Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lost in Translation and Other Giggles...

I love living overseas, it's where I am most comfortable. I know that seems strange, people expect you to be most comfortable in a place you easily understand, can easily get around and in a culture where you know what is going on. But, not so for me. I am far more comfortable where I don't know all the ins and outs, where I am learning the culture and the language. But, even so, there are times where I have to throw back my head and laugh out loud because it's not always comfortable and lots of times the translation just goes haywire. It helps that I teach six year olds and they just say the best of things. Below are some little excerpts of the life I lead in Turkey... please feel free to add any of your own funny lost in translation moments in the comments section.

1. One of my students has perpetual issues getting her coat zipped and unzipped. She is also very new to the English language and so when she formulates the question for help this is how it comes out:
May me you help? or the occassional variation: May I help me?
Hey, at least she knows to use the word may, which is more than I can say for a lot of grade one students, regardless of language issues!! ;)

2. Another one of my students has lately become very interested in London. I don't know if their family is planning a visit or what the deal is, but the other day he approached me with this:
Miss Angela? In London, they speak English?
*sigh* I had a good giggle over that.

3. Just today I went to the housing office to get my apartment inventory checked and sign off on it. After completing the inventory, I asked about getting a clothes drying rack for my apartment. It was listed on the original inventory emailed to me, but I've never had one. After some humming and hawing, they agreed to see if they had one around that could be delivered to me... they did and a phone call was made to one of the workers to deliver it to my door. After I got home the doorbell rang and I, very excitedly, answered it (don't laugh at my excitement... you have no idea what it's like to hang your clothes all over your apartment in order to dry them each week... or maybe you do!). When I opened the door, what do I see? A man and 3 plastic coat hangers. I suppressed a giggle and asked for a drying rack and he said, "Ah... buyuk" Which means big. I gave a nod (not trusting my voice) and he smiled, nodded and walked away. I closed the door to hear him on the phone laughing and laughed out loud myself. He then brought me a proper drying rack.

4. I've recently signed on to online grocery shopping and delivery... I love this country. They LOVE to deliver... as I was perusing the aisles (so to speak) for a soy milk that I've found and liked, I began to notice the English translations under some of the items.... under the milk for babies it said "feed bag." Um... okay, I guess!

Okay, there are some of the more recent ones. I keep telling myself that I need to write this stuff down and I really must start. So enjoy and please do add your own tales in the comments section!


AprilMay said...

Love this! Too funny! I miss all of that. I think I loved living overseas because I like change. Change and challenges make me feel like I am growing, but life in suburban America makes me feel stagnant and stifled! ugh!!!

Tassie Rachel said...

I agree with AprilMay. For now I have to live vicarously through my friends adventures and photos as life at home is too easy. I have to go searching for challenges and changes to make it more interesting.

Thanks for blogging and I am glad to hear you now have a drying rack, little things like that can get hard after a while. :-)

Kristen said...

Love these stories! Believe it or not, I had to check to make sure I was still speaking English when I started teaching in the Maritimes. My students would often look at me not understanding what I said. There is a definate difference between BC English and Maritime English. I speak great Maritimer now :o)