Peter Smith

Publications, Lectures and Other Stuff

Translating British English?

This is a parody that regularly appears on the internet. I can’t trace the original source (This particular version was in the Telegraph). A lot of British people — including myself –think it is fairly accurate. 

The link is at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10280244/Translation-table-explaining-the-truth-behind-British-politeness-becomes-internet-hit.html

 

WHAT THE BRITISH SAY 

WHAT THE BRITISH MEAN  WHAT FOREIGNERS UNDERSTAND 
I hear what you say  I disagree and do not want to discuss it further  He accepts my point of view 
With the greatest respect  You are an idiot  He is listening to me 
That’s not bad  That’s good  That’s poor 
That is a very brave proposal  You are insane  He thinks I have courage 
Quite good  A bit disappointing  Quite good 
I would suggest  Do it or be prepared to justify yourself  Think about the idea, but do what you like 
Oh, incidentally/ by the way  The primary purpose of our discussion is  That is not very important 
I was a bit disappointed that  I am annoyed that  It doesn’t really matter 
Very interesting  That is clearly nonsense  They are impressed 
I’ll bear it in mind  I’ve forgotten it already  They will probably do it
I’m sure it’s my fault  It’s your fault  Why do they think it was their fault? 
You must come for dinner  It’s not an invitation, I’m just being polite  I will get an invitation soon 
I almost agree  I don’t agree at all  He’s not far from agreement 
I only have a few minor comments  Please rewrite completely  He has found a few typos 
Could we consider some other options  I don’t like your idea  They have not yet decided 
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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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