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Posted By P & L Blog
Some English words don't quite translate.


By Vicki Hollett

I'd better confess right away that I'm not a native American English speaker.

If you could hear my accent, you'd spot in a jiffy that my native variety is British English. But stop, come back, because I can tell you about the most important word to get your head around if you're communicating with Americans. I know this because I've lived in the U.S. for more than a decade now, and it's still the word that I have to think about every time I use it.

What's the word? It's "quite."

It's such a common word. Americans use it, Brits use it, and it's the same word, right? Well no, not quite.

Have a look at these sentences. Both Americans and Brits could say them all. But two of them mean different things, depending on whether an American or a Brit says them. Which ones?

1. This is quite interesting.
2. Quite fascinating, in fact.
3. I'm usually quite good at this kind of exercise.
4. But you're quite correct. This is tricky.

One common meaning of "quite" in both varieties is "completely." (See numbers two and four above.) These two sentences mean the same in American and British English.

"Fascinating" and "correct" are both adjectives that can't be graded, so things are either fascinating/correct or not. There's no half way about it. But there are other adjectives that are gradable. For example, there can be different degrees of "good" or "interesting." That's where things get complicated and "quite" means different things. (See numbers one and three above.)

If your American boss says your work is "quite good," should you be pleased or a little concerned? In British English "quite good" only means "pretty good" or "fairly good," but in American English it's much more positive. "Quite good" means "very good," so you can give yourself a pat on the back.

And one last piece of advice for any American guys who are planning a first date with an English girl: Don't be like one of my American friends and tell her you think she is "quite pretty." He was lucky to get a second date.

The author contributes to  Macmillan Dictionary Blog, where this article originally appeared.

Posted By P & L Blog

Content Rules is one of the best selling business books on Amazon right now. In the very first chapter, I was struck by the similarities between content marketing and translation. Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman say that content (websites, blogs, white papers, etc.) should be the basis of your marketing. Take a look at this list of what content marketing can do for your business:

  • Attract customers.
  • Educate your buyers abouut a purchase they are considering.
  • Overcome resistance or address objections.
  • Establish your credibility, trust, and authority in your industry.
  • Tell your story.
  • Build buzz via social networks.
  • Build a base of fans and inspire customers to love you.
  • Inspire impulse buys.

If you substitute "translation" for "content marketing", I think every one of these points applies. The only difference is your audience. If you are already producing content to reach your customers, it may be the time to take the next step and launch translated content.


Posted By P & L Blog

Did you know that the Hispanic population in Tennessee more than doubled from 2000-2010? Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina also experienced this explosive growth according to the Census Bureau.

Have you seen an increase in Hispanic customers? How is your organization handling your communications with Spanish-speaking customers?






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