Specialising in Peer-Review and Ethics

Glasgow Patter

Translation job


“Glaswegian” Interpreters: Translation company seeks speakers of Glaswegian English with knowledge of vocabulary, accent, nuances, to meet interpreting needs of clients who find it an unexpected challenge. Email CV to info@today translations.com”


The Herald 13 October 2009 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8306582.stm)


This advertisement for translators of Glaswegian, which drew more than 30 applicants, needs to be understood in context. Glaswegian is a language of its own and as such can be thought of as a ‘second language’. A spokesman for the translation company explained that they needed translators to assist foreign visitors to the city whose 'business English' was not good enough to understand the local dialect. Having relocated back hame to Glasgow I understand the difficulties that might face an unsuspecting foreign/English business executive. A man approaching six feet tall has a ‘big’ before his name in Glaswegian as in Big Hughie and Big Wullie. A female of five feet is wee as in Wee Samantha and Wee Polly. These descriptions are, I hasten to add, bestowed with certain affection. If a businessman/woman is met with disapproval, for instance an unkempt individual, they are called bachle. Bachles usually wear clothes for meetings which are a size or two too large for them. The ‘ch’ in bachle is pronounced as in the Scottish word ‘loch’. Scots shudder when they hear an English person speaking of ‘Lock Lomond’. The word bachle should not be confused with bauchle which is a worn-out shoe. A bachle wearing bauchles may result in his having a stumbling gait when he would be described as a shachly bachle.


Now that we have established some basics of Glaswegian perhaps the businessman/woman wants to go shopping. In Glasgow this can be quite an entertaining adventure, you may be advised by the shop assistant “Don’t buy it. It’ll make ye stink like hell an’ wee min hate it”. Or in a hat shop you may hear “Ah aye think if ye’re kinda full in the face ye shouldny wear a wee pillbox hat. It looks like a thimble on top o’ a dumpling”.


So, Bringacerryoot ta ye’r pals and hiv a good Hogmany!


Diana Epstein



Source: Stanley Baxter’s Bedside Book of Glasgow Humour. ISBN:1841582468 Birlinn books

Published in The Write Stuff, The official journal of The European Medical Writers Association, Issue 4, 2009