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For hire: ‘Glaswegian’ interpreter

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Steve Chiotakis: From the help-wanted department: A translation firm in Britain is looking to hire people with a specific linguistic skill. Fluency in “Glaswegian” — the tongue spoken in the Scottish city of Glasgow. More from Marketplace’s European Correspondent Stephen Beard.


Stephen Beard: Glaswegian English has baffled visitors for years. The heavy accent alone renders it hard to follow. But add the rapid delivery and the local patois, and it’s incomprehensible to the outside world.

Take the word “toaty” for example. It means small. Or “hee haw” for nothing. Or the phrase “shoot the craw,” to leave in a hurry. Very quaint for tourists.

But Glasgow is growing as a business center. The language barrier’s becoming a problem. Jurga Zilinskiene of the London interpreting firm, Today Transatlations.

JURGA ZILINSKIENE: We’ve had some requests from our clients who are in need of some assistance when they’re holding meetings in Glasgow with local people. This is one of the reasons we advertised for Glaswegian interpreters.

Business visitors who want to go it alone in Glasgow are advised at least to take a phrasebook. And whatever you say in this famously tough city try not to invite what they call a “Glasgow Kiss”. In American English, it’s a head butt.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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