Smoking Kills or maybe just Mortifies

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. β˜•

My Serbian consists of the most vulgar words and phrases I learned from my husband and his friends.

Enter the kindest Serbian soul. πŸ‘ΌHe 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!


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