16 Unique and Attainable Jobs That Require French: Infuse Français into Your Career
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Imagine the day when your French grammar is impeccable, when you can easily construct sentences, know the slang and, best of all, people understand you.
At this point, you may want to consider earning some money from those French skills. To address this, we’ve laid out 16 jobs that require French. And to help you find these jobs, we’ve included lots of resources.
- 1. Translator
- 2. Interpreter
- 3. Proofreader
- 4. Editor
- 5. Tour guide
- 6. Flight attendant
- 7. Casino, resort or hotel staff
- 8. Consul, ambassador or diplomat
- 9. French teacher
- 10. English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher
- 11. Voice-over artist
- 12. Non-governmental organization (NGO) staff
- 13. Think tank staff
- 14. Canadian and French Government Jobs
- 15. Any Position in a French-speaking Company
- 16. Any Job in a French-speaking Country
- Facts About La Francophonie (the French-speaking World)
- And one more thing...
A translator is someone who works between at least two written languages, working with documents such as textbooks, instruction manuals and newspaper articles. Translation is a profession that appeals to French speakers because of the flexibility it offers.
In many cases you can work remotely, thanks to the Internet, and set your own schedule if you work on a freelance basis.
For those with wanderlust, translators often enjoy success in the foreign country in which they reside. As a result, translation is a highly competitive field. Your best bet for breaking into the translation industry is to specialize in a specific domain (law, science, medicine, education) so as to target a specific niche.
- American Translator’s Association (ATA): The ATA is the largest membership organization of translators in the US. By becoming a member, you have access to a series of work-related benefits.
- Fédération International des Traducteurs (International Federation of Translators): This group is more far-reaching than the ATA, containing news, databases and employment resources for translators all over the world.
- Proz: This translator network is an asset for freelance translators looking for work.
An interpreter is someone who works with at least two spoken languages. Interpreters are most often needed in conferences and courtrooms. Simultaneous interpretation is the most in-demand form, in which a language is decoded as it’s being spoken, as in the exemplary case of UN interpreters.
Surviving as a French interpreter is all about elegantly conveying the words and personality of the person for whom you’re interpreting, so that you effectively disappear.
Not only must you be extremely comfortable not only with speaking, you also have to decipher non-standard accents and find apt and equivalent expressions across languages as well. Like translation, interpretation is a highly competitive field.
- International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC): This is a informative, comprehensive website for those who are considering becoming interpreters as well as those already established in the profession. For the former group, one can find information regarding training and career guidance and for the latter, the site provides access to a wide range of employment opportunities.
- National Association for Judiciary Interpreters and Translators: This is a great resource for those who are specifically interested in working in the domain of legal interpreting.
Anything that’s published should benefit from the eyes of a good proofreader. As a French proofreader, you’d likely be working in conjunction with a translator. Your role would be to make sure that the translation is grammatically correct and that there are no fautes de frappe (typographical errors).
Working as a French language editor on a freelance basis is another possibility. In this case your responsibilities would extend beyond that of a proofreader. Your job would be to make sure that the French content uses proper syntax and flows properly.
5. Tour guide
Multilingual tour guides are an absolute must in places like museums and monuments. If you like chatting people up and enjoy learning about different cultures, becoming a tour guide for the francophone tourists in town may be a position to look into. It’s not all fun and games, though—you’ll need quite a bit of patience and stamina.
- European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations: This European umbrella network works to bring value to the tour guide profession and maintain high standards of quality.
6. Flight attendant
Flight attendants that speak several languages are indispensable, especially on long-haul international flights. English is a very in-demand language, and French is yet another one. By being bilingual in this pair of languages, you’ll have a huge advantage starting in this career.
7. Casino, resort or hotel staff
The hospitality industry is a great place to use your French and there are a variety of positions to fill from receptionist to manager, depending on your qualifications and prior experience.
8. Consul, ambassador or diplomat
A country’s foreign service is a governmental branch that provides diplomatic services to other countries. Embassies and consulates that are staffed by foreign service officers are required to speak the local language. As a foreign service officer with a mastery of French, your placement options are numerous!
These prestigious positions are highly competitive and applicants are weeded out by way of a rigorous examination process.
Here are the foreign service websites for the US, Canada, the UK and Australia:
- United States Foreign Service
- Canadian Foreign Service Institute
- British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
9. French teacher
A surefire way to use your French (and extol the virtues of the conditional) is to become a French teacher in your country of residence.
Although teaching credentials or an education degree are not always required for these positions, they may give you a competitive edge if you have them.
10. English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher
This may seem counterintuitive but another great way to use French is to become an ESL teacher. The key is to find a position in a French-speaking country. Not only will you have to translate English back into French to make sure your students understand the lessons, you’ll be speaking a lot of French in the teacher’s lounge and when you’re off the clock.
11. Voice-over artist
Do you have a face for radio? Do you have the gift of the gab? Are you really good at doing impressions? Along with your stellar French, these qualities could make you a totally awesome voice-over artist. Voice-over artists are called upon for dubbing movies, for commercials and cartoons.
12. Non-governmental organization (NGO) staff
NGOs are constantly looking for people who speak several languages. Working in an NGO is a great option for expats living in France or those who are gearing up to travel to another francophone country.
- Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (International Federation of Human Rights): This Paris-based NGO with hubs all over the world is one of the largest and the most well-known on the human rights NGO circuit.
- Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger): This international NGO works to end hunger in developing countries.
- International Red Cross: The Red Cross specializes in humanitarian aid in the wake of war and natural disaster.
13. Think tank staff
Think tanks, organizations that conduct research in a variety of domains like social policy, economics, military, technology and culture, are always in search of Francophones.
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): This Paris-based think tank whose focus is economic development across the globe is constantly hiring temporary, entry-level staff members. Make sure to check their “current vacancies” page often.
- Sofreco: This consultancy firm, which specializes in sustainable economic and social development is a great option for those with a background in economics or any of the other social sciences.
- United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO): Headquartered in Paris, and offering jobs all over the world, UNESCO’s mission is to promote world peace and justice by way of education, science and culture.
14. Canadian and French Government Jobs
The governments of France and every other French-speaking country are conducted almost solely in French. And in Canada, the government is officially bilingual in French and English.
So any job you could do for an English-speaking government, you could do in French.
Think of all the secretaries, assistants, bureaucrats, managers—even letter carriers, drivers and bodyguards—that are needed by the world’s French-speaking governments from local and city governments to national governments.
In case you hadn’t thought of this one yet, there are literally thousands of jobs available in French-speaking governments around the world.
- Europe Language Jobs: Search for all types of jobs on this easy-to-use job portal.
15. Any Position in a French-speaking Company
French companies have long legacies and often, the work-life balance can be better than at American companies, for example.
The average French worker gets at least four weeks vacation per year to start. And they get their lunch paid for by the company.
Consider searching on the websites of companies like airplane manufacturer Airbus, transport manufacturer Alstom, fashion brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior, or at cosmetics giant L’Oreal Paris.
- Indeed: Search for many positions available at French companies through this helpful jobs portal.
16. Any Job in a French-speaking Country
Did you know they speak French in Tahiti?
Wouldn’t working as a simple shop clerk be much more bearable with an ocean swim at the end of each shift and a topical drink on the white sand beach at sunset?
Now multiply this possibility across all of the French-speaking countries and you can imagine how many jobs and opportunities there are out there for you.
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Facts About La Francophonie (the French-speaking World)
- French is the 2nd most widely spoken language in the world after English. French is the official language or one of the official languages in 29 countries. English, for comparison’s sake, is the official language or one of the official languages in 45 countries.
- French plays a significant role in several countries, even when it isn’t one of the official languages. In countries like India, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece, Poland and Brazil, French is an important language in administrative and commercial contexts.
- French is the one of the official working languages of many international organizations. Organizations such as Médecins sans frontières (Doctors without Borders), Amnesty International, The United Nations and the African Union, to name a few, conduct business in French along with English.
You see? Your high school French teacher was right.
Being able to speak French opens up a world of opportunities! Au boulot (off to work)!
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
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For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
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