Italian Language/Fare una figura di francesi
I was reading an article about Italians who use English words in their language and it suggest that someone might "fare una figura da francesi".
What does this mean? Does it mean they'll sound like they're speaking a foreign language/gobbledegook?
I think that you are referring to an article by Beppe Severgnini who uses the expression “fare una figura da francesi” to say that we Italians must not do like the French that, because of a mistaken sense of patriotism, use to translate literally some English terms such as “computer”, “homepage”, “mouse”, and then say “ordinateur”, “page d’accueil” and “souris” respectively, though these French words sound strange in computer language.
In short, in his article Beppe Severgnini encourages the Italians to use Italian words when it is possible without being ridiculous, and then say for example “salvaschermo” instead of “screen saver”, “navigazione” instead of “surfing”, “pettegolezzi” instead of “gossip”, “lavoro” instead of “job”, “compere/acquisti” instead of “shopping”, etc.
On the other hand he says that it would be very strange to translate English terms such as “computer”, “homepage”, “mouse”, “film”, “sport” that have become an integral part of modern Italian language by now.
To conclude, “fare una figura da francesi” does not mean that "they'll sound like they're speaking a foreign language/gobbledygook", but it means “to behave like the French” who want to use their language at all costs, even if the literal translation of some foreign terms can sound quite strange.
Spero sia tutto chiaro