Sunday, March 22, 2015

Odd Translations

Sometimes American humor doesn't translate very well, and then I'm left looking like an idiot.

A while ago I was teaching a class and I don't remember exactly what I said, but I asked them a question and then I gave them the wrong answer by mistake. The teacher corrected me and I jokingly said "Oops, désolée j'ai menti" (oops, sorry I lied). She looked at me and chuckled "Tu t'es trompée, t'est pas menti!" (Haha, no, you were mistaken, you didn't lie!). I stood there... do I try to explain that gross exaggerations are often taken as a joke in English and that I meant to do that? Nah, too much work.

Yesterday I went into the kitchen and my roommate was there with one of her friends. They were arguing over whether prices for skiing were better during the weekend or weekdays, something like that, and she decided she would just check on her phone. "Okay, so what are we going to bet?" They went back and forth "a leaf of lettuce, 100 euros, suicide." And then I barged in "haha, your first born child." They stared at me... did I pronounce something wrong. "Child...the first one. The first baby."
It was straight out of a movie, both of them, blank faces. It was super awkward. I waved my hand, grabbed my tea and crackers and left.

I'm starting to miss being in a place where I can understand the humor and I understand social cues.

It's not just me making the mistakes though. I was trying to teach kids face vocabulary, and I said "touch your eyes!" One girl who had been repeating everything I said said "touch your ass."

A few days ago the school was having a spelling bee outside. I was standing in the sun, watching, when one of the teachers, the one who speaks pretty good English, walked by and said "are you having a sunbath?" I nearly burst out laughing, that was one of the weirdest questions I've ever been asked.

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