back to article Israelis offer 'British' pukka-lingo ware to Blighty

An Israeli company has recently issued a "British English" version of its prose-polishing software suite, winning plaudits in the quality UK press. WhiteSmoke, a firm hailing from Tel Aviv, initially intended to market its tech to customers for whom English was a second language. To the founders' surprise, however, there was …


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  1. Brendan Weir

    Give it a real workout

    See how well it copes with the prosaic witterings from AManFromMars

  2. Paul

    Plain English?

    For the last few years companys have been fighting against pointless adjectives etc in the fight to keep things simple and readable, now there is a program that will add these back in?


  3. cor

    Oh no...

    Just when you thought you could spot an East-African 417 Scam on its grammar mistakes alone, the defense gets scuttled by this app.

    A question of semitic semantics?*


    *Just a word play - no political inference intended, please.

  4. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Indian NEUKlearer Technology BetaTest XXXX

    "*We do know where pukka comes from. Savour the irony."

    Same place as wallah, probably. A SMART Enabled Indian Nation.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it the end for Nigerian letters?

    Just imagine all the laughs that’ll be lost when Nigerian need'do'wellers start proofing their letters, no more tell-tale wacky capitalisations, spelling errors, etc.

    Oh well, we'll still have tales of suckers...


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunate choice of name for an Israeli company

    Your search "white smoke israel" returns

    "White phosphorus (weapon) wikipedia, Israel stated it's use of the weapon was legal..."

    "Vatican (AsiaNews) – Plumes of white smoke rose from the chimney on the roof of ... 07/28/2005 VATICAN – ISRAEL Accusations against Pope John Paul II are a"

    "SHTULA, Israel -- Several thousand Israeli troops made their deepest push yet into ... Puffs of white smoke issued from the helicopters as they fired their"

    How about 'wordflex' or 'linguahelp' or 'wordytastichelperiscous', or in fact anything that doesn't suggests some kind of munition being fired?

    Also, "WhiteSmoke suggests context-based synonyms from its vast database and synonym dictionary." The irony in that sentence just staggers me.

  7. Fluffykins Silver badge

    I may be alone in this.........

    ...........but what expression would you least expect in a sales pitch dedicated to helping one create written work with excellent English?

    Lingua Franca?




    Sacre bleu.


  8. Aram

    Re: Plain English?

    Is it too pedantic to point out that the plural of "company" is "companies"?

  9. James Anderson


    Increasingly For the last several few years various companys have been agressively fighting against the very pointless adjectives etc et al in the valiant fight to keep these important things uncomplicatedly simple and easily readable, now, at this moment, there is a marvelous program that will randomly insert or usefully add these retrospectivly back in?

  10. Hein Kruger


    pukka comes from the Hindi word pakkā, which means cooked, ripe or mature.

  11. Fluffykins Silver badge

    It'll be b*ll*cks

    but perfect b*ll*cks

  12. Ian

    Working mainly from the Pub?

    You mean to say, that this drivel I read every day wasn't written down the pub up to now????

  13. yeah, right.

    Oh really?

    "WhiteSmoke software sends everything you write back to the parent company. "

    Oh really? Or were you being sarcastic? Had to tell sometimes with you lot. If not, then I guess it's because the real translation engine is internet based, and the software you get is just a front end? How nice of them to provide the Israeli government and other companies with a first-hand look at what business and government around the world is writing, before it's actually published.

    I wonder if the US-Israeli friendship includes Patriot Act style secret (as in you go to jail if you speak to anyone including a lawyer) access to any data on any computer that just about any government agency wants access to?

  14. Jonathan Fitt

    C'mon you couldn't spare 40 spuds... check out the software and give us a real critique?

    A couple of before and after paragraphs perhaps?

    You shouldn't even have to pay for fork's sake, you're journalists, blagging free stuff should be second nature.

  15. cor

    How about...

    .. taking some text, (your own work please...) and running it through Babelfish into, say French or German, then back to English.

    Next, do the same after 'Whitesmoking' it, just for a laugh. This could be the cause of diplomatic meltdown, and subsequent WWIII.

    Ok, it's Monday. Things are slow.

  16. Ash

    Why are Brits and Yanks buying this?

    Surely it's a sign of the astounding quality decrease in Primary and Secondary education when the British business minds require specialist grammar checking software to write their letters properly!

    Saying that, though, my old boss did get me to write all his letter for him. He used to work for TW2, you know...

  17. SPiT

    Not very legal in the UK

    "WhiteSmoke software sends everything you write back to the parent company. "

    Which immediately means that if your text contains any personally identifiable information then it is covered by the Data Protection Act and exporting the text to Israel is likely to be illegal.

    Kind of difficult to use it to write letters to people.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's in a name?

    Whitesmoke? Vapourware?

  19. Misha Gale

    re: Why are Brits and Yanks buying this?

    I'm not sure we/they are buying it - I think it is meant for people who aren't limeys/septics, but have customers who are.

  20. Jeremy

    It's impossible...

    ...for their website to be completely free if spelling and grammar errors.


  21. Austin Tayshus

    yeah, right @ Oh really

    Nice conspiracy theory. Your beliefs in the competence of the Israeli government are rather touching.

    If the millions wasted on retired generals returning to public "service" via lucrative consulting contracts and government tender project cost overruns were saved, then perhaps we'd actually have some money to fund teams of inspired individuals to sit around reading poorly edited cut and pasted FUD written by the worlds marketing departments and disseminating the competitive intelligence info in realtime to product development teams spam filters.

    Clearly, knowing press releases from companies who can't even afford professional translators is going to allow generate millions for companies who will magically and instantly create copycat products and announcements.

    Probably easier to either discover info by inserting trojans directly onto corporate end users machines (that is sooo 2005) or just put level 7 probes into Internet backbone (read your Wired story here: ).

  22. Aubry Thonon

    Anglish Vs English

    "WhiteSmoke, a firm hailing from Tel Aviv, initially intended to market its tech to customers for whom English was a second language. To the founders' surprise, however, there was massive takeup in America from users who considered themselves native speakers."

    There even are places where English completely disappears!

    Why, in America they haven't spoken it for years...

    -- Professor Henry Higgins, "My Fair Lady"


    That should probably be "saperlipopette"...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irish Tribunals

    The Irish Tribunals investigating, among others, the Prime Minister could use this programme de-cypher what exactly he is stating. His evidence so far has baffled the general populace and I will bet he will beat the best efforts of the Israel programmers.

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