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This year's Plain English Awards' hall of shame
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
Dec 11, 2007

From the BBC website
plain English campaigner Ben Beer has distilled three of this year's worst offenders to a single-line translation. Then, have a go at translating the final paragraph yourself.


"Passenger shoe repatriation area only"

Plain English Campaign translation: Get your shoes back here.

BAA removed the sign on Monday and gave this statement: "We are in the business of repatriation at Gatwick Airport, admittedly more often through arriving passengers than repatriating shoes."


"The Carrier shall not be liable for injury or damage to or destruction or loss of the Goods or any other property arising out of or incidental to or in connection with or occurring during the provision of the Services or for the mis-delivery or non-delivery of the Goods and whether or not caused or contributed to by the default (including negligence) of the Carrier or any agent, servant or officer of the Carrier or any other person entitled to the benefit of these conditions."

Plain English Campaign translation: If anything happens, it's not our fault.


"Every Autumn a combination of leaves on the line, atmospheric conditions and prevailing damp conditions lead to a low adhesion between the rail head and the wheel which causes services to be delayed or even cancelled. NI Railways are committed to minimising service delays, where we can, by implementing a comprehensive low adhesion action programme."

Plain English Campaign translation: We'll really try not to cancel any more trains.


"Moving forwards, we at Virgin Trains are looking to take ownership of the flow in question to apply our pricing structure, thus resulting in this journey search appearing in the new category-matrix format. The pricing of this particular flow is an issue going back to 1996 and it is not something that we can change until 2008 at the earliest. I hope this makes the situation clear."

[This is followed by readers' attempts at understanding Virgin Trains' response.]
The full article here

[Edited at 2007-12-11 14:18]

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:16
French to English
Hmmm - plain but wrong? Dec 11, 2007

Plain English Campaign translation: If anything happens, it's not our fault.

I'm all in favour of the plain English folks, but I think they got that wrong.
It actually says "If anything happens, we ain't paying you anything, even if it IS our fault".

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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
NI Railways Dec 11, 2007

Hi Nesrin,

Excellent stuff!

Regarding the railway language, I'm from Coleraine, and I assume your comment on their dodgy English at the railway station is a recent observation.

This reply isn't so much in connection with the language as with the NI trains, though ...

Travellers should feel luckier these days though because, before they modernised and updated with the Translink thang, NI Railways operated a fleet of trains which had already done their 30-40 years of service life in England. The way they moved, it certainly felt like it too, and were uncomfortable and unreliable, leaves or no leaves. Probably not unsellable, though, even after a second term, since business is business, and likely as not they're somewhere in the third world now, on their third service life.



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This year's Plain English Awards' hall of shame

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