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PRONUNCIATION OF ENGLISH WORDS IN POLAND


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
12 Jul 2009 /  #1
I'm sure some of you can come up with numerous other examples, but one that struck me was the pronunciation of the word "series" as in an advert for "Gilette Series" (disposable safety razor).

Series is simply seria in Polish, but they apparently thought English was somehow more upscale, trendy and snobbish, except it came out sounding not SEE-reez the English way, not SER-yes the Polish way but SEER-yes (sounds like serious), a weird hybrid indeed. You'd thinklthere are now enough native English speakers floating about to correct this, but no, this has been going on for years.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
12 Jul 2009 /  #2
Generally, using foreign words in advertising is a bad idea. Maybe some other langauges, but not English where almost every single letter has a twisted pronounciation (from the point of view of most European languages).

One of the biggest fails (in my eyes) was Fa (perspirant) campaign with a slogan "How FA will you go". I'm sure the percentage of people who associated "FA" with "far" was ridiculously low among the target population.
Michal - | 1,865  
13 Jul 2009 /  #3
You'd thinklthere are now enough native English speakers floating about to correct this, but no, this has been going on for years.

It is interesting because on a similar line, I stayed in the Secret Garden Hostel in Krakow not so long ago and there were several bilingual notices put up in both English and Polish. However, some of the English translations were quite ammuzing such as shaving gel, which was presumably translated from a computer as 'shaving mousse' and there were several other even worse examples, which do not come to mind right now. Again, you would have thought that a hostel in the centre of Krakow would have attracted enough native speakers of English to have these 'translations' corrected before going to print.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582  
13 Jul 2009 /  #4
You'd think there are now enough native English speakers floating about to correct this, but no, this has been going on for years.

This is just incompetence, laziness and lack of professionalism on the part of the advertising agency. If they can't pronounce it the correct way, they should look it up in a dictionary, if they haven't got a dictionary on the premises, they should hire a consultant, for example, John Cleese.

The adverts on Polish TV starring John Cleese were very good and intelligent and he was speaking ... English in them. These were directed at yuppies who were supposed to know English well. However, the yuppie responsible for the "Gilette Series" advert did not; she/he probably thought that everyone else in the world pronounces the word "series" the way he/she does, so he didn't even bother to consult a dictionary.

but they apparently thought English was somehow more upscale, trendy and snobbish

Yes, they did. But it is a privilige of the yuppie class and age ... to think that they know better, and to feel ... snobbish!
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
13 Jul 2009 /  #5
yuppies

yuppie

yuppie

goood grief I haven't heard that word since c1989...:) Do people really still use it?
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582  
13 Jul 2009 /  #6
Although you haven't, there are plenty of occurences of this word in "The Times of London": 429 results for "yuppie", the last one from 04 July 2009 (article: "Los Angeles profits from Michael Jackson stimulus""). They can possibly be found in "The Sun" and alike, but I haven't checked on that.
terri 1 | 1,627  
13 Jul 2009 /  #7
It isn't only in hotels/motels where translations from POlish into English raise a smile. Next time I'm in Poland I'll get some evidence - translations of menus make me giggle sometimes. And yes, you would think that these establishments could spare 20-50PLN for a native to give the translation the once over. Evidently not. We ought to have examples of the best 'translations' listed here.
bunia 1 | 134  
13 Jul 2009 /  #8
But to be honest it works both ways.
How many times i saw English-polish notices in surgery/shops/bus and was wondering what the hell they meant when they run it through english-polish translator.

And same - you would think there is enough polish people in the UK that someone could at least had a look at them :)
lexi 1 | 176  
13 Jul 2009 /  #9
"yuppie",

Some words are just ageless!
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
13 Jul 2009 /  #10
And same - you would think there is enough polish people in the UK that someone could at least had a look at them :)

Maybe they just employ bad translators ;0)
Brenda - | 1  
13 Jul 2009 /  #11
I am needing some help. I am asking for help in how to say UNCLE & AUNT in Polish. I have found the spelling of it, but no pronunciation assistance. Can anyone help me out?

Thanks!
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
13 Jul 2009 /  #12
However, some of the English translations were quite ammuzing such as shaving gel, which was presumably translated from a computer as 'shaving mousse'

What's amusing is your English.
You need to go out more.
Shaving Mousse is a type of product and the name is used by native speakers of English such as the good people of Luxurious Botanicals.
Jihozapad  
13 Jul 2009 /  #13
"polska produkts" lol :)
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
13 Jul 2009 /  #14
Shaving Mousse is a type of product and the name is used by native speakers of English such as the good people

It would be foam in all honesty - mousse would be more a hair product. But I suppose both could be correct, but as English person living in England Ive never heard anyone say they use shaving mousse on their legs, it's always shaving foam. At the same time, I certainly wouldnt find it in any way shape or form amusing if I saw shaving mousse written in a foreign hotel.
Michal - | 1,865  
19 Jul 2009 /  #15
Shaving Mousse is a type of

Rubbish, this term is never used in English nor is teeth brushes for tooth brushes which was also written alongside. I also do not see any reason why an establishment needs to pay a translator when any visiting tourist can help out. I stayed in Kraków with a very clever intelligent American who had a very good job back home. Because you pay for something does not mean that it will be better than getting it for free. Middle aged businessmen and professional classes use hostels now because of the costs involved in traveling.
Jihozapad  
19 Jul 2009 /  #16
It would be foam in all honesty - mousse would be more a hair product

Yeah. Hairstyling mousse, shaving foam.

Middle aged businessmen and professional classes use hostels now because of the costs involved in traveling.

Wow, I didn't know that, personally I only ever stay in 3 star hotels or better :p lol
Lyzko  
19 Jul 2009 /  #17
Michał,

A decent establishment ought indeed employ a translator to render instructions from a European language into English (though not perhaps vice versa), considering the often poor state of English found in, among other countries Poland, where signage is usually so badly translated, it seems that any Tom, Dick or Harry off the street was allowed to translate it into broken English-:)

Why are EU governments too bloody cheap to employ a NATIVE English translator into English, as they do with native French or German into the latter? Why should English continually be the whipping boy for everyone's poor language skills??!

Marek
Spice_Boy - | 7  
1 Aug 2009 /  #18
A really bad one I saw was an ad for Cillit Bang. In Polish, they pronounce g as hard, like in 'great'. So instead of a nice soft ending on 'bang', it sounded like 'bank'.

When the ad came on the tv, I heard what I thought was a 'Citi Bank' ad, but looked at the screen and saw some woman cleaning a kitchen top.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
6 Aug 2009 /  #19
Cillit Bang

This name is so un-Polish that it doesn't really matter how they pronounce it, it doesn't look/sound good any way.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
6 Aug 2009 /  #20
Since when was Cillit an English word? Doesn't it look weird in a lot of different languages?

There are accents in English where the g is pronounced distinctly at the end of the ng sound.
mafketis 21 | 7,392  
7 Aug 2009 /  #21
Why are EU governments too bloody cheap to employ a NATIVE English translator into English, as they do with native French or German

And where are they going to find qualified native english speaking translators to do this?

There are native speakers of English who can and do translate from Polish to English (I like to think I'm one of them) but there aren't a lot of us and I can't think of a single one who does it for a living.

There are also problems of training (I'd love a super-advanced course to polish up my Polish a little but they don't exist at my level yet) and certification (important in a country that takes paper qualifications very seriously).

I'm a big believer in the idea that translations should be done only into the native language whenever possible but a lot of the time in Poland that's just not possible at present.

Why should English continually be the whipping boy for everyone's poor language skills??!

It's the price of popularity. Face it, the great majority of people who learn English as a foreign language don't much care for it as a language so getting little details right is generally not much of a priority. There's no such thing as effective mass learning of a foreign language.

I've also come across the attitude that correctness just doesn't matter in English. Polish (and German and Italian and whatnot) are real languages with standards that need to be met by learners, but any old crap slapped together is good enough for English.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
7 Aug 2009 /  #22
I've also come across the attitude that correctness just doesn't matter in English.

The damage here has been done by the English speakers themselves, I'm afraid. Even in the UK or USA, a lot of times the general attitude is that "English no grammar" (to worry about in school). This was perpetuated a lot in the second half of the XX century in English language teaching.

Add to that the linguistic theory that "anything a native speaker says is correct" - and you can expect to get it washed down to "whatever utterance, as long as it looks/sounds English, is correct by definition" ;-P
Lyzko  
7 Aug 2009 /  #23
AGREEMENT WITH YOU BOTH, Magda and Mafketis!!

I also earn my daily bread (..and not a shabby loaf at that either-:)) from translating, mostly from German, but occasionally from Polish too, and your conclusions reflect the sad inevitabilty of globalization.

The hope though, is that eventually folks out in Euroland, as elsewhere, will get sooooo bloody sick and tired of their poor English being corrected, misunderstood or merrily ignored, beset by scalding sarcasm from educated native English speakers, that they'll plain throw in the towel and concede to the latter's superiority, reverting to their native language and call it a day-:)

Somehow though, it ain't gonna happen, not in this lifetime anyway LOL

But yes, there's always tomorrow.
)))))
Lyzko  
15 Aug 2009 /  #24
Not along ago, a Swedish TV station was fined by its own government for using too much English in its advertising. Apparently, sponsors as well as older viewers, were complaining that the use of English was alienating the audience. While those in favor of the continued use of English maintained English sounds 'cooler' than Swedish (??????), those opposed stated that the hegemony of English in Sweden, as elsewhere, is unhealthy and promotes a stunted national identitiy-:)

I tend to agree. But I'll take on anyone who wishes to argue the point-:):-)

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