Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
Translating names of professions is surprisingly tricky, maybe due to the mixture of Slavic-origin and Latin/Greek-derived words which are used in Slovak, and the way they are understood. Hutníci could be workers in a smelting-works, usually making iron and steel, but they could also be college (university) graduates with a more theoretical grounding, then they are metallurgists (say /MET-lődžist/). When USSK employees are called hutníci though, they are steelmakers. Another tricky one is ekonóm, NOT usually an economist in English. Economists are experts in economics who are interviewed on TV, analyzing and explaining the state economy or advising the government on its economic policy. People who work for commercial companies dealing with money have specific job titles like “accounts assistant” or “finance manager”.
School, college or university? The best answer (to be on the safe side) is: school is up to the age of 19, and anything after that is college or university, except for language school and evening school. So nursery, primary, basic, elementary, secondary, grammar or high are all kinds of schools. Students at UPJŠ, TUKE, Cambridge and MIT do not “go to school” any more, because those are institutions of higher education, so they “go to college”. In this sense, saying “college” is less formal and “university” sounds more official. There are HE institutions named “schools”, like the London School of Economics or Harvard Law School, just as some colleges were named výsoká škola in Slovak. Unfortunately due to literal translations into English or German, that name is not considered “high enough” nowadays.