A French-English translation problem of sorts. As Bigmouth_strikes
notes, the usage of this phrase in English generally refers to a particular set of social skills applicable in a rather restricted segment of society. However, when used in French the term has far broader semantic scope: it refers to practical knowledge
, such as scientific and technological skills; it has some significance in intellectual property
law: "Connaissances techniques, transmissibles, non-immédiatement
accessibles au public et non-brevetées, et pour lesquelles quelqu'un
serait disposé à payer pour en avoir connaissance
" - "Technical knowledge which can be passed on, is not immediately accessible to the public and not patented, and which somebody would be prepared to pay to find out about". (from http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/claudefpascaud/HTM30.HTM
The usual (hack) English translation of French savoir faire is thus know-how or something like that.
There is however, a parallel French expression, savoir vivre, which means very much that kind of comfort in (high) society which anglophones refer to as "savoir faire"; it is used in English as well, but much more rarely. It is therefore generally best to translate French savoir vivre as English savoir faire, which is a mildly satisfying thing for a translator to be able to do.