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Parliamo Glesga – can you speak Glaswegian?

A translation firm is looking for speakers who can understand the dialect of people in Scotland’s largest city.

Parliamo Glesga – can you speak Glaswegian?

A translation company seeking Glaswegian interpreters said on Wednesday that it had been swamped with applications.

Today Translations is looking for people who understand the Glasgow accent and can translate it for puzzled visitors to the city. Successful candidates will provide services such as interpreting during business meetings and on conference calls.

But this is no Stanley Baxter sketch. The company has had 80 applications since it placed an advertisement in a newspaper. The advert calls for "speakers of Glaswegian English with knowledge of vocabulary, accent, nuances, to meet interpreting needs of clients who find it an unexpected challenge".

Mick Thorburn, spokesman for Today Translations, said they decided to offer the service in response to requests from clients.

He said: "In the last couple of months we've had people asking if we have a service for Glaswegian.

"Probably what's driving it is that Glasgow is becoming a big business centre these days, and the Commonwealth Games are going to be held there."

The interpreters will be employed on a freelance basis and could earn up to £140 a day. Mr Thorburn said that if the service is a success it could be expanded into other UK cities with notoriously difficult accents.

Dr Jane Stuart-Smith, a Reader in English Language at the University of Glasgow, specialises in the Glasgow accent. She said it can be hard to understand both for native English speakers and foreigners.

She said: "The Glaswegian accent has a range of varieties, ranging from those close to standard English to those that are much closer to Scots, so the broad varieties of Glaswegian which are linguistically and structurally more different from standard English you would expect people to find harder to understand.

"Non-native English speakers or southern English people who are used to standard English or American find the sound system of Glaswegian different and these differences mean it will be difficult to understand.

"We have overseas students coming to the university who have not had any experience of Scottish English but have been taught received pronunciation. For the first few weeks you can see them getting used to it, but they adapt very quickly."

See more of Stanley Baxter's Parliamo Glasgow
 

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