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A key should work regardless of the language as most software do right?
No, it doesn't. Adobe licenses have always been language specific. Free choice of languages is only ever possible since CC. that also answer your question no. 3.
How can we have After Effects French side by side with the English version on the same computer.
You don't. Only ever one language can actually be active/ installed. That's no different in CC even - you still have to switch the language and possibly reinstall programs in different versions.
Lucky for you, however, AE has this little trick: Place a file in your My Documents folder and call it ae_force_english.txt As long as the file exists, any version of AE will launch in English, give or take specific issues with localized resources.
I will relay the information you provided. I will let you know how it turns.
The ae_force_english.txt file "did the trick". :-) It will be used for the time before he will ask for a CC license.