back to article Translation outfit seeks Glaswegian speakers

A London translation firm is desperately in need of Glaswegian interpreters after its Lithuanian owner, despite her fluent English, struggled with our Scottish cousins' local patter. Jurga Zilinskiene explained to the Times that she was on holiday in Lanark earlier this year and "ran into difficulties" when confronted with a …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. James 5

    Pure dead brilliant...

    so it is....

    Looks like the Times has goat a wee bit o the Baxters there !

    Google: "parliamo glasgow"

  2. dajuk


    I'm a Glaswegian born and bread and I can assure you I do not speak like, or understand half of what you said(typed). Although it is true that there is another dialect (like all regions) which takes some getting used to

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rab C

    A few years ago I used to share a house with an assortment of New Zealanders, South Africans and Aussies ( and a couple of English) when Rab C Nesbitt was the comedy of choice. Only problem was, none of them could understand better than one word in ten, so it was down to me, Glasgae born, to give a running translation. The lingo was easy enough, but trying to explain the actual humour was a lot harder.

    Reading the liens in the article makes me wish I'd never lost the accent.

  4. Scott Mitchell

    What a load of crap

    Listen, I LIVE and WORK in Glasgow and I'm telling you that "punna burra furra murra" dialect is fiction. I've never met a weegie who speaks like that, and I've been living here for 12 years.

    Do you really believe what a Murdoch newspaper tells you?

  5. jon 72
    Thumb Up

    Azards o' Chimuck Szwipping

    The 'Azards o' Chimuck Szwipping by Keith Morgan is a little known classic written in the Forest of Dean dialect and probably the best example of just how different some dialects can be in some areas. Reading it aloud for the first time was like trying to strangle myself with my own tongue.

    "ow bist old butt?" (how are you mate?),

    "butty" (a good friend)

    and "vurrenerf" (foreigner).

    Google has only four references where you can purchase a copy but your local library should be able to get you a copy to read.

    (Book - rectangular, read only storage device )

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Away ye go, ya rocket

    Ach, Glaswegians are alright: it's only foreigners (that includes those South of the Gretna) who struggle with the lingo.

    If you want a proper challenge, I suggest you travel north and east -- Arbroath would do. An example of their talk:

    "Vit voi's Bonacord Street?"

    (What way's Bonacord Street.)

  7. Steve Evans

    Accents can be evil, completely new words and phrases are worse!

    I have a friend who is from somewhere up the East coast of Scotland, and he's been down here near London for 12 years, we can just about understand him these days, but even so he still manages to throw in the odd word to confuse us. Only this weekend it was a word for chewing gum, which we all chuckled about and promptly all forgot.

    His family up north take the piss and say he talks like a Londoner... yeah right! Give him a few beers and he's completely incomprehensible to us!

    Luckily he's a man of few words (probably given up trying to communicate with us!)

    I wonder how the lady in the story would handle a drunk Geordie? Probably like the rest of us, safely, from a distance with a cattle prod!

  8. Kevin Johnston


    As someone who lived on the Isle of Wight for a while (but not 4th generation born there so still an ovener* or pile**) I encountered an annual rally there, the 'Mallyshag Rally'. A dire warning is to avoid a 'mallyshag in yer nammit'. Apparently a mallyshag is a caterpillar and yer nammit is your lunch.

    * ovener is someone from the Mainland or whose family moved to the Island less than 4 generations ago

    ** pile - normally tourists- come in bunches, go red overnight and are a pain in the a***

  9. Richie O-Matic


    I have never in all my Glasgow dwelling life heard anyone use the words Burra or Murra and 'Furra' is wrongly used in the sentence.

    Looks like the Times are ones in need of a translator.

  10. The Indomitable Gall

    "ow bist old butt?"

    "ow bist old butt?"

    How very Germanic. "Hoe bist du?" an a that.

  11. Chimpofdoom!


    " * Wharlla stick ma wean’s buggie? - Where can I put my child's pushchair?

    * A haufanahauf anpronto - Give me a dram of whisky and a half-pint chaser, and make it snappy

    * Geeza punna burra furrra murra - Give me a pound of butter for my mother"

    Are pure tripe.. I'd associate that more with newcastle than Glasgow.

    Wait until she goes to Aberdeen and they speak about Quines and Lunies...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Whenever my parents come and visit me in Aberdeen I have to act as translator between doric and brummie.

  13. martin burns

    Parliamo Glasgow?


    (Is that a young lady, or a male university student?)

    Ah Stanley, we miss ye so we dae.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    D'ye Hae a Hoo and a Poo?

    I can quite understand the bafflement at the Glaswegian accent/dialect if the experiences of Bill Bryson are anything to go by, as illustrated by this short and very amusing extract from Notes From A Small Island:

  15. Andrew 75

    "punna burra furra murra"


  16. Anonymous Coward

    That's a pile of mince by the way

    As James said, I reckon the Times has been reading a Stanley Baxter "joke" book. I've lived in Glasgow (having migrated from the North East of Scotland) for over 10 years and that kind of chat is only ever heard/seen on novelty car bumper stickers "watchooterrapolis" etc, etc

    As some before me have pointed out, up North is way, way more impenetrable - Aberdeen University actually runs a course in Doric, the local dialect.

    @Steve Evens - was the word for chewing gum "chuggie"?

  17. dunncha

    cross reference - region Accents

    Newcastle broon gan doown the toon

  18. derek anderson
    Paris Hilton

    To Steve Evans

    "Only this weekend it was a word for chewing gum, which we all chuckled about and promptly all forgot."

    Would it have been "chuggy" by any chance?

    And Paris because she is also rubbery and devoid of taste the next morning.


  19. Wize

    Geeza punna burra furrra murra

    Other than the likes of Francie and Josey, you wont get anyone talking like that. Although the butter one sounds more like 'for tomorrow' than 'for my mother'

    You want to find a hard to understand accent, head to Somerset where all the 'S's turn to 'Z's

  20. Tom yng Nghymru

    Ow bist old butt

    As a Bristolian now living in Wales I can confidently say "As a Bristolian now living in Wales!" is just a combination of Bristolian (Ow bist) and Welsh (Butt). Considering the location, it makes sense.

  21. Bassey

    It's not the accent

    It's not so much the accent as the use of entirely different words. The first time my brother brought round his Glaswegian (soon to be) wife and we asked if she'd like a drink we got very confused by;

    "Aye, I'll just have some dilu'in juice if you have some".

    Apparently, dilu'tin juice is "Diluting Juice" and means "Cordial" of some description.

    Spent a lot of time in Glasgow but that was a first on me.

  22. Ministry of Truth


    Wait til she gets to The Black Country... ;)

  23. Mike Smith
    Thumb Up


    You'm roight. Erm bain nothing noice boud Zumerzet aacent! Oi'll 'ave ee know that oi was borrrn in Edinbruh and growed up down Zumerzet. They all talked roight weird, but they aaal zed oi ad roight vunny wurds.

    Moi old dad din zay a wurd boud id, but e never zed whaat "teuchter" meant undil we leffft. Oi think it was too clowse to the boan, moizelf.

    Translation for those fortunate enough not to hail from Deliverance County:

    You're right. There's nothing to like about the Somerset accent. I was born in Edinburgh and grew up in Somerset. They all sounded strange but they said my speech was odd.

    My father never mentioned id, but he did avoid telling me what a teuchter was until we moved away. I think it was too close the bone, myself.

    We need a Worzel Gummidge icon.

  24. Andy Livingstone


    What do you mean "our Scottish cousins". Are those of us North of the Border not considered part of the Register's family?

    Seen in a Pinner newspaper. "Chester Draws for sale" Easy enough, but on sale in Deptford was a "Pestal tail".

    It's all in the listening - wherever you are in this wonderful country.....innit.

  25. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Parliamo Glasgow was intended as a pisstake

    It's not the way we actually speak.

    Burra for butter, misses out the glotta stop, so that butter is actually pronounced as "Bu'ter"

    If you see what the woman was asking about, it had a lot to do with idiom, and less to do with accent.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Haw, Lester

    yir bum's oot ra windae, so it is. Haud yir wheescht, ya bam, ye just dinnae get it, dae ye? You any good at sewin'? See, nae tother a ba'.

    Oh, an'd yir patter's like toothpaste, it comes fae a tube. See, we're a really welcoming bunch when you get to know us - the razor has long since fallen out of fashion;).

    Oh, and I reckon someone above is correct that the "punna burra furra murra" is a mistranslation. A automatic fail in one's GSCE Glaswegian I'm afraid. The phrase was more likley "Seez a punna burra furra morra". As in "Please give me a pound of butter for tomorrow."

  27. HFoster
    Paris Hilton

    F'like 'en?

    I remember my first day in Aberdeen as a student. I got lost on Union Street (if you're pissing yourself laughing, you know how ridiculous a concept that is) and asked a couple of (admittedly, rather dim-looking) locals for directions back to halls.

    Long story short, it's 8 years later and I STILL have no fucking idea what they were saying.

    Paris because, unlike the coarsest of Aberdeen accents, she has proven herself easily penitrable. Time and again.

  28. Phil T. Tip
    Thumb Up

    @ Steve Evans

    Wis it 'chungie' by any chance?


  29. Matt D 3
    Black Helicopters


    Are you saying that you have been lost on Union Street in Aberdeen for eight years?

    Send out the search and rescue.

  30. kasparator

    'tis rubbish

    I'm a Latvian which is like a Lithuanian, only better which instantly makes me an expert on the matter (any matter that is) and I can confidently say - bring on the Glaswegian accent. In fact - take every mouth-breathing vowel-dropping innit'ing moron and re-educate them by forcing them to watch Trainspotting until they can speak Glaswegian. Win/win.

  31. Jim Morrow
    Paris Hilton

    Re: 'tis rubbish

    kasparator says "re-educate them by forcing them to watch Trainspotting until they can speak Glaswegian."

    Good plan. This will take forever. Trainspotting was set in Edinburgh. The people there don't speak Glaswegian.

    Paris icon 'cos she knows a thing or two about using tongues.

  32. Marvin the Martian

    On holiday in Lanark?

    Someone in her booking department must hate her, surely.

  33. martin burns



    Yow knaw the deeferince between a Beermingum achsent an' a Black Coontroi one, roight? In Beermingum, they soi "Oi'm gooin ower theer" but in tha Black Coontroi, they soi "Kin *Oi* coom?"

    (Mr Lenny Henry, thangyewverrymuch)

  34. martin burns


    Watching Trainspotting won't help ye with the Glasgwegian, as it's Embra-set

    (actually, the film probably will, as it only has the *mildest* of accents, and many of them more west coast than east. For a more representative Embra accent, you need to *read* Trainspotting, likesay)

  35. martin burns

    Multilingual Glasgow

    The funny thing is that Glasgow has quite enough translators - so much so that IBM has a 25 language outsourcing contact centre on its doorstep (Greenock).

  36. martin burns



    Probably at the world heritage site at *New* Lanark

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lanark is not Glasgow.

    ... and I can assure you that Glaswegian (or Weegie) and the Lanarkshire Dialect are two completely different animals. Lanark is after all 30 miles from Glasgow. Infact, in Lanarkshire, which stretches from Harthope in the south to Carron Bridge in the north (a distance of around 60 miles), the people of one area struggle to understand the others. I live in Wishaw, which is about midway across the county, and I genuinely struggle to understand some people from Kilsyth, which is in the north.

    As Lanarkshire is placed midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh (Lanark especially), it takes a selection of both to make its own unique local twang.

    Although, I do agree one thing, and I say this as someone who was born there (as it was where the hospital was) and works there. The good citizens of Lanark are usually incomprehensible due to either their low selection of genes, heroine addictions or love of Buckfast wine.

    "Gonnae gie us a pound mate, so ah can get the bus tae Hamilton tae see ma bairn, ken? Cos ah wiz it the soshal an they'll no gie us f**k aw, cos they sed ah need tae fun a joab!"

    I doubt the Sherrif of Lanark was murdered by William Wallace, he probably commited suicide after realising he could never match him linguistically.

  38. Saucerhead Tharpe

    William Wallace was from Elderslie, not Lanark

    And you wouldn't tell someone from Elderslie they were from Lanark.

    And as a Glaswegian who was born with the cartilage in my nose buckled so I can't breath through my nose, what is with this hate of folk breathing through their mouth?

  39. J 3

    I wouldn't be surprised

    As a Brazilian living in the US for 7 years, I wouldn't be surprised if the lady's experience was real.

    I've met two Scottish guys here. One of them I could understand fairly well, although sometimes I needed to ask him to repeat things he said (I don't know exactly what part of Scotland he is from). The other guy though, I know he is from Glasgow. I could get one quarter of the words he said, at the best of times. Terrible accent. With time, it improved a little, maybe to a third of words in the first hearing.

    So, maybe to you British and other native speakers of English it's not so much of a problem to understand that particular Glasgow fellow. But for *people who need interpreter/translators* (which is the whole point of the original situation, piss taking asides) it sure can be.

  40. Dave Bell

    It's different from up here.

    Some of you people seem to have been brought up south of Watling Street.

    It still makes a difference, but Glasgow? I blame the Norwegians.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuxake Man

    Al tell ye witman, ama pure weedgie, awe ma days,

    In we hink evri c**t else sounds lik a total fanny.

    Fur speakin it, ri main trick is no 'A' move yer lips much, awe r neds huv masterd it in kin noo communicate wi jist youzin vowels in a honful a consinints, ye want tae hear it oan 'i' sixtae too intae ratoon, ur, is ye wok by r crowds a methodonians, waitin oan 'i' chemist tae open.

    a-hink al send ma Curriculum Vitae noo, an by ri wiy, maist 'A' is uv goat ri ability tae make wurselves understood wen we want.... awright, wee man.

  42. Mr Larrington


    Sit 'em down with a big stack of early "Taggart" DVDs. In one week they'll be able to say "murrrrrrrrdah" with the best of them.

  43. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Stanley Baxter

    Stanley Baxter is still with us, you know.

    I hope so. Ian Wallace popped off the other day. 90, they said. Well done.

    And no, he isn't the only writer to have used Glasgow speech, or to have used high language to describe low doings as a comic mode. There are many well done local efforts in drama and comedy. Did you know Billy Connolly was from Glasgow? Well he is.

  44. Andy Livingstone

    Full circle

    Surely the comments about Taggart and Billy Connolly rather bring us back to the original point about translations.?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    @Fuxake Man

    "is ye wok by r crowds a methodonians, waitin oan 'i' chemist tae open" hahaha, love it :D

  46. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    I've been to Glasgow and Newcastle. Never had a problem. Now I couldn't say the same about Manchester. Actually the latest addition to the staff here is Mancunian. Even after a few month I'm still answering "Huh-huh" in the most neutral way possible sometimes, hoping that it'll fit (granted, I don't interact much with him anyway, which could explain the delay, but still, we could use a translator...)

This topic is closed for new posts.