Poor air quality

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eduard85

Senior Member
Español
Hello,

I am trying to translate the word Poor (referred to the air quality) into Polish and I am not sure if my choice is right or accurate enough.

Below is the full air quality index so you can see it in context:

Good = Dobry
Moderate = Umiarkowany
Poor = Niewystarczający
Bad = Zły
Very bad = Bardzo zły
Hazardous = Niebezpieczny

Thank you!
 
  • zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    'Niewstarczający' doesn't work in that context. 'Dostateczny' kind of fits in that grade index, yet it is higher in quality than the English 'poor'. I guess 'słaby' is the equivalant of 'poor'.
     

    eduard85

    Senior Member
    Español
    Thank you for your quick reply.

    So the index would be as follows:

    Dobry
    Umiarkowany
    Dostateczny
    Zły
    Bardzo zły
    Niebezpieczny

    I do not care if it doesn't match the English translation 100% as long as it makes sense in Polish.
     

    eduard85

    Senior Member
    Español
    Dostateczny is the best option that I have seen so far, so I believe I will stick with it. Thank you.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    What specific message you want to convey - especially with regards to the actual quality of the air?

    "Dostateczny", albeit often used in such scales indeed, has a meaning of "barely positive" (often in between of 'niedostateczny' - 'negative, insufficient' and "dobry" - "good". I'm not a native English speaker, so I'm not that sensitive to nuances, but if "poor" in this context means 'not good, but it shouldn't actually harm you' then "dostateczny" may indeed be a good choice. However if it should say "not poisonous, but you shouldn't breathe it for too long", perhaps a more alerting word should be used.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    What specific message you want to convey - especially with regards to the actual quality of the air?

    "Dostateczny", albeit often used in such scales indeed, has a meaning of "barely positive" (often in between of 'niedostateczny' - 'negative, insufficient' and "dobry" - "good". I'm not a native English speaker, so I'm not that sensitive to nuances, but if "poor" in this context means 'not good, but it shouldn't actually harm you' then "dostateczny" may indeed be a good choice. However if it should say "not poisonous, but you shouldn't breathe it for too long", perhaps a more alerting word should be used.
    Poor in this context means "not complying with norms, but it will not harm you", so I don't think that "dostateczny" fits here. Dostateczny means acceptable, sufficient. Niewystarczający is much better here, even if it is not widely used.
     

    yezyk

    Member
    Polish
    "Kiepskawy" ; ) (This is a joke!)

    The most honest and appropriate would simply be "słaby". That is also what we would most likely say to each other in a casual conversation. But in a formal message, it does not sound politically correct enough : ) That is why they use "dostateczny". That term had already been applied to poor school grades, for similar reasons. "Dostateczny" means "It won't kill you" ; ), just like "Dostateczna ocena" meant "Well, you will pass" (that was when there were grades 2, 3, 4, 5; when they added 1, "dostateczna" was automatically elevated in status because "2" took its role as the last before the worst grade and was called "mierna", which, incidentally, could be a great choice for this lousy air quality – but it is not used in the air quality contexts).
     
    Last edited:

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "Kiepskawy" ; ) (This is a joke!)

    The most honest and appropriate would simply be "słaby". That is also what we would most likely say to each other in a casual conversation. But in a formal message, it does not sound politically correct enough : ) That is why they use "dostateczny". That term had already been applied to poor school grades, for similar reasons. "Dostateczny" means "It won't kill you" ; ), just like "Dostateczna ocena" meant "Well, you will pass" (that was when there were grades 2, 3, 4, 5; when they added 1, "dostateczna" was automatically elevated in status because "2" took its role as the last before the worst grade and was called "mierna", which, incidentally, could be a great choice for this lousy air quality – but it is not used in the air quality contexts).
    This comment is not very relevant for the original question. The term "słaby" shouldn't be used in this case, not because it is "politically incorrect", but because it is inappropriate. "Słaby" is not a adjective describing quality, but strength. It is used in chemistry (słaby roztwór) and in mechanics (słabe złącze). Technical language has its own rules which are different from casual speech.
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, even niewystarczająca jakość powietrza would sound pretty awful. ;)

    No bo niewystarczająca do czego? Nawet fatalnym powietrzem da się oddychać, tylko to się potem odbija na zdrowiu.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There is a confusion here. I did not advocate the use of "niewystarczający" as a final translation, i only stated that the original proposal was better than the following one. You are shooting at a wrong target, sorry.
     
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