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With a third of a billion people in the USA and another 39 million in Canada, Quebec can seem like an island awash in an anglophone world. Yet it is a North American gateway to one of the world’s most prosperous and fastest-growing linguistic groups: the French-speaking world.

French around the world

French is present on every continent and is the fifth most spoken language in the world. Some 321 million people are fluent in it and 255 million use it every day. It’s also the fourth most used language on the Internet and, after English, the most studied language in the world. In Europe, 136 million people are able to converse in it.

A colonial legacy

French spread beyond its European home through colonization, much like English did. It gained a firm enough foothold in North America to survive the British conquest and represent half of Canada’s population at the time of Confederation in 1867. Today, over 90% of Quebec’s nearly 9 million residents speak and use French.

And now, global trends are providing a new impetus to the language, which is set to surpass Spanish and Arabic in total numbers on the strength of high birth rates in Africa, where French is the sole official language in ten countries.

A global dynamic

French is part of a global dynamic of linguistic flux and dispersion. We see this in the Indian and Chinese diasporas present throughout the world, the exodus of Spanish speakers to the US on account of climate change and poverty, or the evolving ethnic makeup of Europe as armed conflict devastates countries like Syria, Ukraine, and Sudan.

All this has created a business climate that rewards flexibility, diversity, and a global perspective. And with the advent of artificial intelligence, large language models now put multilingual communications within easy reach of most companies.

A competitive advantage

Quebec is a good starting point for an international strategy thanks to its educated workforce, diverse economy, and ability to attract French speakers from all over the world. What’s more, Canadian companies have a leg up with their long experience doing business in both English and French—Quebec is their gateway to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, like Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s growth champion between 2011 and 2021.

A translation provider for today’s world

TRSB is Canada’s leading provider of French, and our multilingual division localizes texts into some 100 languages. With nearly 40 years in the field, we have the ability and the technology to open the door to a world of business opportunity. Let’s sit down together and see how we can be part of your French and multilingual strategy.