We all have embarrassing moments, I think I may have more than most. I make a lot of mistakes. But sometimes those moments are inevitable.
Let me tell you a very memorable story (for me at least) relating to language barriers and a prime example of “Why literal translation isn’t always the best translation. ”
Let me set the scene, I had just arrived in Serbia. I was having a coffee on the street as in the norm. I pleasure I relish here. I am sitting with my sister-in-law and her friends. ☕
My Serbian consists of the most vulgar words and phrases I learned from my husband and his friends.
Enter the kindest Serbian soul. 👼He joins the group and we are introduced. His English is limited, but he makes a great effort.
The kind soul politely offers me a cigarette. He literally translates the question from Serbian to English. “Do you suck?”❓ 😱
My mind reels!!! What does he mean? Why would he ask me that? What do I look like? Then it hits me. He is asking me, “Do you smoke?” 🚭
This is really funny now, but at the time, it was really disconcerting. These are the pitfalls of a literal translation. Be careful my friends.
Do you have a story to share? What mistakes have you or others made that make you laugh in hindsight? I look forward to hearing from you!