Language, attitudes and cultural difference

I’m writing up our November 2014 event report on engineering and elderly people which we had transcribed overseas. Some notable transcription errors, which I do confess gave me a chuckle, are evidence of significant cultural differences:

  • vulnerable transcribed as venerable
  • terrace (as in terraced house) transcribed as terrorist

It is telling when one thinks, however, that here in the UK, it is most unlikely that anyone would substitute venerable for vulnerable especially in the context of an elderly or ageing person; As Bridget Strong of AgeUK Sheffield observed at our event in November 2014,

“While some societies respect elderly people for their wisdom and experience, the situation in our society is that older people are stigmatized for: living longer; having serious health conditions; bankruptcy from pension funds; an inability to contribute for a good quality of life.”

Another equally sad reflection of our times is that terrorism is now a major global issue that the transcriber misheard “terrace” and instead typed terrorist.

About actionforinvolvment

We're an independent think tank, founded in 2006 to bring people in our communities together with policymakers and stakeholders. We create space often in a workshop format to pool ideas, develop networks and tackle hot topics. Since 2009, we’ve focused on the sustainability agenda such as: climate change, energy, housing, technology, transport with interest in:education, health, welfare, regulation and enforcement. Our latest project is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Grant and our next event on 27th June 2013 includes George Monbiot with other high level environmental policy makers.
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