Where does the phrase Mind the Gap come from?

The phrase is a recorded message heard on the London Underground to warn passengers of the gap between the train and the platform.

Because some platforms on the London Underground are curved, and the train carriages are straight, an unsafe gap is created when the train stops at a curved platform. The phrase “Mind the gap” was coined in around 1968 when the announcement was automated, after it had become impractical for drivers and station attendants to warn passengers in person. The chosen phrase had to be short, so that the recording could be stored easily and would fit when painted onto the platform.

During the coronation weekend of King Charles III in 2023, the message was voiced by the King himself and his wife Camilla. The King says, “My wife and I wish you and your families a wonderful coronation weekend,” followed by Camilla, who says, “Wherever you are travelling, we hope you have a safe and pleasant journey,” which is ended with the King saying “And remember, please mind the gap.” It was played throughout every railway station in the United Kingdom.

Why call the blog Mind the Gap?

Just as a wide gap between the train and the platform increases the risk for passengers boarding the tube, a wide standards gap between their English content and their business standards can increase the risks for tourism businesses welcoming English-speaking visitors.

What causes the gap?

Situations happen which can result in the widening of the standards gap, such as the misuse of machine translation, translated content evolving over time, or content being hurriedly written in-house, or written by non-native speakers.

Recently I have seen a lot of English content that has been translated by machine translation, which introduces errors, omissions, and hallucinations into the text whilst sounding impressively fluent to a non-native speaker. This significantly increases business risk if it is not reviewed and corrected by a human translator.

Solutions to minimise the gap

My mission at Ideal Words is to provide solutions to help German-speaking tourism businesses minimise the standards gap. An English content quality review is the first step to discovering whether your existing content has a standards gap. It may be that not all your translated English content is the same standard, in which case the gap can be minimised by reworking the content with the widest gaps. Your English content could just need a refresh to get it up-to-date, or it may be more effective to translate from scratch or copywrite new English content to ensure it achieves your objectives.

3 services for you:

  1. English content review service: I review your English content and produce a report showing you the standard of your existing English content with suggestions on how to bring it up to your quality standards. Find it HERE.
  2. German to English translation services: I guide you through the process of understanding what is needed and then produce a translation in line with your business standards. Find it HERE.
  3. English content refresh services: I can refresh and update your existing English content to align it with your standards. Find it HERE.

Hi! Thanks for reading!

My name is Nina Hasinski and I’m the owner and translator at Ideal Words.

I specialise in helping German-speaking tourism businesses with their English translations and copywriting projects.

If you’d like to find out more about my services and how I can help your business then contact me to discuss your ideas.

– Nina Hasinski