I know that bricolage means DIY work, and bricoler is a verb meaning to engage in these activities. But how would you translate the verb in this sentence?

On dit que soixante-dix pour cent des Français bricolent de temps en temps et trente-sept pour cent déclarent le faire souvent ou très souvent.

They say that seventy percent of French people engage in DIY tasks from time to time, and thirty-seven percent say they do it often or very often.

Above, I use a clumsy phrase to translate bricolent. How would you go about it?

closed as off-topic by jlliagre, Toto, Anne Aunyme, user3177, Najkin Oct 26 '17 at 13:52

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs to an English language site, not about French which doesn't lack a verb for bricoler. – jlliagre Oct 18 '17 at 7:52
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    @jlliagre But the problem with posting it on ELU (never mind the snark, or the trolls) is that most people on ELU do not know French, and might just look it up in a dictionary. My best bet is honestly an experienced French-English translator, whom I am most likely to find here. – ktm5124 Oct 18 '17 at 19:53
  • I understand your point and your question is definitely interesting, including to me. That doesn't change the fact is it is off topic here according to this site rules. Moreover, I wouldn't underestimate the ability of ELU users to find an appropriate verb if such thing exists. Most if not all of them perfectly know what DIY means. – jlliagre Oct 18 '17 at 22:36
  • @jlliagre Fair enough. – ktm5124 Oct 19 '17 at 1:17
  • @ktm5124 I agree with jllliagre. You could very well ask ELU "there's a word in French that means [translation of a definition you found], is there an equivalent in English?" – Teleporting Goat Oct 20 '17 at 0:30

The semantic of bricoler may differ depending on the context, here it is clear that the verb meaning is about the DIY occupation as shown below from the TLFi. You could also use tinker but I do not think that it matches as well the idea behind DIY (that the person is mostly doing some reparations or improvement at her home). I suppose that tinker has a bit broader meaning but it is clearly less clumsy to use.

From the TLFi

BRICOLER, verbe. II A) Cour. Emploi intrans. 2. Exécuter chez soi de petits travaux qui réclament de l'ingéniosité et de l'habileté manuelle:

... et je ne t'oublie pas, Jantje, pour toi, puisque tu es l'aîné et que je suppose que tu aimes bricoler, voici pour toi la grande boîte du meccano et tout un attirail de clés anglaises et d'autres outils, ... CENDRARS, Bourlinguer, 1948, p. 258.

Dans un coin on voyait un clapier, dans l'autre une cabane où Duffieux devait ranger ses outils et sans doute bricoler à ses heures de liberté. SIMENON, Les Vacances de Maigret, 1948, p. 94.

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    +1 for noting that the notion of the verb in question has several meanings/nuances (even in French) & that one of them is captured well in Eng. by "tinker." (It's the existence of these different meanings of "bricoler" that makes me think the question is [or could be made to be] more than just a request for an Eng. synonym for "DIY" [although OP does make it hard by starting with "I know that bricolage means DIY work & bricoler is a verb meaning to engage in these activities"]) Anyway, maybe "tinker" could be narrowed a bit (& still be less clumsy) to "tinker around [at home/the house]." – Papa Poule Oct 18 '17 at 16:01
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    I really like the suggestion of "tinker". – Circeus Oct 18 '17 at 19:47
  • @Circeus Tinker is good, but it might lack the cultural resonance of bricoler. I would say that DIY has more cultural resonance in the States. After all, there's a whole Stack Exchange site called DIY. – ktm5124 Oct 18 '17 at 19:50
  • @ktm5124 When I think of bricoler, the English equivalent that comes to mind is "fixing things" (pipes, the roof, a bike, a computer, etc.). I see tinkering as having more of an hobbyist dimension, and I'd translate to tinker into the french verb bidouiller, not bricoler. – Jaxx Oct 20 '17 at 15:11

From what I've found, it's common to use the simple expression "to do DIY". So I'd suggest this (note that I corrected the beginning of the sentence, the general "on" in French is translated with the passive form in English) :

It's said that seventy percent of French people do DIY from time to time, and thirty-seven percent say they do it often or very often.

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    This is a great suggestion, but I must admit, I find it a little awkward to use the phrase "do DIY" when the verb "do" is already contained in the acronym. – ktm5124 Oct 18 '17 at 19:56
  • I have to agree, this is kind of weird, but that's the expression I found on two trustworthy websites (WordReference and Linguee), so I assume that's correct. – Paul-Etienne Oct 18 '17 at 20:51

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