Can you recommend a French (modern France) dictionary or vocabulary-list of computing terminology?

I don't know how many English-language programming terms I know (e.g. process, thread, debugging, high-level language, integration test, device driver, class, subclass, etc.) but it wouldn't surprise if if there were a thousand of them.

I'd like to read the list of French terms (and to know the answer to questions like this one).

I guess than I could always substitute the English word in conversation, but I fear it might look weird in writing if I always use only English for the technical terms.

What can you tell me about the terminology used by programmers who work in French in France?

  • There might be a "... pour les nuls" ("... for dummies") for that sort of thing, like web design etc. – MorganFR May 24 '16 at 13:45
  • Sorry but I'm looking for professional-level vocabulary. There's no "refactoring for dummies" nor "design patterns for dummies", for example. – ChrisW May 24 '16 at 13:47
  • 2
    If you already know more precise things you want to learn, there are very nice tutorials available in both English and French. If you want to know what the term is in French, a simple translation website will allow you to find what you are looking for (or you can find the wiki page and change the language). Moreover, if you type "le refactoring" on google, it'll bring up what you want. Also I am a software developer myself, and I mostly use the English term for pretty much everything related to it. e.g I will say "je fais du refactoring/ je refactore", and not "je réusine." Good luck! – MorganFR May 24 '16 at 13:53
  • "termes français anglais développement Informatique" as a Google search will provide you with a lot of those terms, but "refactoring" and "réusinage" for instance are not mentioned, so they are very far from exhaustive, but I suppose it's a good start. e.g. glossaire.be – MorganFR May 24 '16 at 14:11
  • Speaking from experience (a Brit in Switzerland) much tech speak tends to be kept in its English form (albeit with an interesting pronunciation sometimes) we say "driver" instead of pilote" and such. Other terms are very often slightly francicized versions of the English equal such as déboguer => debug – Reuben Mallaby May 24 '16 at 20:56

Good question, I am afraid there is not an ideal solution. Missing a technical jargon dictionary, Wikipedia might help here:

  1. Type in the English word and find the corresponding Wikipedia page. For example: High-level programming language <--> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-level_programming_language

  2. Select the associated "French" Wikipedia page. "Langage de haut niveau" <--> https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langage_de_haut_niveau


I'm a developper, and I always use English words for technical stuff, sometimes "francisés": "debugguer".

Coding is done in English, so we have to use English (best example: "for", "if", "while" for the most basic stuff we can do). Plus we can this way have a bigger community to discuss with. In France, for the engineers particular case, we have, in order to get our diploma pass the TOEIC (English test). We may discuss that it's not proper to coding, but also to be able to discuss with foreigners during missions, etc, but still. We may not be good in English, but we most of the time are able to read and understand it.

Legifrance (sample: arrière-guichet is back office) gives new French terms. But they seem sometimes "ugly/weird" (purely subjectif point of view from me and colleagues). Plus, they arrives often a few (if not more) years later.
So when there is no official translation yet, we use the English term, and we get used to it too. I think that is the bigger reason why we keep using English words and sometimes find the French translation strange (with the off topic discussion in comments of this post, I'll say that even if they are etymologically good and well thought, they stay strange because we used another word for years). For instance, to be validated in a French Dictionary (see also in Académie Française), if I remember well, the word has to be safe bet, I mean, not a phenomenon word that would disappear in a few years. And since in computing, everything appears, evolves quite fast, and may also disappears fast, I understand the reticence of having a French translation too soon.

There is also this Techniques Ingénieur which gives some definitions, but I don't know if they are official or not.

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    Much easier to consult directly from France Terme than from Legifrance. But as you say some of the proposed terms are sometimes weird and are very little used. – Laure May 24 '16 at 16:34

Information Technologies is a very peculiar field when it comes to translation from English to any other language, and French isn't an exception. For most terms, we either:

  • Keep the English term and accept it as part of our vocabulary
  • Translate word-for-word the English term
  • Do both at the same time

Hence, when talking about "debugging", the official term in French has become "déboguer", but most people still use the made-up verb "débugger". Same for "driver", which is employed as "driver" but also "pilote" (literally, "pilote" being the guy that drives ...) and a lot of other words.

Thus I don't know how one could produce such a dictionnary, and I'm wishing you good luck to find it.


The website Bitoduc.fr (the translation of pipeline, according to them) contains a list of translations for IT terms. The list is not official and anyone can submit new translation on the GitHub repository. Some translations are accurate, but most of them sound like a joke and would most likely not be understood by french people.

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