Former Dutch prime minister Joop den Uyl (see picture) once said: ‘The Dutch are a nation of undertakers’. The Dutch verb ‘ondernemen’ literally translates to ‘undertake’ (onder = under, nemen = take). However, in English undertaker of course refers to a gravedigger. Another example: former Dutch prime minister Gerbrandy once had a meeting with Churchill in London. Gerbrandy entered the room and shook Churchill's hand, saying: "Goodbye!" Churchill responded: "This is the shortest meeting I have ever had." Gerbrandy had looked up the English translation of 'Goedendag', which in Dutch can be used both as a greeting and a good-bye.

Embarrassing consequences

When speaking different languages, mistranslations quite often turn out to cause hilarious effect. ‘Dunglish’ is the name given to the common mistakes Dutch people tend to make when speaking English. This often has confusing or embarrassing consequences. Especially since the ability to communicate in English is invaluable in the world today. English has become the major language of nowadays international business and it is common for people living in for example the Netherlands to spend their entire working day speaking English and upon returning home speaking their native language again. So learning proper and correct English can save embarrassment and confusion and has big advantages both socially and professionally.

Write the talk

International business nowadays is conducted mainly in English. Which means that the demand for understandable communications both amongst organisations and between colleagues within individual companies has never been higher. The biggest names in the world, even native Dutch companies like Philips and Friesland Campina, conduct the majority of their operations in English and constantly more and more companies are following suit. As previously stated, English is quickly becoming not just another language, but a basic skill needed in the workforce of international companies. Companies like for instance CGI often deploy newsletters in English in order to communicate and collaborate effectively with clients, partners and coworkers all around the globe. That’s exactly why our editorial expertise and copywriting skills are also available in English. We write the talk!