What would be the best French translation for "rationale", in the sense given on the Wikipedia page (that doesn't have any foreign language equivalent) ? At first I'd think "motivations" or "choix techniques" but I'm really not sure. I'm a French native, but that term has always puzzled me...

The meaning is well described on the page, I'll just add that it is frequently used for software design, to describe the initial choices that led to some design.

  • Thank you all for your answers, I was also thinking about "Motivation des choix techniques" but it is far less concise than in english.
    – kebs
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 7:14

2 Answers 2


I agree with chilladx, especially the sense of "justification," and to connect it to "design rationale" I've seen "dossier de justification de conception" on job descriptions and resumes.


Depends on the context, but I'd use 'la raison', 'les justifications' or 'la logique'.

  • "la logique" est un bon choix car cela englobe l'idée de "raison", de "raisons" et de "justification".
    – Iside
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 22:46
  • 1
    "le raisonnement" is also used interchangeably with "la logique", especially in scientific contexts
    – Alexis
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 9:39
  • "la raison derrière quelque chose / un choix" me semble particulièrement approprié
    – XouDo
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 12:16

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