Clumsy attempts at conversion from British to American English or vice versa

Reading the new Robert Galbraith book Lethal White in the (American) Kindle edition, near the beginning of Part 2 Chapter 56 (yeah, it’s a long book). Two background characters are described as sitting in a room “playing drafts”.

No, if they were playing “draughts” in the original British English, they’d be playing “checkers” in American English. Stupid autotranslate software, and stupid copyeditor relying on it.

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone. A little insulting to US audiences, ruins the object to boot.

It invents a new game though, trying to irk your opponent by opening the window a little bit or leaving the door ajar, without his noticing how you’ve done it. :slight_smile:

FYI, that word in British English is spelled the same way as the name of the game.

Just sayin’.

Or claiming that your move was only a first attempt that you’ll improve later. Or one the government compelled you to make.

Also known in Spanish as “being a cat” (cats don’t close doors and act as if doors are there merely to be a bother).

I’ve seen this both in translation and in trans-national adaptations. A temperature that’s given as an approximate round number gets a change of unit which magically produces an exact number; the adapted number may even have a decimal.

I see this constantly when measurements are mindlessly converted between American or imperial and metric. Sometimes the effect is hilarious: “That shark was easily at least 20 feet long (6.096 meters),” the witness excitedly reported. “It must have weighed at least a ton (907.1847 kg).” *

  • “So I said, ‘you’re gonna need a bigger boat (18.452 meters)’.”

My oldest daughter is a draughts-person, she insists she’s not a draftsman. It’s a matter of principle, to her. Hear her roar.

That’s supposedly how we ended up with exactly 98.6 °F as the temperature of the human body.

And 36.6. :smiley:

The Daily Telegraph once quoted Elizabeth Taylor as saying “I feel like a million dollars (£532,000)”.

Heh, I was going to post this in the “vote for which dialect you like better” but:

When I was on National Rail going toward Reading, the ticket taker, after taking each person’s ticket, said “Cheers! Thank you!” Now I know that “Thank you” is perfectly understood in Britain but it did sound like he was trying to say the same thing in both dialects.

Yep, I hadn’t read the books when I went to see the movie and when the “sorceror’s stone” was described I was like “well, why didn’t they tell me it was the Philosopher’s Stone? How stupid and lowbrow do they think I am anyway? And the Sorceror’s Stone doesn’t mean anything to me!” I must confess that I saw a few of the other movies but that was because I had a young sister at the time so the most you can say is that it did not make me hate it enough to refuse to go with her. I didn’t read the books or see the rest of the movies by myself because I figured the series was not made for me.

I recall it being discussed here that a Canadian newspaper or magazine had once published a story about a politician wearing a ten-gallon hat, except it actually said he was wearing a 45 litre hat. Seriously?

ETA: What numbskull editor changed that?

Ludovic, that was my exact reaction when I got to that part in the book.

And I once saw a dent described as being “50.80 by 25.40 mm”.

I know, but in American the game meaning doesn’t exist, so the game is never printed “drafts” AFAIK. “Drafts” as an American noun can only mean “indoor breezes” or “preliminary versions”. (Or “personnel intake efforts by different organizations, or by the same organization at different times”, but that wouldn’t come up as often.)

In Britain, could people once be “draughted” into the military?

A legitimate question; I am not being facetious.

I hope someone answers that knows, because I don’t have a clue.

I think perhaps “conscripted” was the word that would have been used; however, I don’t even know if draft/conscription/whatever was part of British life, because I never tried to find out.

I would go with “conscription” too.

It was a big thing in the UK. Especially in the sketchy “press ganging” form, which was a cause for the War of 1812, where British-born Americans were forced to join the Royal Navy through unethical means.