Italian and French: comparison of two languages from neighbouring countries

Italy and France are very close countries, with a great deal in common. However, given that all languages evolve daily, each language differs from others in certain aspects. Therefore, you must pay close attention to the particular features of the language while translating texts. Here are some particular features of French and Italian which you certainly should not forget!

·       The Plural

In Italian the plural form appears to be more complicated than in French. The plural in French is formed by adding an -s or -x to the noun. In Italian it is the end of the word which is changed. After the ending of the noun in the singular, the last letter will be replaced by another to form the plural. Some words ending in -i in the singular can therefore end with an -o in the plural. Therefore you must pay attention to the translation of Italian into French, or the inverse, to avoid missing plural words, which could lead to translation problems.


·       Personal pronouns

If you have already read our article on the particular features of German and Spanish, you are already familiar with this particular feature. In effect, Italian practically does not use subject pronouns before verbs. When one would say “je suis Italien” in French, this would be translated as “sono italiano” in Italian. The subject of the verb is marked by the ending. Therefore, you must pay attention to the ending of the words while translating French towards Italian, or the inverse, because the pronouns are not enough!


·       The future / conditional

In Italian it seems to be simpler to recognise when a verb is used in the conditional or future form. The conjugation of verbs in these two forms are very different. However, the difficulty comes from French. The difference between the future and conditional comes down to an -s. Although the first person singular of to arrive is ’j’arriverai’, it would be ’j’arriverais’ in the conditional. When translating a French text into Italian, the translator must therefore pay attention to the presence of -s, or lack thereof, at the end of verbs to be able to translate them into Italian.

As you have seen, French and Italian are languages which are similar in some aspects but also have many specific features which require careful attention while translating.

If you want to have your French texts translated into Italian, or vice versa, do not hesitate to contact Berlin Translate. Our professionals would be delighted to work on your documents.


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