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I have recently had my diploma stating that I have Bachelor degree in maths translated into French. (for those, who speak Russian диплом бакалавра по математике). I have got this diploma in Ukraine. The translating agency that made the translation wrote “bachelier”.

As “bachelier” corresponds to secondary education in France, I think I'll have problems with such a translation, when trying to get a grant from the French government. Am I right?

There are other possibilities to translate my diploma in French:

  • License

  • Baccalauréat

  • Diplôme de Bachelor

  • Diplôme de Bakalavre

Which of them is the most appropriate and corresponds to the standards of translation Ukrainian (Russian) diplomas in French?

P.S. As I have got an answer, but it isn't what I need, I think I must clarify the question a bit.

There is equivalence and translation, and these are two absolutely different things.

We can speak about the equivalence only if there is a convention between two countries about diploma recognition. Translators do not have the right to translate according to the equivalence. So my diploma can't be translated as “diplôme de master” or “diplôme de maîtrise”.

Translation doesn't require any recognition. It is supposed to make clear to a speaker of a l2 the conception expressed in a l1.

I have contacted another translating agency and they propose to translate my diploma as “diplôme de bakalavre”.

My final question for the moment is: Which is less confusing for a French speaker “diplôme de bachelier” or “diplôme de bakalavre”?

P.P.S. If it is easier to answer in French, please do, I understand French.

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"diplôme de bachelier" is confusing for a french audience. "diplôme de bakalavre" is probably a less confusing translation, but you'll probably have to explain it (with the equivalence) to most of french speaker ;) –  Cédric Julien Mar 8 '13 at 9:40
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3 Answers

According to the wikipedia page about Bachelor, the russian bachelor would be (for France) an equivalent of the master degree (5 years at university).

Here are the list of french degrees (levels could be different in other countries) :

  • You gain the ability to study at university level when you obtain the baccalauréat, you become a bachelier
  • After 3 years of study at university level, you will gain a License
  • After 4 years of study at university level, you will gain a Maitrise
  • After 5 years of study at university level, you will gain a Master
  • After >7 years of study at university level (and a thesis), you will gain a Doctorat
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Thank you for the answer. I got my degree after 4 years of study. But translators do not have the right to translate according to the equivalence, because for some specialities there is a loss of a year, when entering a French University. –  Mayya Golitsyna Mar 5 '13 at 10:01
While I'm sure this is accurate for France and thus what the OP wanted, it might be worth mentioning that things do differ country to country and this would not be applicable, say, in French Canada, where a baccalauréat is a university degree. –  Kareen Mar 5 '13 at 15:06
@Kareen : right, I added some precisions about that... France only :) –  Cédric Julien Mar 5 '13 at 16:05
@Kareen actually, the french baccalauréat is the first university degree :-) –  Benoît Mar 6 '13 at 6:31
@Benoît In any case, what I basically mean is that a Canadian baccalauréat is actually a Bachelor's degree and is obtained after 3 or 4 years of university. –  Kareen Mar 6 '13 at 15:10
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Diplôme de bakalavre will not be understood by any French speaker unless they also happen to speak Ukrainian or they have encountered Ukrainian diploma before. This is not a translation, it's a transliterated but untranslated foreign word. Use this word if you want to be precise and you don't care that the reader understands what is meant. This is necessary when translating the diploma itself, because this is a legal document where being precise is more important than being understood, but you should provide an explanation in a separate document.

Translation is not always exact. If two countries have different educational systems, the only way to fully convey the meaning of a foreign diploma is to explain the other country's educational system in detail. Failing that, you will need to resort to an approximation.

If an equivalence exists, it would be the best translation in this context. However the equivalence is likely to be dependent on the university you're applying to (and they may be somewhat flexible as their policies can't possibly cover all cases), so you probably can't use that.

(This paragraph applies to France specifically, other French-speaking countries may use different terms and Québec in particular is very different.) In your CV, write bakalavre and provide a short explanation. Counting the number of years of post-secondary education is common in France. France itself has some complex educational subsystems that are not well-known, so it's not uncommon to have to explain a French diploma to a French person (this is slowly changing as France is moving towards a 3/5/8 Bachelor/Master/PhD system). The idiom for this is « Bac +N », for example a license is a « diplôme bac+3 », a maîtrise (discontinued) is a « diplôme bac+4 », a master is a « diplôme bac+5 ». Since you have 4 years of post-secondary study, you should probably write « bakalavre (bac+4) ».

Do not use bachelier at all in that context in France. Everyone will think that you haven't been to university yet.

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Thank you for the answer. I think I'll send the variation with bakalavre to the embassy. The idea of bac+n sounds reasonable, but as far as I know, for some specialties (like economic or philology) there is a loss of a year, so it's also tricky. –  Mayya Golitsyna Mar 10 '13 at 9:21
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Diplome du baccalauréat, at least how it is in Quebec, I think it's the same in France.

EDIT: Now at home I checked Évaluation comparative des études effectuées hors du Quebec: É*tudes universitaires de premier cycle complétées (programme de quarte années de baccalauréat).* I graduated University in Russia (5 years). So, they gave me bac, not master.

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No, as the comments on Cédric's answer discuss (and I can confirm), baccalauréat in France is the high school completion diploma, for which the normal age is 18, after which you can start university. –  Gilles Mar 9 '13 at 9:49
Thank you for the answer. I wonder why they didn't give you master? –  Mayya Golitsyna Mar 10 '13 at 9:23
To get bac here, you learn 3-4 years and then also 3 years go get master, so it should be 6-7 years total. –  Alex Mar 10 '13 at 17:17
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