In my CV I currently mention some special fields I have experience in. I am interested in an job offer in these fields.

The problem is, as I'm french speaking the fields in question are translated into french e.g. "Machine Learning" becomes "Apprentissage Automatique". In the job offer, in french too, these fields are referred with their english words (Machine Learning).

I'm a bit affraid that the people in charge don't know the french term because it is often used in english, or will overlook this as they go through my CV. Should I put the english terms or is it too weird? I can't really make up my mind.

Thank you!

  • 1
    What do you mean "are translated"? Who's doing the translation? If the world uses English terms here, so should you.
    – user8036
    Aug 30, 2014 at 19:19
  • 2
    There's always the solution of giving the term and then defining it: "Research in applying Machine Learning (Apprentissage Automatique) to ...". Or the other way around.
    – keshlam
    Aug 31, 2014 at 20:01
  • Thanks, I had this exact same question... Dec 23, 2019 at 4:46

3 Answers 3


I'm Belgian as well so I understand the dilemma you face.

For a short period I maintained both a Dutch and an English version but it was too much work to end up with an extra CV that sounded very poor: French translates most of the technical terms to their own version which feels uncomfortable but Dutch doesn't, which ends you up with 50% Dutch words and 50% English ones - which also feels uncomfortable.

In the end I decided to ditch the Dutch one and I always use the English now. The reason for this is because even though I get most job offers in Dutch and French, there is always the requirement to either speak Dutch or French and often English as well.

If you're a native French speaker then that will be clear enough from the "languages" section on your resume and the same goes for Dutch.

It just doesn't make much sense to use rarely-used translations for a field that's very dominantly English worldwide.

  • 1
    I have an English version of my CV too, but I figured that if the job offer is in French and my cover letter is in French as well it will be weird to include the CV in English. Sometimes the offers are in English, French and Dutch and currently, while I would be perfectly capable of doing it in English, I feel more comfortable doing it in French.
    – AdrienNK
    Aug 31, 2014 at 19:03

Are you in France? If you are in an English speaking country, you know what the answer is. If you are in France, then you go with the de facto practice.

I wouldn't be caught dead speaking the French as specified by the Academy Francaise in an everyday situation. My opinion is that vernacular French is far more dynamic, adaptive, pragmatic and practical than classical French.

I have serious doubts about how relevant "Apprentissage Automatique" compared to Machine Learning. If you use "Apprentissage Automatique" when everybody and his brother use Machine Learning, you run a real risk of coming across as a pompous, pointy headed ass, which I think the Academie Francaise is. They are the only body of people I ever heard of whose job is to legislate a living language. Given half a chance, they'd make you talk French as if you were living in the 16th to 19th centuries.

  • I live in Belgium so half of the country speaks french. In fact on one hand that would make perfect sense to use the english word and on the other hand I think I may loose a bit of consistancy in my CV (e.g. In the summary of my master's thesis I talk about "Machine Learning" and "big data", if I translate I have 2 english words for 4 words in french, that gives a little frenglish feel...)
    – AdrienNK
    Aug 30, 2014 at 19:06
  • @AdrieNK You don't want consistency for consistency's sake but because you find consistency convenient and practical - yes, there are situations where consistency is neither convenient nor practical. In your case, using the English words is convenient AND practical :) I'll note that the US is a strong leader in computer science and you know that we Americans don't go out of our way to translate ANYTHING into other languages, so it's a given that the rest of the world not just Western Europe either uses or is familiar with the English terminology :) Aug 30, 2014 at 19:21

If you want to make sure to be understood, use both: Apprentissage Automatique (machine learning).

Some people might think your CV is made for dummies, but if there is a risk that somebody sorting curricula understand the words in one language but not the other, you are safer with both.

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