How to translate "custom" into French (mais pas "personnalisation")
November 6, 2013 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to translate into French a series of phrases along the lines of "custom(-built) report", "custom(-built) query", etc. but these are not customized according to individual user preferences, but according to their organization's needs. I am trying to use it in the sense of "built-to-organization's-specification" (not out-of-the-box, but not personalization either). In my world, "customized" = added in by the vendor, "configured" = added in by the user or admin, so it would help to end up with a term that avoids the sense of configuration.
posted by blue_wardrobe to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Fait sur commande (made-to-order)?
posted by corvine at 3:30 PM on November 6, 2013

Fait sur mesure... Fait sur demande... Conçu spécialement pour répondre aux besoins de votre organisation... Mis au point en fonction des besoins de votre entreprise... Adapté aux besoins de votre organisation...
posted by amusem at 3:54 PM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Additional info: the phrase has to fit into menu structures and command buttons (e.g., [Select Custom Report], [Custom Query], etc.)
posted by blue_wardrobe at 4:08 PM on November 6, 2013

In that case, I would maybe go with "Sélectionnez un rapport spécifique", "Demande spécifique" (I am avoiding "personnalisé(e)"). You could also be safe with "Rapport sur mesure" et "Demande sur mesure", IMHO.
posted by amusem at 4:23 PM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Try submitting these phrases to linguee, which will show you a bunch of examples of the use of your phrases in real texts and what the French equivalents are.
posted by zadcat at 5:25 PM on November 6, 2013

Other possible translations, but already touched on by amusem: rapport spécial, requête adaptée. I think sur mesure is likely your best bet. What works best will also depend on how you're going to name the non-custom reports and queries.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:30 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I decided that "Special Purpose" might be better - in English it's certainly closer to what I want - do "Rapport fins spéciales", "Nom du rapport fins spéciales" make sense, for example?
posted by blue_wardrobe at 8:01 PM on November 6, 2013

Using appositions like that can work, but using fins as an apposition sounds a bit strange to me. If the English is going to be "special purpose report", I'd just go with "rapport spécial". Can you tell us in which ways these reports and queries are special or custom?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:44 PM on November 6, 2013

Best answer: "Fins" will not work in this context. In order to be grammatically correct and thus understandable, it would need to be "rapport à fin spécifique" (singular and with "à"), which still sounds odd-as-in-overly-literary, as in the French used in literature.

FWIW, if you end up choosing verbs, use the infinitive form, not the second-person formal. "Sélectionner un rapport". This is because the action can be performed at any time, by any person, or even automated (think QuickTest Pro if you're wondering about an example). It's also the common practice in all professionally-developed software. I'm at the office right now (in France), and have checked all my open programs; they all use infinitive forms on verbs.

I'm guessing these custom reports and queries are ones the user has created themselves, and will be using? If so, you could say "Sélectionner rapport sauvegardé" or "Utiliser requête sauvegardée".

"Demande" is a query as in request, btw. "Une demande de voyage" = "A travel request"
"Requête" is a query as in database. "Une requête SQL" = "An SQL query"

If you want to use "custom" for the snazzier overtones it has in English, then I'm afraid "personnalisé" is the word you'll need. It's standard for that usage in software here. French people are veering towards "customisé" in everyday speech, but it still has overtones of snazzed-up BMWs as opposed to our English use of "customized", so avoid it for something professional.
posted by fraula at 12:20 AM on November 7, 2013

Best answer: Crap. I zapped the part of your question where you say it's not users saving the reports/queries, so "sauvegardé" won't work.

"Personnalisé" is the way to go. I know it sounds "personal" to English ears, but this is not the case in French.

Background: professional IT translator who ended up getting hired by the largest IT developer in France. I've worked for the airline that has the name France in it.
posted by fraula at 12:26 AM on November 7, 2013

Response by poster: @fraula: Thanks regarding "custom"!

On your note about infinitive forms, I am actually using the infinitive form in all on-screen prompts, buttons, etc. but am wondering about error messages which advise a corrective course of action.

For example, after the user hits a button marked "Importer un fichier", and the system cannot parse it, which is the better message:

"Conseil: il faut importer un fichier contenant uniquement des termes de niveau n° 1" or
"Conseil: SVP importez un fichier contenant uniquement des termes de niveau n° 1"

posted by blue_wardrobe at 3:26 AM on November 7, 2013

Great for the infinitive!

Definitely the first option for error messages. You can remove "conseil", and even reword the rest as such: "L'import fonctionne uniquement pour les fichiers qui contiennent des termes de niveau 1" (don't need the n° unless it really is a part of the nomenclature). French is more nominative than active, meaning, it tends to use nouns where we English-speakers would use verbs; this is essentially why I reworded the first part. It also avoids the passive more often than we do, thus the "qui contiennent". Plural "fichiers" because, I'm assuming, a user will be able to import more than one over the lifetime of the application. (Yeah, even everyday French speech gets into hairsplitting stuff like this. It's one reason French still gets used as a language in legal documents – the EU, UN and such.)

Operating systems will have the error/information text, and in any case, "conseil" is more "counsel" than "advice". It's the type of advice you get from a person IRL, not an app (though I'm sure odd exceptions can be found). If truly necessary, "Info :" is better, and with a non-breaking space before the colon. French takes non-breaking spaces before certain punctuation marks (sometimes easy to forget, I know I still do occasionally).
posted by fraula at 5:51 AM on November 7, 2013

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