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Translation outfit seeks Glaswegian speakers

Lithuanian struggles with 'baltic' weather

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A London translation firm is desperately in need of Glaswegian interpreters after its Lithuanian owner, despite her fluent English, struggled with our Scottish cousins' local patter.

Jurga Zilinskiene explained to the Times that she was on holiday in Lanark earlier this year and "ran into difficulties" when confronted with a group of Glaswegians. The word “baltic” apparently proved particularly troublesome, because while your average Lithuanian assumes it refers to the sea of the same name, it's used up north to describe cold weather.*

Zilinskiene said: “We could have a laugh about it when we realised the misunderstanding ... but that was usually a good bit later."

“It was a big eye opener. I found it quite challenging although I have lived in this country and spoken English for quite a few years and travelled a lot and usually I do get by with my English - but not with the Glaswegians.”

So serious did Zilinskiene consider the problem that her Today Translations stuck an ad in a Glasgow paper, stating: “Translation company seeks speakers of ‘Glaswegian English’ with knowledge of vocabulary, accent, nuances, to meet interpreting needs of clients who find it an unexpected challenge."

Alex Mosson, the former Lord Provost of Glasgow, dismissed the advert in his best Queen's English, telling the Times: “It’s a lot of tripe. I travelled the world as Lord Provost and nobody failed to understand me.

“They will need different translators for different parts of the city. Folk in the Garngad don’t speak the same as South Siders. And as for the difference between Anderston and Bearsden...”

Well, quite. For any Lithuanians who might be reading and fancy testing their skills, the Times provides a handy list of typical Glaswegian utterances, including:

  • Wharlla stick ma wean’s buggie? - Where can I put my child's pushchair?
  • A haufanahauf anpronto - Give me a dram of whisky and a half-pint chaser, and make it snappy
  • Geeza punna burra furrra murra - Give me a pound of butter for my mother

And here are a few more, gleaned online:

  • It'll be murder polis gaun tae wark the morra if they dinna get thir roads grittit
  • Oh aye, she's getting her particks oot the noo
  • Ye better watch your rubbery gub mate a'fore ye get bleached!

Lovely. ®

Bootnote

*Try this example, found here: "Joanne and Tori come this Thursday for a week....am feart tae tell them it's baltic."

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