Newsletter May 2013

Grammar and English “found” in translation…

On the plane last week to Germany I read the FT…

start again…

On the way to Germany last week while I was reading the FT on the plane I …

start again…

I was browsing through the Financial Times on the plane to Germany last week, and came across the article “Grammar is a vital tool for any executive”. It grabbed my attention!

In my work I almost always get requests for “conversation” English, or “small talk” English: “not too much focus on grammar please”. And then, when we get to “conversing” and making “small talk”, I am graced with incorrect language and phrase usage.

The FT article confirms the need for grammar; to do a little more than just “small talk”. Grammar is important. Grammar is the SALT and pepper, the spices and the herbs, the oils and the wine – grammar is like the unseen ingredients which turn a meal, into an extraordinary fusion of flavours! Grammar, with select vocabulary, is that which turns language into a beautiful symphony of spoken sound. Grammar is that which turns everything we say into clarity – clearly constructed communication. If you’re an executive, professional or student, you need to report. You need to know about indirect and passive speech forms. That is grammar. Find the FT article here.

Do you want to join me for some grammar coaching or for a reporting seminar?

After the FT, I flipped through the pages of the Austrian Airlines in-flight magazine. A few articles needed my going over the titles/captions a second time because it just didn’t read, in English, what it should. “Osteopaths and chiropracters will be pleased” vs. “Alle Osteopathen und Chiropraktiker freuen sich” or “It gets well into the calves” vs “Das geht schön in die Wadln” and here the best “Go away calmly” vs. “Beruhigt verreisen” are just more examples of the fact that grammar and most (idiomatic) expressions cannot be translated from German (worse still Austrian) to English, word for word. I’m going to offer my translation and language training services to Austrian Airlines!

If you feel like having a go at the translation you are welcome to send them in and if you want to know what they should be, contact me! Language is so much more than just words – and a whole lot of fun!

Wishing everyone a beautiful month of May!

As always,



Explanation: To “know your shit” is the colloquial way of saying you’re an expert – you know what you’re doing, saying and talking about. The other is knowing you’re not and it is time you contact us at SALT for some grammar coaching and a reporting seminar!