The French They Never Taught You


A Seminar for All Translators from French to English*

Imagine a world in which the best translation of:

  • à is from, not to

  • bon is bad, not good

  • et is or, not and

  • le is an, not the

  • pour is and, not for

  • si is although, not if


Welcome to the surprising world of French-to-English translation! It turns out that if you follow a “rule” about French that you’ve known since the very first time you began to study it, your translation of even the simplest French words may turn out to be wrong. And of course, since you’ve known the “rule” for so many years, it can be hard to see that the right translation of il dirait in a certain context is not “he would say,” but “he reportedly said.”

Whether you’re a recent French major preparing to take the ATA Certification Exam or you hold a Ph.D. in French and have been translating for years, this course is bound to teach you something new. We’ll look at all aspects of French, from grammar and syntax to verb tenses and vocabulary, and discover the surprising aspects that they never seem to get around to teaching in French classes. We’ll start with the things that you already know and then dig a little deeper to uncover the things that your professors never told you—things that are critical for every translator of French to know. For example, you may be an expert in determining when to use savoir and when to use connaître to mean “to know.” But are you able to spot the cases where neither one of those verbs should be translated as “to know”?

Join us starting on June 15 to learn THE FRENCH THEY NEVER TAUGHT YOU.

The class consists of three one-hour lectures on Zoom and one Q&A session, all of which will be recorded so that you watch them later if you are unable to attend the live sessions.

The live sessions will be held on June 15, June 19, June 22 and June 26 at 1 pm EDT (New York time), but don't worry; you can watch the recorded version if you aren't available then.

Each week, you will receive a worksheet with short translations to practice some of the things we have learned, and we will go over it during the Q&A session.

The course costs USD 265 and includes six hours of training, worksheets and a complete set of slides for you to review and implement into your translation work.

*This course has been approved for 4 hours of ATA continuing education points.


  • Wonderful!

  • Outstanding!

  • Great. Very knowledgeable!

  • Wow! He really knows his field. Learned so much. Great presentation packed with great stuff.

  • Superb presentation. Interesting, informative, highly relevant and helpful.

  • Wow. This is my specialty and I still learned many new things. Just this presentation alone would have been enough to call conference fantastic.

  • Excellent! Need more excellent knowledgeable speakers like Mr. West!

  • Outstanding!—speaker is an excellent presenter with deep background in subject matter!

  • Gold standard for what ATA session should be. Extremely informative. Homework done and expert speaker.


Thomas West is known by translators around the world for his engaging and informative teaching style. Over the past 25 years, he has conducted seminars for translators in locations ranging from Buenos Aires and Cape Town in the south to Boston and Stockholm in the north and many other venues in Europe, Latin America, Canada and the United States. West began his career as a language teacher and then earned a law degree and practiced law with a major law firm in the United States. In 1995 he left the practice of law to found Intermark Language Services, where he has translated countless documents and edited many thousands of translations over the years. A careful observer of the kinds of things that can lead translators to misunderstand their source texts, he now draws on his quarter-century of experience to share what he has observed with translators around the world. In addition to being a popular speaker and translation instructor, West is also the author of three respected legal dictionaries, and is certified by the ATA for translation from French, Spanish, German and Dutch into English.

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