Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lost in Translation

One of the other reasons I don't really enjoy going to China is that our Chinese team doesn't really have a great level of English.  This makes anything more than basic communication difficult, and also means that they rarely translate anything for me (besides the gross dishes we eat lol), which means I spend most of the day in the dark. It also means that I don't really connect with our customers, and there's no sharing of cultures - two of the things that help make all this travel bearable. So instead I spend a lot of time staring at the wall, daydreaming or on my phone.

During one particularly long dinner, the big boss had spent 5-10 minutes telling a story that had everyone laughing. At the end of it, I asked one of our staff what he had said, and he replied "He had a stroke".  I was like "Hmm...Are you sure that's the right word?"  So he double-checked the translation and it was indeed stroke. What?  How on Earth is that funny? But my further attempts to understand were met with blank stares and it's still a mystery today...

On a completely unrelated note, the ladies from my masters program organized another night out last night. We've been taking turns hosting, and it's always a good time. Somehow we got to talking about various theme parties we've been to (the "Come as your favorite metro station" was voted the best idea), and I mentioned that the night I would be attending a sort-of costumed party.  The wonderful Lily will be celebrating her recently-acquired French citizenship, and asked us all to come dressed as a French person.  So I jokingly asked the girls if they had any ideas of what I should wear, and I was just met with blank stares. I offered "You know....stuff like striped shirts...berets...a baguette under your arm?"  Cue the crickets!  I tell ya, it was pretty awkward there for a minute, but I sure was laughing on the inside.



Blogger Lily Heise said...

Those are great anecdotes Sam! I was SO thrilled to have you at my party and you were the perfect French person... as you are! Looking forward to seeing you again soon and I hope you don't have to go back to China soon ;-)

June 12, 2016 at 7:47 PM  

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