Lost in Translation

16 Nov

Spreek je Engels? ( Do you speak English?)

We learnt this from the Dutch translation book before leaving for Switzerland 9 years ago. Funny, I remember it as “Sprek enje English” least that’s what I have been pronouncing it as, from day one. Did it help us more than the blank stares and our body language screaming “I am a tourist…Bachao..”, I am not sure.

Admiring the seats in a train while traveling in Interlaken, only to be told that we were illegally occupying the first class compartment – A cheeky smile

Getting confused with Italian, French and Dutch because of the different languages spoken in various regions and trying all the three with unsuspecting locals.. – Laugh riot

Suresh starting a conversion in the Italian zone with “Merci”. If you think you have heard it somewhere, yes it is indeed French. If you think it means “Excuse me”, no, it doesn’t. It means “Thank you”. Looking at the bewildered expression on the guy’s face listening to Suresh’s Merci, with my prompting in English, in a supposedly Italian accent – ROFL priceless.

Planning for our upcoming trip to Italy& Paris, my partner in crime is honing his Italian and French . How, you may ask? Call Rome as Roma and Italy as Eettaly (pronounced with widening your mouth a bit) which makes it Italian and the French is influenced a lot by Pink Panther’s Steve Martin. So, Italy becomes Itly( pronounced as Idly with your mouth in an almost ‘O’ shape) . Yes, we are all set. No, we don’t have to go through a translation book.

Or so we thought until Suresh filled the “Number of Passport” in the Visa application as “One”. Even the expiry date in the next column didn’t faze our man’s confidence. Blame it on the Italian for their literal translation. ( FYI.Just so we all get it clarified. “Number of Passport” actually meant “Passport Number” , not “Number of Passports”.)

If Italians speak Italian english and we speak English Italian with an Indian accent, wonder who will get confused, the italian locals or the ever confident duo.

OH! YES !!“Siam pronti alla”


Posted by on November 16, 2009 in General, Humor.. or not?


8 responses to “Lost in Translation

  1. Saumya

    November 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    You rock on dudes. If French don’t understand a Tamilian married to a Kannadiga, born in Thiruvananthapuram speak Italian with a slight Indian American slur – then, it is their headache, not yours!

    • shoba

      November 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

      Well said, Saumya!! LOL 🙂

    • suresh

      November 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm

      I have decided… I am just going to talk to them in Tamil….and Shoba can talk in Tamil too, with a Kannadiga tinge..:)

  2. Sri

    November 18, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Now I understand the “Number of passport” confusion 🙂

    Buon viaggio!
    bon voyage!

  3. sachita

    November 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    second trip, ah!
    i would have never guessed number of passport! thought it was missing an ‘s’ at the end.

    Bon voyage!

  4. shoba

    November 19, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Looks like I was the only one who thought “Number of Passport” as “Passport Number”, though the expiry date in the next column triggered it.
    Maybe, I understand Italian after all…..So, easy breezy …

    • suresh

      November 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm

      The real reason is, everyone read it as English… But, u did it, with Kannadiga accent..:)


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