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If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

French translation: Tant que ça marche on ne touche à rien !

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
French translation:Tant que ça marche on ne touche à rien !
Entered by: xxxmediamatrix
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

01:12 Nov 4, 2007
English to French translations [PRO]
Tech/Engineering - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
This is a classic expression used by experienced engineers to warn newbies against unnecessary 'fiddling' with sensitive equipment.
I need something equivalent in French, not only in terms of the meaning, but also in terms of style (or lack thereof).
Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 00:19
tant que ça marche on ne touche à rien !
Explanation:
*
Selected response from:

Francis MARC
Lithuania
Local time: 06:19
Grading comment
Thanks to all - especially to Korrin for the effort to find a stylistic match.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +8tant que ça marche on ne touche à rien !
Francis MARC
5si c'est pas naze, t'y touche pas !
Corinne O'Connor
4Pourquoi améliorer (modifier) ce qui fonctionne bien ?Marc SMULDERS
4si ce n’est pas cassé, inutile de réparer
FX Fraipont
4Le remède est parfois pire que le mal
Soizic CiFuentes
2 +1le mieux est l'ennemi du bienElisabeth Toda-v.Galen
3on ne change pas une équipe qui gagneRowan Morrell


  

Answers


15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
on ne change pas une équipe qui gagne


Explanation:
Once again, suggestions made by native speakers in a WordReference forum discussion may help.

The other one I liked was:

"Pourquoi appeler les pompiers, s'il n'y a pas le feu."


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Note added at 19 mins (2007-11-04 01:32:42 GMT)
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Here's another WordReference discussion:

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=366159&highl...

This gives another possibility:

"Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien"

But it also seems to confirm "on ne change pas une équipe qui gagne" as a pretty standard French equivalent.


    Reference: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=470546&highl...
Rowan Morrell
New Zealand
Local time: 15:19
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Soizic CiFuentes: d'accord pour la première
33 mins
  -> Merci soizic.

disagree  Ghyslaine LE NAGARD: Not in the specific context given by Mediamatrix.
4 hrs
  -> That's a point - looks like Francis has nailed the correct phrase here.
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51 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
if it ain\'t broke, don\'t fix it!
Le remède est parfois pire que le mal


Explanation:
-

Soizic CiFuentes
United States
Local time: 20:19
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 20
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +8
if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
tant que ça marche on ne touche à rien !


Explanation:
*

Francis MARC
Lithuania
Local time: 06:19
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 25
Grading comment
Thanks to all - especially to Korrin for the effort to find a stylistic match.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  GerardP: je trouve que celle-ci reflète mieux l'idée de ne pas toucher si ce n'est pas cassé.
38 mins

agree  Adrien Esparron
1 hr

agree  Tony M
1 hr

agree  JulieM
3 hrs

agree  1045
4 hrs

agree  Claire Chapman
15 hrs

agree  Rowan Morrell: Makes sense in the context.
17 hrs

agree  Marie Perrin: Parfait
2 days6 hrs
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
si ce n’est pas cassé, inutile de réparer


Explanation:
Comme il n'y a visiblement pas d'équivalent 'indigène' en français, pourquoi ne pas traduire littéralement, avec cet avantage qu'on reste dans le même registre linguistique. Par ailleurs, ça se trouve:

Nombre de représentants du secteur privé et spécialistes de l’Internet répondent en substance, comme Vint Cerf, l’un des inventeurs du protocole TCP/IP. "Les ingénieurs ont une expression : si ce n’est pas cassé, inutile de réparer," a-t-il souligné, "et les médecins ont un devoir : au moins ne pas faire de mal".
http://www.domainesinfo.fr/actualite/329/kofi-annan.php

FX Fraipont
Belgium
Local time: 05:19
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 160
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Pourquoi améliorer (modifier) ce qui fonctionne bien ?


Explanation:
Toute tentative d'améliorer quelque chose qui fonctionne déjà l'affaiblit et peut même y nuire.


    Reference: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/6/messages/651.html
Marc SMULDERS
Local time: 05:19
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
le mieux est l'ennemi du bien


Explanation:
meaning that a good thing might get bad by trying to change it, even if the idea is that you can make it better

Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen
France
Local time: 05:19
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  ormiston: I think this close parallel is perfectly acceptable
11 hrs
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
si c'est pas naze, t'y touche pas !


Explanation:
"If it ain't broke..." est un language très familier typique de l'est londonnien quoiqu'il se parle aussi dans d'autres régions de l'Angleterre... on peut aussi imaginer la sonorité de cette phrase avec les 't' silencieux que l'on trouve toujours dans l'accent de l'est de la capitale anglaise.... C'est pourquoi je pense que cette phrase devrait être traduite dans son contexte culturel : le parlé des "working class" comme le diraient les sociologues britanniques.

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Note added at 9 hrs (2007-11-04 10:34:59 GMT)
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see for instance, dictionaries of popular language :
http://www.cocoledico.com/dictionnaire/naze,187818.xhtml

Another proposition for improving the translation could be : "si c'est pas naze, pas touche !" (now that's familiar french speech!! "pas touche" means n'y touche pas, ou t'y touche pas" - familiar but not vulgar) -

Définition 1 :
naze
(Populaire) Qui ne vaut rien, ne fonctionne pas, par extension, qui n’a aucun intérêt. Une bagnole naze. Un film naze.

Corinne O'Connor
France
Local time: 05:19
Native speaker of: French

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Soizic CiFuentes: You are right but in this case, I don't see an experienced engineer use this type of language in French. It has to be a comparable classic expression, not slang.
7 hrs
  -> Which is why this expression cannot be translated literally, but requires from us translators to localize, rather than merely translate. In this case, we have familiar language, whether used by a politician or not. Localization is important here.
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