Translation musings: Translating Britspeak

Sep 12, 2013 | Translation, Uncategorized

ConversationEverybody knows just how polite the Brits are… yes, really! But do we always mean exactly what we say? There is a great table making its way around the internet at the moment, translating what Brits say… and what they really mean. And, to add to the general confusion, what the non-Brit might THINK it means.

So, if a Brit says “With the greatest respect” s/he is not, actually, respecting you at all. What s/he is saying in reality is “I don’t respect you at all, you are an idiot.” A fellow Brit would get that, and take the appropriate offence. A non Brit, however, may continue in the happy misunderstanding that their fellow conversationalist is listening, understanding and respecting.

Another typical comment might be “You must come for dinner“. The thrilled potential invitee is already planning what to wear and what wine to bring. The invitation, however, will never come.

Oh, and if a Brit tells you “I’m sure it’s my fault…“, it’s not.

Check out The Independent’s recent article for more Britspeak!


image credit: <a href=’–this-is-a-3d-render-illustration.html’>coramax / 123RF Stock Photo</a>