How Do You Translate “Collaboration”?

Retro detective man with mustache and hat. Holding magnifying glass. Studio shot.While the term collaboration exists in both English and French, its use is much more widespread and pedestrian in the Romance language. In English, it can take on darker, more sinister undertones that bring to mind Russian spy flicks. So when I am thanked for my collaboration, I get a prickly feeling, like I’m selling state secrets.

Alas, my collaboration typically amounts to simply putting my pop can in the proper recycling bin, not parking in a handicapped spot, and refraining from opening doors marked Private. When referring to a simple following of the rules, the word cooperation would suffice.

Collaboration is also bandied about in anglophone artistic circles, where painters and sculptors collaborate on a project. But in the regular hubbub of office life, folks tend to work together to get the job done. If a co-worker lends you a hand, you offer a polite, “Thanks for your help,” or, in the truest of English interactions, a lone “Thanks.”

En étroite collaboration avec is simply work closely with. Close collaboration just sounds freaky. More spies, more dark allies.

My advice is that unless you’re working on a film script, opt for easy-breezy English words that don’t evoke a John le Carré novel.

How do you translate collaboration?


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