– Autorisation (f) – authorization, permission
– Avantages sociaux (mpl) – benefits, perks
– Avis d’appel d’offres (m) – tender
Tips for Learning Business French Vocabulary.
Use a French-English Dictionary
When you are starting to learn business French vocabulary, one of the best resources you can use is a French-English dictionary. This will help you look up words that you don’t know and also see how the word is used in a sentence. A good dictionary will also have example sentences to show you how the word is used in context.
Read Business French Blogs and Articles
Listen to Business French Podcasts
Listening to podcasts is another great way to learn business French vocabulary words and phrases. There are many different podcasts available that focus on different aspects of the Business France worlds, such as interviews with entrepreneurs, discussions of current affairs, or tips on how to improve your language skills. Some of the most popular podcasts include BFM Business Radio’s L’Émission des Pros du Marketing Digital & Social Media Français Aux États-Unis!
Take a Business French Course
One of the best ways to learn business french vocabulary is by taking a course from professionals who teach this type of language specifically. This could be an online course, which would give you more flexibility, or an offline course which might immerse you more into learning. Whichever route you decide, make sure that it matches your level ( whether beginner, intermediate or advanced ) so that you gain the most out of it.