A little bit of humor: «Anglo-EU Translation Guide»

Some days ago, my friend Douglas, sent  me the chart attached: «Anglo-EU Translation Guide». My friend Douglas comes from Canada, and English is his mother tongue. He is a senior executive of a global company, with more than 25 years of experience working in Brussels with the European Union institutions.

When I read this chart, I laughed very much: it was (it is) a great joke. But when I read it again, these ideas came to my mind: how difficult is to manage the cultural differences; how difficult is to manage in other language; how difficult is to go beyond words; how difficult is to be in the same page even when you think that you are talking about the same thing.
I hope you enjoy the chart as much as I enjoyed it.

The Economist posted also about it


14 Respuestas para “A little bit of humor: «Anglo-EU Translation Guide»”

  1. Chris Milton on

    Very good .. and unfortunately soo very true, at least here in the UK. Gave me quite a few flashbacks to management meetings!

    Very reminiscent of Yes Minister, a UK political satire, which defined the difference between controversial and corageous (brave) decisions as «Controversial only means this will lose you votes, courageous means this will lose you the election.»

  2. albertoandreu on

    Thank you very much for your comment. For non Anglo-Saxon speakers, it’s so difficult to understand not only the real meaning of sentence, but mainly the hidden meaning of some expressions. But reading your mail, I also realize that «controversial» and «courageous» has not only different meanings but also different consequences. Thank you again

  3. Michael Hammond on

    Yes, I recognize all these expressions and their true (British) meanings. I would, however, like to defend the majority of British people who cringe when they hear these things said. Originally they were undoubtedly used to hide the speaker’s true meaning, but for British people they have long since become the stuff of satire.

  4. Esteban on

    In negotiations: A British guy said: «There might be room for improvement». The US guy said: «This really pisses me off.» They both actually meant the same…

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  6. Arlene on

    Very interesting (ahem, truly) and entertaining…

    You are right, it isn’t always easy to come across exactly as one intends, however fluently one speaks. All in the nuances…

    As a Brit, (who speaks four languages), I often feel quite embarrassed at how little effort most of my countrymen (and women) make to communicate in foreign tongues; shame they don’t realise how much more they would get out of the experience if they did…

  7. guenstig on

    Very funny but also very true, Once you understand these subtleties you are really into english language.
    btw. I think this is a very brave proposal 🙂

  8. albertoandreu on

    Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, surfing in this subtleties is not easy for non English speakers

  9. What the English say and what they mean « I've Said Too Much on

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  10. Ben Menadue on

    Thanks for this guide – it reminded me of years of working on EU project development with non-native english speakers. Consequently I found it quite entertaining. (= I rolled on the floor screaming with hysterical laughter until I was exhausted from weeping)

  11. Annette Juckes on

    excellent! I just would like to add another one:

    Brit: «Are you sure you are right?»
    Meaning: «I am convinced you’ve got it wrong!»

  12. albertoandreu on

    Thank you for this! I will include in the new release!

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  14. Mike Pope on

    A very good book, which not only covers some of these points but also explains much of the background and why Brits (or, more specifically, the English) are the way they are, is «Watching the English» by Kate Fox. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone bemused by «English-speak»…

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