Written on 23 June, 2020

With a population of 64.1 million and a GDP of USD 2549 billion, France has the fifth largest economy in the world. It is the second largest consumer market in Europe. It is also a member of the G7, the OECD, the European Union and the World Trade Organisation.

According to Trade Finance Global, as one of Europe’s economic leaders, France boasts the continent’s largest banking, aerospace and nuclear industries and second largest chemical industry. France also has Europe’s second largest agricultural industry. It is responsible for around 20% of the EU’s agricultural production thanks to its fertile land. France also takes pride in its status as the world’s most visited country, with more than 80 million tourists travelling there each year. They generate EUR 77 billion of tourism revenue in the process.

The main imports are fuel, machinery, electronics, chemicals and metal products, with about two-thirds of imported products coming from within the European Union.

Need for a professional translation agency

About 79% of the French population lives in urbanised areas like Paris, Lyon, Lille and Nice. While these areas have a high percentage of English speakers, only 39% of the French population speak English. Most prefer to communicate in French, both for personal and business interactions. Working with a professional translation provider can therefore be essential for success when exporting goods to France.

As a direct neighbour and a long-standing business partner of the United Kingdom, France offers easy accessibility and opportunities for selling products and services across the Channel. While the UK and French markets are very similar when it comes to risks and requirements, businesses in France tend to buy from inside the country so companies must reassure their clients regarding price and quality as well as reliability.

Things to remember

When it comes to doing business with the French, it is important to know that respect, trust and appropriate conduct are crucial for success. The personal and professional spheres are generally kept separate. A bit of small talk at the beginning of a business lunch is, of course, acceptable in order to improve business relations, although the nature of the relations should be kept formal for the most part. While flexibility is not very high on the list of priorities, since regulations and rules play an important role in France, adhering to deadlines certainly is. Any sort of legal document related to conducting business, including shipping documentation and labels, must be translated into French if the product is to be sold on the French market.

Translating your website and any marketing materials from English into French can help you reach even more people in this target market. This is where a professional translation provider can support you in your venture, ensuring that you are best positioned to successfully enter into the dynamic and professional environment that is the French market.

With the recent pandemic and most countries, including France, experiencing a sharp fall in business activities, it might be worthwhile to work on an export plan based on economic forecasts, rather than past trends. Also, seek support and advice from reliable bodies such as the Department of International Trade (DIT) to minimise the detrimental impact of the virus.

Get in touch with our award winning team at Surrey Translation Bureau and discuss your English to French translation requirements.

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