Lost In Translation?

Having moved over from Belfast for University, I’m now enjoying my 12th year of being in Glasgow. I remember when I first came over my thick Belfast twang was seldom understood. I got used to seeing the confused look remain on a persons face after the third time of saying ‘sorry what?’ after I had asked them a question. And we all know that after 3 times of not understanding someone its worth just smiling and nodding and hoping that’ll do the trick.

After getting a lot of smiling and nodding to my questions I quickly realised I had to change something if I was going to be understood in my new home city. So I slowed down a lot and changed the pronunciation of certain words, like ‘shower’ instead of ‘shar’, ‘towel’ instead of ‘tal’, and ‘roll and sausage’ instead of ‘sausage bap.’

I also managed to pick up on the Glaswegian fairly quickly too. ‘Pieces’ actually meaning the whole sandwich and not just parts of it. ‘Ginger’ being a fizzy drink and not just a hair colour or spice. ‘Gonnae and cannae’ were my personal favourites. One that took me a while to get though was when someone says ‘how?’ and they actually mean ‘why?’  I did my fair share of smiling and nodding with that one for a while if I’m honest.

At one point I realised I had maybe taken mellowing of the accent too far when I was describing an x-ray to a patient who hadn’t been in for 2 years. He said to me ‘you know something when I was last in, another dentist told me the exact same thing.’

My reply:  ‘yes that was me’

To which he said: ‘no it was an Irish guy’.

(insert embarrassed emoji face)

Just this week I had a funny debate with my two year old daughter about how to pronounce ‘water’. Apparently I say it funny so perhaps some of the Belfast twang is still holding on.

We’ve got another Irish accent at the practice now with our dentist Laura so its nice to hear the familiar tones around again.

Accents aside, dentistry can be another language in itself, however when explaining treatments we will always keep the technical jargon to an absolute minimum. We’ve even got models of what a ‘crown’, ‘bridge’, ‘implant’ etc look like so that we can help explain these options. We also have the facility to email videos of treatments over to help our patients understand the options clearly before making a decision.

If there is a language barrier we can help arrange for an interpreter to be present, though our very own Mr Chan speaks cantonese and malay too.


Have a good week everyone, or ‘catch ye’ 🙂










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s