NEEDED: French Speaking Peeps!

In a little over a week I will be going on a long trip (more than 24 hours of travel time till I reach my destination).

I’m flying with Air France, hopping on a connection flight at Charles de Gaulle airport. Whenever I go on such long trips with no accesses to a refrigerator for the entire duration, I like to carry a special cooler bag with a very large ice pack for some extra insulin (Lantus is notorious for going bad with any slight temperature change and I had to throw away new vials before). TSA had never given me any issues with my ice pack before once I explained the purpose, but I had some issues with airport security in Paris in the past, with the language barrier being one of them.

I’m really worried that due to all the recent events in Paris and Belgium, they will heighten security even more and I was wondering if any of you here are fluent in French and could help me write a little letter/note to present at the airport?

Maybe something along the line of:
“Hi, I have type 1 diabetes. I’m required to carry insulin/medication that needs to be kept cool with an ice pack, as well as syringes and other equipment that’s essential to treat my diabetes. Thank you for understanding”

Well, something like this, I’m not very good at it and would love suggestions. Thanks! :slight_smile:

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You could always run this through google translate and just print it out.

“Salut, je suis diabétique de type 1. Je suis tenu de transporter l’insuline / médicament qui doit être conservé au frais avec un sac de glace, ainsi que des seringues et d’autres équipements qui est essentiel pour traiter mon diabète. Merci de votre compréhension”

As someone who’s not a native English speaker, I had stopped trusting Google Translate a long time ago. :wink:

I know a French speaker. As soon as I can make contact with her, I’ll let you know. Or she will.

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yoo hoo @Linda_G @swisschocolate or @mari5

Hi, sure, I’ll get back to you tomorrow- no problem.


Bonjour! Je parle Francais et pense que je peux t’aider! I need the practice!

Hello! I speak French and can help with this! I would love to!

If you will take me to France with you!


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I suggest going a little more formally with your note. Say “Bonjour, Monsieur/Madame” instead of “Salut”. The French appreciate that from Americans quite a bit.


J’ai le diabète type1, et pour cause, je doit transporter mon insuline/médicaments d’une manière à les garder au froid, car ils sont périssables. Aussi, il me doit être nécessaire de transporter à bord, les équipements nécessaires avec quoi prendre soin de ma condition; en tant que seringues et tout autre équipement nécessaire pour le contrôle et le traitement de mon diabète. Merci pour votre bienveillance.


Merci beaucoup, @Linda_G!

De rien ma belle. Amuses-toi en France :slight_smile:

@MayaK Google translate is not accurate!

Hi Maya K,

I’d just like to add that you should have your prescription from your doctor with you. My doctor also sends with me a certificate in English and French …(not an obligation but the prescription is.) Some people even have their doctor write on the prescription juice so that they can take it aboard with them!

Here is an example of the certificate if you do decide on using it printed out by your doctor.
Je soussigné, …………………………………………………………………………………. I the undersigned,
Certifie que
Certify that
Mme/Melle/M ………………………………………………………………………………… Mrs/Miss/Mr
né/e le …. born
est atteint de diabète
Is affected by diabetes.
Le traitement de ce patient exige l’usage quotidien des injections d’ insuline
This patient requires the daily use of insulin
Il / elle doit toujours emporter avec elle / il le matériel suivant :
For his / her treatment he / she must carry at all times :
Insuline qui doit rester au frais (détailler) ………………………………………………………
insulin bottles which should be kept cool at all times
Stylos à insuline et des aiguilles ………………………………………….
insulin pens and needles
Seringue à insuline ………………………………………
Glucagon en cas d’épisode hypoglycémique
Glucagon in the case of hypoglycaemic episodes
Il utilise également un lecteur de glycémie … avec des bandelettes ……………………
He / she also uses a Glucometer with strips.
J’attire votre attention sur le fait qu’en aucun cas son traitement ne doit être interrompu.
I draw your attention to the fact that this treatment is absolutely vital and that it should not, under any circumstances, be interrupted.

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good luck with connecting in CDG! I have heard terrible stuff about this airport (about being chaotic and not very easy to find other gates/terminals), but hope you have no issues.
I used to carry a list around with translations to the most common “diabetic” words in english, french, spanish, turkish and italian.
i made a transcription for you here, you might wanna print it out and carry it along with you:

doctor - médecin
medicine - médicaments
diabetic - diabétique
insulin pump - pompe à insuline
infusion set - dispositif de perfusion
insertion device - dispositif d’insertion
reservoir (cartridge) for insulin pump - réservoire pour pompe é insuline
insulin - insuline
insulin vials - ampoules pour insuline
insulin pen - stylo à insuline
hypoglycemia - hypoglycémie
hyperglycemia - hyperglycémie
ketoacidosis (DKA) - cétoacidose
nausea - nausée
vomiting - vomir
inflammation - inflammation
fever - fièvre
blood glucose meter - glucomètre
blood glucose test strips - bandelettes test de glucose
ketone strips - bandelettes réactives aux quétons
glucose tablets - sucre de raisin
lancet - lancettes
adhesives/plaster/band aid - adhésif/emplâtre
insulin syringe - seringue d’insuline
short acting insulin - insuline à action brève
long acting insulin - insuline à action prolongée
transmitter - transmetteur
glucose sensor - capteur pour le glucose
continuous glucose monitoring - monitoring du glucose en continu
batteries - piles

i do not guarantee the correctness of this sheet, as i am also not native in french, but this was distributed to me by medtronic so i believe it has some claim to correctness. i still think it’s the funniest thing that they spell ketones “quétons” :joy:
also, be aware that in france, it is rare to impossible to find glucose tablets, so the security personnel might not be familiar with them. if you stay there, bring your own, i searched 3 pharmacies before giving up and buying sugar cubes.
have fun on your trip! bonne chance!

@MarieB @cynthia_rogers as mentioned i have the list above in 4 additional languages (italian, spanish, turkish and german). is there a place where we could put them, for future reference?

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hey Guys,- I’m not a native speaker but have lived in France for 40 years. Funny funny “quêtons” never heard of that! Also the translation for glucose tablets!! True, difficult to find but often referred to as comprimés de glucose ou dextrose. There are gels (very expensive!)

mayaK - I’ve been through Charles de gaulle lots of times. Don’t worry. You’ll be OK. BON VOYAGE!!

Here are some phrases copied directly from the French association of Diabetics. have a good laugh and practice your prononciation!
Français Anglais
Phrases Je suis diabétique I have diabetes (prononcer diabétiz)
Allez me chercher un médecin, s’il vous plaît Please, get me a doctor
Je suis en hypoglycémie I have an hypoglycemia
Donnez-moi du sucre ou du jus d’orange Give me some sugar or orange juice, please

Je ne me sens pas bien I don’t feel well
Vocabulaire Diabétologue Diabetologist




Lecteur de glycémie
Blood glucose meter

Un stylo injecteur
An injection pen



Comprimé hypoglycémiant
Oral hypoglycemic agent

The glucagon

Pharmacy, drugstore, chemist

Service des urgences
Emergency ward


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C’est bon, @Mari5 et @swisschocolate!

Thanks for all your tips, everybody!

@Mari5 thanks for the tip. I usually have a standard form/certificate from my doctor’s office with a list of all my supplies but it’s in English. I asked my Endocrinology clinic about this and they contacted their Interpreter Services department to see if they can have it translated for me and for any future use by other patients so they’re working on it! :slight_smile:

My doctor should contact me soon about providing me with paper copies of all of my prescriptions too. I never thought of having those with me because I always pack extra, but you brought up a good point. Plus, I’ll be in several countries on this trip, and you just never know. It’s probably good to have the prescriptions with me, just in case I need to get an emergency refill.