In computer science, a race condition is, according to Wikipedia

A race condition or race hazard is the behavior of an electronic, software, or other system where the output is dependent on the sequence or timing of other uncontrollable events. It becomes a bug when events do not happen in the order the programmer intended. The term originates with the idea of two signals racing each other to influence the output first.

Assuming not everyone here is familiar with the term, some more explanation.

Often, a race condition occurs when a program developer does two actions (that have some level of dependency) written sequentially "A, then B" and expects the system to reach the status "B done after A was completed" ; but, for instance, the system may have A waiting for some event, and starts B while A did not complete yet (that might happen very infrequently, and makes debugging difficult).

Another example is "Displaying the time hour:minutes": a developer requests the system to provide the "hours", then gets the "minutes" ; while these tasks are usually quick, once in a while, rarely, the hour might have been requested at hh:59:59.9999, and the minutes 0.0001 second later, at hh+1:00:00.0000, rendering hh:00 instead of hh+1:00 (or hh:59).

How would you translate race condition to French?

Found "condition de course", "situation de compétition" or "condition de concurrence". Is there a specific and accepted idiom?

  • For those who are not familiar with the term, your additional explanation isn't clear. And what you describe later isn't really a race condition as it doesn't change the execution flow. The question of translating “race condition” remains valid though. Sep 7, 2017 at 15:11
  • @StéphaneGimenez The time example relevance is subject to interpretation. A race condition is not limited to a change in the execution flow.
    – Déjà vu
    Sep 7, 2017 at 19:30
  • @ringø - The definition you quote confirms you comment: the output, not the execution flow, depends on event sequence.
    – mouviciel
    Sep 8, 2017 at 5:55

5 Answers 5


The French wikipedia page for race condition offers a few options including Situation de compétition. Personally I like concurrence critique best in terms of conveying the original meaning.


Developer here ;)

When I talk about transactional or thread-related problems, I speak simply of problèmes de concurrence, I will speak of situation de competition only in a school or academic situation.


L'expression que j'ai l'habitude d'utiliser est course critique (voir par exemple ce syllabus: Systèmes et réseaux: principes, programmation et modélisation).


Termium parle d'état ou de situation de concurrence dans le domaine des technologies des circuits électroniques. En informatique, le GDT donne concurrence critique, avec course critique, séquencement critique, situation de compétition, situation de concurrence et accès concurrent pour la « période de temps entre deux instructions pendant laquelle une modification est faite dans un système alors que celui-ci est vulnérable » (GDT). Les suggestions sur Wikipédia proviennent du GDT.


I would use :

situation de concurrence en temps réel

and add that english people call it race condition. Comp. scientists have to speak english, so they will understand what you mean. You can also use terms as dans la vraie vie (in real life) as opposed to exemples d'école.

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