A reasonable point of view

15Wrz10

Michael Dembinski – a reasonable man

I cannot resist a challenge and Michael Dembinski sets three delicious ones in his latest post on W-wa Jeziorki. What is the Polish for ‚guidelines’, ‚reasonable’ and ‚discretion’?

The first one is easy. It is ‚wskazówki’. Wskazówki can be physical like the hands on the watch, but they can also be abstract, in which case – depending on context – we are talking about hints, tips or guidelines.

One-love to me and two more words to go. ‚Reasonable’ as in ‚reasonable wear and tear’. Crikey, not so easy. Google translates the latter as ‚racjonalne zużycie’. Ho, ho, ho! ‚Zużycia na skutek normalnego użytkowania’ is as close as I can get to ‚reasonable wear and tear’, but I only got there by by-passing ‚reasonable’ altogether.

One-all. ‚Discretion’. OMG, that’s cheating Michael! You know on the basis of hundreds of dealings with railway ticket inspectors, local government officials and shop assistants that after 6 years of foreign occupation and 44 years of communist rule there is no discretion left in Poland and words like ’empowerment’ fall on stony ground. Game set and match to Dembinski.

A final word from Michael, The law of the land is couched in the language of the land. If that language does not convey trust, how can the law? I will be taking another look at the question of language, trust and betrayal in my next post.

W-wa Jeziorki: What’s the Polish for ‚guidelines’?



2 Responses to “A reasonable point of view”

  1. 1 adthelad

    Have to say I disagree slightly.

    For ‚guidelines’, as with most things in Poland, it all depends on context. You wouldn’t say for general guidelines ‚według ogólnych wskazówek’ or ‚ogólnych wytycznych’ for example but you would say ‚według ogólnych zasad’.

    For ‚reasonable use’ you might chose ‚sensownego’, ‚bezprzesadnego’ or ‚umiarkowanego’, again depends on context. Reasonable wear and tear is more difficult and I like your compromise, but would suggest ‚zuzycie w ramach normalnego użytkowania’ which gives some leaway with regard to perception of the frequency of use.

    As for discretion, that’s more straight forward if the example is at ones own discretion – ‚według własnego uznania’.

    Regards,
    a

    • 2 Szczurek

      You wouldn’t say for general guidelines ‘według ogólnych wskazówek’ or ‘ogólnych wytycznych’ for example but you would say ‘według ogólnych zasad’.

      I have to disagree. There’s a huge gulf between the meaning of ‚zasada’ – a basic or underlying principle that cannot be ignored and ‚guideline’ – a recommended or suggested way of tackling something, which does not preclude that there may other equally valid ways of achieving the same object.

      Reasonable wear and tear is more difficult and I like your compromise, but would suggest ‘zuzycie w ramach normalnego użytkowania’.

      I like your ‘zuzycie w ramach normalnego użytkowania’ although like my own suggestion it skirts round rhe problem of reasonableness. However, ‚zużycie’ is singular and qualifies a single thing being used up (e.g. fuel or oxygen) whereas wear and tear usually takes places in several places at once and therefore the plural ‚zużycia’ seems more appropriate.

      As for discretion, that’s more straight forward if the example is at ones own discretion – ‘według własnego uznania’.

      Yes, of course, ‘według własnego uznania’ is a very neat solution. There’s only one problem – few Polish bosses would know when matters should be left to the discretion of their employees.


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