Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
Sociálni partneri. Back in March I wrote about the difference between sociálne and spoločenské in Slovak, and how both are expressed as “social” in English. This makes translating sociálni partneri especially tricky, because both words look pretty much like English, so why shouldn’t they be translated as “social partners”? I’m not saying that this expression doesn’t exist in English, and I would expect English speakers who are familiar with the context of cooperation between employer, employee and government representatives to understand what “social partnership” refers to. I’m just not so sure that ordinary British people would immediately understand, because it’s not specific or explicit enough, and they’re not familiar with it.
More on “social partners”. In fact, browsing the internet for examples of use of this expression, I found that most of them come from the EU, some from the USA, but almost none from the UK. A common British expression is “the two sides of industry”, which is typically confrontational, characteristically “us and them”, in contrast to the idea of partners. But there’s another issue stemming from a fundamental diifference in usage between Slovak and English. Certain expressions used in Slovak are more “collective” in meaning compared to English words, which tend to be more specific and explicit. So long as you know that sociálni partneri means management, unions and government, the Slovak expression includes them all, so it’s short, efficient and economical (úsporný).