本篇文章轉錄於:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10280244/Translation-table-explaining-the-truth-behind-British-politeness-becomes-internet-hit.html

 

Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness becomes internet hit

11:46AM BST 02 Sep 2013

 

The table sheds light on just how difficult it can be for a foreigner to understand what the British really mean when they're speaking – especially for those take every word at face value.

Phrases that prove the trickiest to decipher include 'you must come for dinner', which foreigners tend to take as a direct invitation, but is actually said out of politeness by many Britons and often does not result in an invite.

The table also reveals that when a person from Britain begins a sentence "with the greatest respect ...', they actually mean 'I think you are an idiot'.

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 

The table points out that when Britons say 'I'm sure it's my fault', it actually means 'it's your fault'.

It also reveals that 'very interesting' can often mean 'that is clearly nonsense'.

The table, which has been posted on an number of blogs, has attracted thousands of comments from both Britons and foreigners claiming the interpretations are true to life.

Duncan Green, a strategic adviser for Oxfam who posted it online, described it as "a handy guide for our fellow Europeans and others trying to fathom weaselly Brit-speak".

Mr Green said: "Sadly, I didn’t write it. It’s just one of those great things that is being passed around on the internet."

Although the author of the table is unconfirmed, it is thought it may have originally been drawn up by a Dutch company as an attempt to help employees working in the UK.

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