English: Captain. First officer. Service director.
French: Commandant/Commandante. Premier officier/Première officier. Directeur de service/Directrice de service.
Before we dive right into translating announcements, we need to familiarize ourselves with the ones making the announcements that we’re translating. At the beginning of your translation, you should specify who was making the initial announcement in English. Often, it’s the captain making announcements that you need to translate. Though the first officer (the pilot who is second-in-command of the flight), and the service director (the head flight attendant on a flight with multiple flight attendants) may also be making announcements that you need to translate.
Le commandant (m)=The captain (male)
La commandante (f)=The captain (female)
You may also hear "commandant(e) de bord". Instead of ‘’commandant(e)’’, you may also hear your colleagues use “capitaine”, which in French, technically refers more to ship captains.
Le premier officier (m)=The first officer (male)
La première officier (f)=The first officer (female)
Le directeur (m) de service=The service director (male)
La directrice (f) de service=The service director (female)
Depending on the airline, in English, a service director can also be called an “in-charge” or a “purser”. In French, you may also hear “commissaire” or “agent(e) de bord responsable”, among others.
Also, “premier officier, première officier” is somewhat difficult to pronounce for a lot of learners, we find, even though it is the formal term for “first officer” that airlines and airline French courses want you to use. In our Canadian French for Flight Attendants audio course, you’ll find that we opt for another term for “first officer” that’s far easier to pronounce for learners.
Many of our flight attendant colleagues are trying to learn French for their jobs by taking French courses provided by their airlines or by external sources. As beginners in French, one big obstacle that severely impedes their progress is that right off the bat, they’re expected to use complicated expressions, terminology, and sentence structures, because this is the “formal”, “professional” and “technical” way to say things. They get discouraged as it’s very hard to make that leap from learning French basics to speaking formal, professional, technical, perfect French. As such, you’ll find that our Canadian French for Flight Attendants audio course will teach formal expressions and sentence structures (like “premier officier”) but also provide you many simpler alternatives in the interim. We recognize that reading and writing require formal language, but spoken language is much more lenient.
Want to learn to speak the French you need to work as a flight attendant? Learn even more with Canadian French for Flight Attendants.