Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
The Carnegie Way is paved with aims, goals, objectives and targets. The differences between these words are not fixed, but they give a rough idea (predstava, pomôcka) about how to use them. Aim and goal are relatively general, long-term, over-arching, abstract or subjective compared with objective and target, which are more specific, short-term, focused, objective and measurable. Aims and goals are often expressed in words, but objectives and targets (say /TÁ-git/) in figures (numbers). For example, the aim or goal of the Carnegie Way is to transform the Company, one of the objectives is to reduce costs, and the most important of the targets is Zero Injuries. An aim or goal is a principle intended to govern people's behavior generally, while an objective or target is a set destination which people can focus on reaching.
The expression “a rough idea” (hrubá predstava) made me think of something else: a “rule of thumb” (všeobecná pomôcka – say: /rúlev fam/). Thumb means palec (not prst), and when painters (artists) are painting a landscape, they often hold up one thumb (in a similar way to the “Like” sign) to get an idea of the relative size of objects in the distance, to create a convincing illusion of perspective in the picture. A rule of thumb can be useful for many things: for example, calculating the number of large beers that people in different countries can buy with their monthly pay is a rule of thumb that tells you about the comparative standard of living in those countries. Doing translations, my rule of thumb is that the English version is 12% longer than the Slovak original, due to all the small words in English.