English (UK)

Facebook wants to know if I speak “English (UK)”.

Facebook: Hello Daniel, do you speak English (UK)

And they want to know if I want to be an interpreter for them.

You what? What a strange question.

Since when do non-US-English speakers need to have translations from the Americans?

Anyway, why isn’t it asking me if I speak English (AU) ?

And if Facebook’s revenue was USD 300 million last year and they’re worth an estimated USD 15 billion, can’t they afford their own translators?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “English (UK)”

The first translation request they gave me was ‘can of whoop ass’, so I changed it to ‘can of whoop arse’!

It’s not detecting English (AU) because your browser is set to English (UK). Probably at some point (such as downloading Firefox) you were given the choice between US and UK and you picked the latter. Australian English doesn’t often variate from the Queen’s English enough to merit support as it’s own ‘language’. The real question is whether you can get your browser to accept that you’re writing in English (AU) somehow and then translate Facebook into that.

In reality, it’s bad coding. This is a great interface for getting people to translate Facebook into their own language.. but if you actually volunteer to translate it into English (UK), you’ll find that, of course, it’s already done and they don’t really need your help.

Some Americans cannot understand non-American TV shows such as Life on Mars, Kath and Kim as well as Neighbours. In response to this inward-looking insularity, the folks in Hollywood have bravely ‘plagiarised’ the idea so Americans can digest the shows in question; without harm from their delicate, superficial stomachs.

Having said that, I’m an American and am liable to be shot for my unpatriotic gesture.

PlatiNumEuro: And you used one of them!

Philip: heh!

Alexio, yeah, I don’t think there is an AU-English version of Firefox. It’s still an odd thing to ask though.

Reuben, I deliberately didn’t comment on the ability of Americans to understand other variants of English. But most Australians have had enough exposure to culture from other English-speaking countries that it’s no problem here.

That is correct, from what I know anecdotally.

Don’t be afraid to criticise vast quantities of humanity. I do it all the time….probably why I’ve been banned from the land of the Acorn-hatted, dress wearing men. ;)

I heard that “Trainspotting” was shown in America with -subtitles- …

Being Scottish, I find that very amusing!

If Trainspotting was shown in the States with subtitles did they still beep out every f-bomb, making the whole movie sound like one long high c? Come to think of it, given the rules of US broadcasting, did they change the text in the subtitles to avoid ‘rude words’ – “Please be so kind as to pass the syringe, dear man, and do hurry up about it” ?!?

Films shown in movie theaters and cable stations (such as HBO) are not beeped in the US, only those on normal broadcast tv. While spoken English might sometimes not be understood generally most written English is. Not only is the spelling different but sometimes words and sentence structure differ too. It is very easy for me to distinguish something written in British English even without different spellings present.
Most Americans have never heard of or used the word “cistern”. This is a “toilet tank” in the US. If “flushing cistern” is said Americans will probably understand what is meant by context and wonder at the strange choice of words.

Spoken English in Australia is sometimes quite different than American English and requires some thought as to what the other person wants. Last week someone came to the back door of where I work and asked if someone could “shift the truck”. I had to think about what he was asking. He wanted the truck “moved” as it was blocking the alley way behind the building. My first thought was “can someone use the gearshift to shift gears?” as this is what this means in American English. In the USA you would hear “can someone move the truck?”. “Shift the trolleys” would mean “move the racks” in a bakery in American English.

An American would not recognise the word “cistern” for a small water container (toilet), it is used for a LARGE water container here in North America. For instance you can have a Rain Cistern,an Irrigation cistern, etc.
See Wikipedia:

J from Canada

To Konrad – No, but they did provide subtitles in some scenes, so that they could understand what they were saying. (I always found this funny, since I can understand them. Mind you, I am from Edinburgh myself.)

Comments are closed.