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The French vocab you need to get a Covid test in France

The French vocab you need to get a Covid test in France
France has massively expanded its testing programme since last spring. Photo: JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP
Do you need to get le test Covid, but worry about le français? This little language guide can come in handy for foreigners who need to get tested in France.

Getting a Covid test in France is, fortunately, a pretty straightforward procedure, even for visitors.

READ ALSO: How can tourists and visitors in France get a Covid test?

However, you might not be able to find a pharmacy or testing centre where the staff speak English, especially if you are in a rural part of France.

First, some quick testing vocab:

Dépister – to test

Dépistage – testing

Un test Covid – a Covid test

Un test PCR (pronounced pay-say-air) – a PCR test

Un test antigénique – an antigen test, referred to as a lateral flow test in some countries

Un autotest – a self-test

Test salivaire – saliva test

Test sérologique – antibody test (some testing centres offer these finger-prick tests in addition to the nasal swabs, to determine if you have previously had Covid)

S’isoler – self-isolate

Une ordonnance – a prescription (you won’t need this to get tested for Covid in France)

Sans rendez-vous – no appointment, ie a walk-in centre

When making an appointment to get a Covid test:

Bonjour, je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous pour faire un test Covid, s’il vous plaît – Hello, I’d like to get an appointment for a Covid test, please.

J’aimerais bien faire un test PCR / antigénique / sérologique – I’d like to do a PCR / antigen / antibody test.

Combien coûte le test ? – How much does the test cost?

Oui, j’ai une carte vitale / Non je n’ai pas de carte vitale. – Yes, I have a French health security card / No, I don’t have a French health security card.

Non, je n’ai jamais eu la Covid. – No, I’ve never had Covid.

Oui, j’ai déjà eu la Covid, il y a quelques mois. – Yes, I’ve already had Covid, a few months back.

If you’re trying to get tested without an appointment:

Est-il possible de faire un test Covid sans rendez-vous ? – Is it possible to get a Covid test without an appointment?

Before getting the test, the health staff might ask you:

Presentez-vous des symptômes à la Covid-19 ? – Do you present Covid-19 symptoms? 

Êtes-vous cas contact ? – Are you a contact case?

Voulez-vous un test antigénique ou PCR ? – Do you want an antigen test or a PCR test?

READ ALSO: The French phrases we learned during the Covid health crisis

When getting tested, you might want to say:

Dans combien de temps arrivent les résultats ? – How long does it take for the results to arrive?

Comment allez-vous me contacter? – How are you going to get in touch with me?

Est-ce que ça fait mal ? – Does it hurt?

Aïe, ça fait mal ! – Ouch, that hurt! (Don’t worry, the PCR tests generally don’t hurt, so you hopefully won’t need this one).


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