Swenglish Megafail

18 Jun

Yesterday the world was exposed to the awesome power of Swenglish.

Swenglish is what happens when Swedish people decide that they can translate phrases and concepts directly into English without the hassle of getting hold of, for example, a professional translator.

Unfortunately the Swede in question was the Chairman of BP, Carl-Henric Svanberg. And the phrase he decided to translate on the fly was “den lilla människan” which means basically “the average person”.

However, as the world knows, it came out as “small people” which means something quite different in English. This phrase is okay to use in Swedish since, as we know, there are no classes in Swedish society, and nobody is better than anybody else. But in English… well, you get it. Not a smart thing to say, especially when you are spilling twenty thousand plus barrels of oil per day into the ocean of these aforementioned small people.

Seriously, who decided that this gobshite would face the American press with his shaky English? The Americans, as we know, are not the best people for understanding European accents (especially bad ones). And their tolerance for BP is already wearing very thin, as it should.

Why do so many Swedes, I wonder, assume that their own English is top-notch and refuse to get it checked or translated by a professional? Swedes have very good English, true, but the majority assume that their English is quite a bit better than it actually is. And this leads not only to badly worded English advertisements in many of Sweden’s newspapers, but also to multi-billion dollar screw-ups like this one.

Still, the avalanche of “small people” related humour all over the web has been brilliant. And it’s always nice to see a big man broken down and turned into a laughing-stock. Especially this cunt and his fucking company, may they be dismantled, spat upon and ground into dust.

And, with that thought, my dear readers, have a good weekend.

/ paddy (probably smaller than most people)


Posted by on June 18, 2010 in Media, Sweden


19 responses to “Swenglish Megafail

  1. Daniel R

    June 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Maybe Carl-Henrik just has a thing for small people?

    Be that as it may, rarely have I gotten this much entertainment out of a career ending event. Or an oil spill.
    Give the man some credit!

    • paddyK

      June 21, 2010 at 9:29 am

      They should have leprechauns as their new mascot. Real small people!

  2. Ben Warsop

    June 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Always a delight to read a good rant with really bad language at work on a Friday afternoon. It kicks the weekend off to a good start, somehow. :-)

    I loved the post about Maccy Ds too, though I didn’t say so. Scary baby-clown photo…. Arrrggghh! Scary Swedish business man, for that matter….. Eeeeeppp!

    Actually, there’s a clear link between the two: the average American is anything but small….


    • paddyK

      June 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

      It wasn’t REALLY bad language, just slightly bad. One day I’ll do some proper bad language.

      • Ben Warsop

        June 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

        Oh… worse than the c-word?

        *waits excitedly for Paddy’s next rant*

      • paddyK

        June 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

        I might even do some Swedish swears. Like “Devil”. And maybe “Devil”. And possibly even “Devil Shitboot”.

  3. Kaia

    June 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Ha. I heard people talk about the little people comment, but I didn’t realise that it was a case of the Swenglish. That explains a lot, actually.

    • paddyK

      June 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Nobody in the US media mentions it, of course, since there ARE no other languages than American. Still, BP should know that, the fucking idiots.

  4. Earthpal

    June 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

    It’s not the first foot-in-mouth blunder that members of the BP fat cats team have come out with. Remember when the sensitivity-challenged what’s-his-face Hayward said he just wants his life back! They need a PR team, desperately.

    • paddyK

      June 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

      And then Hayward goes off on a yacht trip. Are the rich and powerful thick, or just stupid?

  5. Wynn

    June 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    That’s funny! :D

    • paddyK

      June 21, 2010 at 9:34 am

      Funny ha-ha or funny-weird…?

  6. csrster

    June 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

    And I thought this was going to be about your charming new Prince and his big wedding speech, what with you being such a big royalist and all.

    The Now Show on BBC Radio 4 have a good bit about BP and Evil-Genius-Mastermind Carl-Henric Svanberg this week, if you haven’t checked it out already.

    • paddyK

      June 21, 2010 at 9:35 am

      Ah yes, the Plastic Prince. Perhaps in a future rant. I’m just glad they got him to keep his glasses on, as he looks like a serial killer without them.

      • csrster

        June 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

        He does look a bit like an escapee from Thunderbirds.

  7. Martin R

    June 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Hey, I like your new masthead! Hunky!

    • paddyK

      June 22, 2010 at 10:10 am

      Was a birthday present from a web-designing babe of my acquaintance. ;)

  8. Wicked Shawn

    July 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    You truly must love the top guys at BP. They are proving themselves to be lovely targets upon whose head to place the blame. Seriously, it is easy for even a population as slow as we “small people” here in America can see the idiocy of this group.

    • paddyK

      July 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      But unfortunately they will just get fired, draw a fat pension and have nothing more to so with it. Sons of bitches.


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