ressembler à du bricolage

English translation: improvised

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:ressembler à du bricolage
English translation:improvised
Entered by: Stephen Schwanbeck

14:46 Sep 16, 2013
French to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
French term or phrase: ressembler à du bricolage
"Avant, cela ressemblait à du bricolage. On prenait des photos sur l'oeilleton d'un vieux microscope. Cela prenait du temps, ce n'était pas pratique et les images obtenues n'étaient pas d'aussi bonne qualité"

The text above comes from an article describing a high-power digital microscope. I understand what the speaker means (poor quality images obtained using an amateur method), I'm just having trouble finding the right expression. "Crappy" and "half-assed" spring to mind, but that's not the right register (press release). Can anyone out there prod me into the right direction. "Amateurish" perhaps?

TIA,
Stephen Schwanbeck
France
Local time: 12:05
improvised
Explanation:
In the light of comments from peers, and taking into account the register of the document here, my original afterthought suggestion would probably be better here, so I am posting it as a separate suggestion for the sake of the glossary.

Thanks to all for their various comments!
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 12:05
Grading comment
My apologies for the late reply. These past few days have been hectic. I’d like to thank everyone for their helpful and interesting suggestions and comments. I’d say that all your suggestions are, to varying agrees, acceptable and I'll remember to refer to them if I ever have to translate this expression again. I wish I could award points to more than one answer. In any case, I decided to go with Tony’s alternate suggestion of “improvised” as it best reflects the register of the press release.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
3 +8it wasn't very professional
Claire N.
4 +6(pretty) amateurish
Victoria Britten
4 +4rather Heath Robinson
kashew
4 +2it looked pretty DIY
Robert Rowe
4 +2looked like so much jerry-rigging
jmleger
3 +3a bit primitive
kashew
4 +1it was a bit of a lash-up / bodge
Tony M
4 +1it looked like it had been thrown / cobbled together
Helen Shiner
4quite unprofessional
Jane F
3improvised
Tony M
4 -2shoddy
Graham Patrick Cox


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
rather Heath Robinson


Explanation:
http://retrocosm.net/2013/01/18/retrochallenge/
18 Jan 2013 ... Hopefully aforementioned community won't see the rather Heath Robinson
replacement battery pack that I hacked together. Short of parts to ...

kashew
France
Local time: 12:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 74
Notes to answerer
Asker: Interesting. I had never heard of this person before. I'm sure your suggestion could work for something published solely for the UK market, but this press release is aimed at an international audience.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M
22 mins

agree  Gilla Evans: First thing that sprang to my mind too. But sadly probably not well-enough known outside the UK.
47 mins
  -> Maybe the international EN-speaking scientific fraternity would recognise it?

agree  AllegroTrans: This would work if text is for UK
3 hrs

agree  philgoddard: Surprisingly enough, the US has its own equivalent of Heath Robinson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg
6 hrs

neutral  Sheri P: Like the asker, I had never heard of this person before (though the expression sounds rather charming).
8 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +8
it wasn't very professional


Explanation:
your ''amateurish'' is also very good.

Claire N.
Local time: 06:05
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 47

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M
21 mins
  -> Thanks, Tony!

agree  JaneD
24 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Sonia Geerlings
42 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Bertrand Leduc
1 hr
  -> Merci!

agree  GILOU
3 hrs
  -> Merci!

agree  AllegroTrans
3 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Yvonne Gallagher
8 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  emiledgar
15 hrs
  -> Thanks!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
quite unprofessional


Explanation:
another word for 'amateurish'

Jane F
France
Local time: 12:05
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 58

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: But 'unprofessional' tends to have other negative connotations which would I feel be out of place here.
21 mins

neutral  AllegroTrans: I don't think this is a synonym for amateurish - it suggests shady practices
3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
looked like so much jerry-rigging


Explanation:
par exemple

jmleger
Local time: 05:05
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 115

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: Aren't you confusing 'jerry building' and 'jury rig'? In any case, I feel this would be out of register, as Asker has already explained. / Ah OK, it's an Americanism then; sounds awkward to my British ears ;-)
19 mins
  -> Check out the Merriam-Webster definition

agree  Yolanda Broad
29 mins
  -> I just relish using colloquial expressions. Thx!

agree  Sonia Geerlings
39 mins
  -> Thx!

agree  GILOU
3 hrs
  -> Thx!

disagree  AllegroTrans: This does not work in European English// yes, in at least 6 European countries. Surprised?
3 hrs
  -> Uh? They speak English in Europe? Well, dogs my cats, you learn something new every day.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
(pretty) amateurish


Explanation:
as, indeed, you suggest: it was my first thought

Victoria Britten
France
Local time: 12:05
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 31

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Dr Lofthouse
6 mins
  -> Thanks, Doc!

agree  David Hayes: I think this simple suggestion is the best option here.
3 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  AllegroTrans
3 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Yvonne Gallagher
8 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  mill2: or makeshift as suggested by kashew in the discussion box
21 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Karen Vincent-Jones
1 day 21 hrs
  -> Thanks, Karen
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -2
shoddy


Explanation:
poor design

Graham Patrick Cox
France
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Tony M: I think that would describe something completely different; here they are just talking about the improvised nature of what they did, not that it was inherently badly designed. It doesn't convey at all the same idea as 'bricoler'.
16 mins

disagree  AllegroTrans: too strong in the context
3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
a bit primitive


Explanation:
*

kashew
France
Local time: 12:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 74

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Claire N.
11 mins
  -> Yes, glad you approve.

agree  Alison MacG: I prefer your "makeshift" in the discussion box - a rather makeshift arrangement
56 mins
  -> Thanks - I think makeshift is best too.

neutral  AllegroTrans: "makeshift" works well
5 hrs

agree  Sheri P: I also prefer your "makeshift" in the discussion box :-)
7 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it looked like it had been thrown / cobbled together


Explanation:
More suggestions. It seems to be about the way the images looked as a group. Maybe because they weren't able to standardise the result - possibly due to lack of control, for instance.

Helen Shiner
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Wolf Draeger
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Wolf
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
it looked pretty DIY


Explanation:
DIY is short for "do it yourself". In British English it connotes doing work round the house like painting, hanging wallpaper. laying carpets, fitting electrical appliances yourself, rather than bringing in professionals to do it, or making your own furniture etc. rather than buying it ready-made.
By extension it functions as an adjective describing anything which looks as if it's been done or put together by someone without the requisite skill.


Example sentence(s):
  • I'm doing some DIY decorating this weekend to save money.
  • Why don't you buy a properly designed spreadsheet instead of using that DIY thing?
Robert Rowe
Local time: 11:05
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Wolf Draeger: First thing that came to my mind.
2 hrs

neutral  Daryo: given the quality of work of the average "pro tradesman" I wouldn't a priori equate DIY with "amateurish"
4 hrs

agree  AllegroTrans: Yes, since this is effectively what the ST says
1 day 3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
du bricolage
improvised


Explanation:
In the light of comments from peers, and taking into account the register of the document here, my original afterthought suggestion would probably be better here, so I am posting it as a separate suggestion for the sake of the glossary.

Thanks to all for their various comments!

Tony M
France
Local time: 12:05
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 328
Grading comment
My apologies for the late reply. These past few days have been hectic. I’d like to thank everyone for their helpful and interesting suggestions and comments. I’d say that all your suggestions are, to varying agrees, acceptable and I'll remember to refer to them if I ever have to translate this expression again. I wish I could award points to more than one answer. In any case, I decided to go with Tony’s alternate suggestion of “improvised” as it best reflects the register of the press release.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it was a bit of a lash-up / bodge


Explanation:
IN UK EN, at least, this sort of expression might well be used, and even though it is fairly informal, would not be out of place in the register you describe (unlike the suggestiosn you have wisely rejected!)

However, I don't know if either of these options would be usable for the US; I have a feeling they say 'botch' rather than 'bodge' anyway.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 53 mins (2013-09-16 15:39:48 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I'd just like to correct one of my comments above, which might be seen as misleading: in the UK, we do of course use both 'botch' and 'bodge' — both seem to date from around the same period, so it's anybody's guess if one is a corruption of the other, or vice-versa. But I am aware that 'botch' is the only version commonly used in the US.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2013-09-16 16:08:20 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You might want to consider something along the line of 'Before, everything was rather improvised', etc.

I prefer the notion of 'improvise', which corresponds well to 'bricoler', rather than emphasizing the pro/am issue, which in my view is a bit of a side issue, really and truly.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 days (2013-09-22 16:51:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Please disregard this suggestion, I shall leave it up simply for the interesting discussion. I have reposted my final, afterthought suggestion separately.

Tony M
France
Local time: 12:05
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 328
Notes to answerer
Asker: You're right: we do say "botch" in the U.S. As for "lash-up", I can't say that I've heard it before. In any case, I think I should go for something that's neither too American nor too British. Perhaps "amateurish" would be the best solution.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Victoria Britten: My understanding is that is not a one-off, nor a description of a previous state, in both of which cases this would be a contender, but rather of the way they used to work before improving the the technique.
35 mins
  -> That's my understanding too: perhaps it would wotk better if one replaced 'it' with something more global like 'what we were doing...' or 'the way we used to have to work...' etc.?

neutral  kashew: I like your lash-up: or shaded back to "improvised". Botch/bodge isn't right for something that worked? // Maybe cock-up is more explicit?
47 mins
  -> Thanks, J! Yes, I have added a suggestion above that I think would be both internationally-acceptable and in-register. No, 'bodge' can mean simply to do a poor job, not necessarily to fail (e.g. as found in 'a botched attempt...') / LOL!

agree  Claire N.: "Improvised" is good.
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Clain!

neutral  Jane F: to bodge something is to make a mess of it, which is not the case here
2 hrs
  -> I really can't agree, Jane: that is ONE meaning, when used transitively; but used as I have here, it is perfectly natural; 'we bodged something together and luckily it worked' etc. etc. That's the difference in UK EN 'bodge' / 'botch': a botched job.

neutral  AllegroTrans: suggests an abject mess/failure/something that doesn't function rather than an amateurish/DIY/Heath-Robinson jobby (that nevertheless works)//"improvised" works, you can post it separately as a 2nd suggestion
5 hrs
  -> I don't agree, C; we've obviously experienced different lash-ups! However, what do you think about my revised suggestion of 'improvised'?
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs (or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.

KudoZ™ translation help

The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.


See also:

Your current localization setting

English

Select a language

Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search