Olympic fever is hitting London and there are some pretty condescending articles hitting the web regarding the English – American language “divide.”
Indeed, yes, there are some phrases and words which differ slightly, but we’re all adult enough to either work it out or ask if something is not easily understood. If you’re an American visiting London for the Olympics, you certainly wouldn’t ask for “chips” in a restaurant, and if you see it on a menu, you’d take it to mean “French fries.” English staff in hotels, restaurants and shops in this multi cultural city are well used to hearing a range of accents and requests. If you ask for “pants” in a clothes shop here, in an American accent, no-one would direct you to the underwear section without checking first!
The Internet, television and cinema imports all present opportunities to understand each other’s linguistic quirks. There’s no need to patronise people.
More helpfully, an Olympic Translator app has been developed to help with communicating between different languages. Users can speak into the phone and the app will produce the translation. At the moment, 5000 phrases are available for 20 different languages. Developers are working to complete a target of 50-60 languages. The app will be free for the duration of the Olympics and is due to be released within the new few weeks.
To volunteer to help translate, email [email protected]