"Check out" and "check in" have special meanings in the collaboration and document management field: Typically a user would "check out" a file, work on it, save it, and then "check in" the file back to the common repository so that other users can modify it.

What are the equivalent verbs in French?


You can check out a document. This will lock the document for you, so that you can edit it: Check out

  • 1
    Je n'ai jamais entendu autre chose que check out/check in. Mon milieu est, il est vrai, propice aux anglicismes (la société est américaine et nous communicons avec nos collègues partout dans le monde en anglais), mais il me semble que s'il y avait une traduction courante, j'y aurais quand même été exposé. Jan 30, 2015 at 15:33

3 Answers 3


Je donnerais les traductions suivantes :

Check out -> Réserver
Check in -> Libérer / Mettre à disposition.

  • 2
    C'est utilisé quelque part? Il y a des connotations qui ne me conviennent pas. La paire réserver/libérer correspond mieux à lock/unlock. Jan 30, 2015 at 15:29
  • 1
    @Unfrancophone lock/unlock, c'est plutôt verrouiller/déverrouiller
    – jlliagre
    Jan 30, 2015 at 18:13
  • @Unfrancophone: Au temps pour moi, je suis effectivement un peu à côté de la plaque, mais je laisse la réponse qui peut néanmoins être utile selon le contexte.
    – Toto
    Jan 31, 2015 at 8:19
  • C'est valide cette idée de l'état du document à mon avis.
    – user3177
    Feb 1, 2015 at 19:19

I'll suggest a solution from a North American french-speaking jurisdiction(Québec):

extraction(check out)

Dans un système de contrôle de versions, création et importation d'une copie de la version la plus récente d'un projet de développement disponible dans un espace de travail commun, généralement afin de la modifier puis de l'archiver dans le système.

réintroduction(archivage)(check in)

Dans un système de contrôle de versions, transmission, validation et classement, dans un espace de travail commun, des modifications, dûment identifiées, apportées à des fichiers par un utilisateur, afin d'en permettre l'accès aux autres utilisateurs du système.

[Le grand dictionnaire terminologique (GDT)]

The meaningfulness of check in/out is in the idea of input and output of the content of a database. In French it seems terms such as extracting(extraction, extraire), modifying(modification, modifier), reviewing(révision, réviser) easily render the taking of the data from the common pool into editing mode. The difficulty lies in expressing its return to it. Another working solution lies in adopting the reviewer's perspective. In relation to the preferred solution from Québec, I personally find there are common tasks related to data archiving which interfere with the casual meaning people give to archivage, which is why I prefer their alternative réintroduction, echoing the returning and availability of the data to/in its source pool. What I note is that terms starting with re-(often related to sth. re-turning) are useful. Beyond réintroduction(réintroduire), I can also think of réinsertion(réinsérer), réintégration(réintégrer) and such. In the end what's important is to select two terms which leave no ambiguity about the "direction" of the process.1

1. This is offtopic but I can't help but also suggest if need be embedding some guidance in the dialog box. (base de données -> document or document -> base de données, or similar obvious terms).


For complete e-books (and "real" books at a library), I'd use:

emprunter for check out/borrow (see rubric "Pret")

and either

retourner or rendre for check in/return (see rubric "Reservation et retour")


Using “emprunter” and “retourner”/”rendre” in the context you describe (i.e., the collaboration and document management field) would, of course, require giving them the same “special meanings” that “check out” and “check in” in English have been given in that field, but no more so than in English.

Context-neutral uses of “emprunter” in French and “check out” in English imply "to borrow (the borrowed thing) for permitted/acceptable purposes," just as context-neutral uses of “retourner/rendre” in French and “check in” in English imply "to return (the borrowed thing) in an acceptable condition/form."

In the context of borrowing and returning a library book, in English and in French, the permissible/acceptable use or purpose is generally limited to “reading it” and the acceptable condition/form for its return is “as you received it, normal wear and tear excepted.”

However, in the context you mention, acceptable/permissible uses while checked-out apparently include working on/editing the borrowed document and saving any edits made to it; and an acceptable condition/form for its return would include “as you last saved it.” (I imagine that, just as in the library context, damaging/corrupting/destroying the borrowed file would not be a permitted/acceptable “use” of it, nor would a damaged/corrupted/destroyed condition or form be an acceptable condition/form for its return.)

If Anglophones (who so often require different words for different contexts [see “like/love,” for one example]), are capable of accurately understanding the “special meanings” of “check out” and “check in” in this context, I have full confidence that Francophones (who are so very talented at immediately capturing the meaning of words depending on their context [see “aimer” for one of many examples]), will likewise accurately understand the “special meanings” of “emprunter” and “retourner/rendre” when encountering them in this context.

(And besides, it would seem that English-speaking Francophones (i.e., those who know that "check out" and "check in" have other, "non-special" meanings than those used in this particular field AND who already use these English phrases in the field ) would appreciate (if not jump at) the opportunity to replace them with equivalent words, with equivalent "special meanings," from their own language.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.