Diary: Bumbling through language barriers

Peter Gavan, National Grid corporate affairs director, found his name was worse than mud on a recent visit to Kazakstan.

Peter Gavan, National Grid corporate affairs director, found his

name was worse than mud on a recent visit to Kazakstan.



Gavan, who was in Kazakstan as part of National Grid’s efforts to

negotiate transmission rights in the republic, hit problems when he met

deputy prime minister Akhmetzhan Yesimov.



Gavan explains: ’In the middle of the introductions, my interpreter

suddenly became very embarrassed. Out of the corner of my eye, I could

see some people reacting strangely but I had no idea what the problem

was.’



It was only later that Gavan discovered that, in Kazakstan, the phonetic

translation of his name is ’Mr Shithole’.



Philosophically, Gavan - as we like to call him - says: ’I suppose it’s

a variation on being called a spin doctor.’



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