September 5, 2004

“Correct me if I'm wrong” means “I'm right, please don't contradict me.”

Pejman recommended this funny article on translation difficulties within the European "Union:"

...Hence the guide's warning that when a Briton says “I hear what you say”, the foreign listener may understand: “He accepts my point of view.” In fact, the British speaker means: “I disagree and I do not want to discuss it any further.” Similarly the phrase “with the greatest respect” when used by an Englishman is recognisable to a compatriot as an icy put-down, correctly translated by the guide as meaning “I think you are wrong, or a fool.”

The guide also points out helpfully that when a Briton says “by the way/incidentally”, he is usually understood by foreigners as meaning “this is not very important”, whereas in fact he means, “The primary purpose of our discussion is...” On the other hand, the phrase “I'll bear it in mind” means “I'll do nothing about it”; while “Correct me if I'm wrong” means “I'm right, please don't contradict me.”...

Also, “je serai clair” means “I will be rude”...

Posted by John Weidner at September 5, 2004 8:58 PM
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