Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Off topic: Office-speak phrases we love to hate (BBC)
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jun 17, 2008

BBC website readers have sent in the worst examples of "management speak" they've come across. The top 50 are listed here http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/magazine/7457287.stm
but here are some of my favourites (not that I'd ever want to come across any of them in a translation job!!):

"My employers (top half of FTSE 100) recently informed staff that we are no longer allowed to use the phrase brain storm because it might have negative connotations associated with fits. We must now take idea showers . I think that says it all really."
Anonymous, England

"My favourite which I hear from the managers at the bank I work for is let's touch base about that offline . I think it means have a private chat but I am still not sure."
Gemma, Wolverhampton, England

"Until recently I had to suffer working for a manager who used phrases such as the idiotic I've got you in my radar in her speech, letters and e-mails. Once, when I mentioned problems with the phone system, she screamed 'NO! You don't have problems, you have challenges'. At which point I almost lost the will to live."
Stephen Gradwick, Liverpool

" Outwith . Common use - if an issue is not covered by the contract, it is said to 'outwith the contract'. Is it nonsensical or is it an Americanism? It doesn't appear to be included in online American dictionaries. Irrespective, it should NOT be allowed."
Dai Evans, Atyrau, Kazakhstan

"The latest that's stuck in my head is we are still optimistic things will feed through the sales and delivery pipeline (ie: we actually haven't sold anything to anyone yet but maybe we will one day)."
Alexander, Southampton

"The expression that drives me nuts is 110% , usually said to express passion/commitment/support by people who are not very good at maths. This has created something of a cliche-inflation, where people are now saying 120%, 200%, or if you are really REALLY committed, 500%. I remember once the then-chancellor Gordon Brown saying he was 101% behind Tony Blair, to which people reacted 'What? Only 101?'"
Ricardo Molina, London, UK

"In my work environment it's all cascading at the moment. What they really mean is to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards. What they don't seem to appreciate is that it sounds like we're being wee'd on. Which we usually are."
LMD, London

"Working for an American corporation, this year's favourite word seems to be granularity , meaning detail. As in 'down to that level of granularity'."
Chris Daniel, Anaco, Venezuela

"After a reduction in workforce , my university department sent this notice out to confused campus customers: 'Thank you for your note. We are assessing and mitigating immediate impacts, and developing a high-level overview to help frame the conversation with our customers and key stakeholders. We intend to start that process within the week. In the meantime, please continue to raise specific concerns or questions about projects with my office via the Transition Support Center..."
Charles R, Seattle, Washington, US

"Lately I've come across the strategic staircase . What on earth is this? I'll tell you; it's office speak for a bit of a plan for the future. It's not moving on but moving up. How strategic can a staircase really be? A lot I suppose, if you want to get to the top without climbing over all your colleagues."
Peter Walters, Cheadle Hulme, UK


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Isabel Booth  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
Italian to English
Love it! Jun 17, 2008



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 17:57
German to English
Priceless Jun 17, 2008



Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxramsbone
English
OUTWITH - It's a scottish word Jun 17, 2008

OUTWITH is not a pseudo word or maed up - it's a scottish word ( also used in some parts of northern England ) that's escaped into the wild.

I'm Scottish and worked in London and used 'outwith' in a project document and people thought I'd made the word up - until that point I though it was a common English work and didn't realise it was scottish.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
German to Italian
+ ...
My favourite Jun 17, 2008

"I work in one of those humble call centres for a bank. Apparently, what we're doing at the moment is sprinkling our magic along the way. It's a call centre, not Hogwarts."

Direct link Reply with quote
 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
English to Polish
+ ...
Dilbert Jun 17, 2008

Believe it or not, I've come across many of these, translating some marketing materials recently...

Another one I like to dislike is "across geographies"

http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20040112/companywatch01.shtml

Pawel Skalinski


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Krzysztof Łesyk  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 01:57
Japanese to English
+ ...
Err... what? Jun 17, 2008

"After a reduction in workforce , my university department sent this notice out to confused campus customers: 'Thank you for your note. We are assessing and mitigating immediate impacts, and developing a high-level overview to help frame the conversation with our customers and key stakeholders. We intend to start that process within the week. In the meantime, please continue to raise specific concerns or questions about projects with my office via the Transition Support Center..."
Charles R, Seattle, Washington, US

Dear God, this sound like it was generated using this tool, the scary thing is it's real...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
French to English
+ ...
Yes! Jun 17, 2008

ramsbone wrote:

OUTWITH is not a pseudo word or made up - it's a scottish word ( also used in some parts of northern England ) that's escaped into the wild.



yes, I lived in Scotland for nine years when my boys were small and we used to get letters home from school saying that children should not be be left "outwith the playground". Wonderful! There were lots of others as well, but I can't remember them off hand.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:57
English to French
+ ...
What does that MEAN? Jun 17, 2008



'Thank you for your note. We are assessing and mitigating immediate impacts, and developing a high-level overview to help frame the conversation with our customers and key stakeholders. We intend to start that process within the week. In the meantime, please continue to raise specific concerns or questions about projects with my office via the Transition Support Center..."


Can somebody translate this into English, please? Love the 'granularity' one, too!

Also, can somebody explain why these people feel compelled to produce such gibberish? I mean, if they really have something to say, wouldn't it make sense that people actually understand? If somebody told me they are taking an idea shower, I would think they need professional help...

Really. Does anybody have an idea why?

Edit: One that gets on my nerves is the word 'global'. It is used profusely in contexts where it just doesn't fit. It seems like it is being used when a neat sounding text is called for and they somehow think that adding an adjective will help achieve that goal. Except that it means nothing in most contexts, especially when used by small local companies who don't export. You know, global usually means "across the Globe" - and that globe is not an eight ball in your local bar, mind you.

[Edited at 2008-06-17 22:38]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
English to Polish
+ ...
If you bear with me... Jun 18, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
why these people feel compelled to produce such gibberish?


There is a story by the Polish sci-fi writer/ philospher Stanislaw Lem:
A space traveller lands on a planet inhabited only by intelligent robots. Humans on the planet are persona non grata, so he has to "dress up" as a robot to go about undetected. He gets into all kinds of trouble, but in the end he manages to discover that EVERY ROBOT on the planet is, in fact, a human disguised as a robot.

I think these words were once thought up for some purpose or other by some brilliant copy writer or whoever. Others started using them and as time went by, everyone forgot why the word was used originally, but it still sounds good and catchy, everyone thinks (because they are told all the time that these are good buzzwords to use) that these words are catchy and effective and now no one will stop and say "Wait a minute, this is all a bunch of horse excrement!"

That's my take.

Pawel Skalinski


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
outwith Jun 24, 2008

Dai Evans, Atyrau, Kazakhstan

" Outwith . Common use - if an issue is not covered by the contract, it is said to 'outwith the contract'. Is it nonsensical or is it an Americanism? It doesn't appear to be included in online American dictionaries. Irrespective, it should NOT be allowed."

Dai - "outwith" is a Scottish variant of the word "outside", the meaning is more like "beyond" as in "beyond our control". I've used it in legal documents and had no negative feedback to date.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
What an 'innocuous' word.... Jun 24, 2008

I've never heard this word before (I admit); but then again I've never heard of Dai Evans either(??)

But it [b]is[b] listed in Merriam-Webster, and other places, and it is defined exactly as neilmac says. So that's settled then. Take a look:-

http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definitions/outwith

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outwith

Any further complaints against this harmless word are outwith the scope of this present post.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
What about in the field of education Jun 26, 2008

where nowadays "teaching" has become a dirty word and is replaced by "learning delivery"... and the teacher is now a "learning facilitator" - the project I'm working on at the moment is full of this guff and it's getting right up my nose.
It all seems to stem from a mish-mash of new-fangled educational theory with business speak and IT-related jargonese. What is really irritating is that even though it may sound convicing and (post?) modern in English, when you try to translate it into Spanish it doesn't really work and so we end up with the good old tradicional terms such as teacher/pupil... etc.

Keep It Simple!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Deborah Hoffman  Identity Verified

Local time: 11:57
Russian to English
+ ...
More... Jun 27, 2008

This is great!

Some other ones I've encountered:

direct report - the person whom you supervise, as in "Your direct report is handling this." I guess there is no other word for this, but really why not just use the person's name?

opportunities - every 6 months you sit down with your boss and discuss your accomplishments and your, er...*opportunities.*

grow the business - I must have been sleeping when grow became a transitive verb.

product rollout - how about launch? or just sale?

core competencies - the stuff the company actually does well, and which the speaker is hoping will take attention off of its...er, OPPORTUNITIES.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Fiona Kirton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
outwith Feb 18, 2010

I get very, very riled at the hostile attitudes towards this word, which are just bizarre to say the least. **IT IS A WORD**. The Oxford English Dictionary records its usage as far back as the early 13th century. And as we all know north of the English border, its use is widespread and can be seen in newspaper articles, academic journals, legal documents, letters and a whole host of other formal AND informal texts. It's also used in spoken English. It is absolutely, categorically NOT "office speak".

I look forward to the day when language fascism is a thing of the past.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Office-speak phrases we love to hate (BBC)

Advanced search






CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search