Sei sulla pagina 1di 3

Translations and real sense of some Anglo-EU politesse and diplomatese

Heres an amusing collection of translations and actually intended meanings of

Anglo-EU politesse and diplomatese, as compiled by Mark Liberman in his Language
Log website. By definition, politesse is a formal word that means courteous
formality or politeness while diplomatese is, well, an informal word that means
the type of language or jargon used by diplomats, thought to be excessively
complicated, cautious or vague, and described humorously as though it were a
foreign language.

Lets see now how these phrases operate in the political and diplomatic arenas in
the United Kingdom and the European Union and, of course, how they might be
used by the more discerning legislators in our own Upper House and Lower House in
the Philippines to explain away their alleged involvement in the massive pork-barrel
scam that got exposed recently.

What the British say What the British mean What others understand

I hear what you say I disagree and do not want He accepts my point of

to discuss it further

With the greatest I think you are an idiot He is listening to me


That's not bad That's good That's poor

That is a very brave You are insane He thinks I have



1 | Page
Quite good A bit disappointing Quite good

I would suggest Do it or be prepared Think about the idea,

to justify yourself but do what you like

Oh, incidentally/ The primary purpose That is not very


by the way of our discussion is

I was a bit

disappointed that I am annoyed that It really doesn't 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 It's not an invitation, I will get an invitation

dinner I'm just being polite

I almost agree I don't agree at all He's not far from


I only have a few Please re-write He has found a few typos

2 | Page
minor comments completely

Could we consider I don't like your idea They have not yet decided

some other options

Correct me if I'm I'm right, don't I may be wrong,

wrong contradict me please let me know

Up to a point Not in the slightest Partially

French Phrase Literal Translation Idiomatic Translation

je serai clair I will be clear I will be rude

Il faut la visibilit We need European The EU must indulge in some

pointless, annoying

Europenne visibility and, with luck, damaging



Il faut trouver une We must find a Warning: I am about to propose a


solution pragmatique pragmatic solution complex, theoretical, legalistic


unworkable way forward.

From a compilation in Mark Libermans Language Log

3 | Page