Lost in a Bad Translation


One of our employees at the store has reasonable English, and because my Spanish is crap and she is studying tourism and is needing to practice her English on me, she more often than not speaks to me in English. I appreciate her effort and for the most part her knowledge of spoken English is very good. There have been occasions though where things are not quite right and I either want to laugh, cry or strangle her. It always depends on how rested I am and if I can tolerate yet another communication challenge.

Some examples:

  • “How did you find your man?” (I laughed, under a rock in a bar) The verbs for find and meet are very similar in Spanish (encontrar/encontrarse/conocer).
  • “How can you be here living for almost 4 years and your Spanish is so bad.” (I wanted to cry)
  • “I call tell you have never done this before.” (I wanted to strangle her) But, I instead had this imaginary conversation/dress down: Yes, I never have had a store before. This is all new to me. But you know what is not new to me, managing people and staff. I have had staff before but I have never had a staff person talk to me like you just did. Lets not do it again.

But of course I didn’t really say that, because she is a sweet kid and my Spanish sucks.

About Elizabeth

Wife and mother of four. This blog is personal, political and hopefully relevant with a sense of humor. I got to have a sense of humor with the tough crowd I deal with everyday, and they cant even vote, drink or drive.

1 Response

  1. mario837

    There is one archetypal wrong translation, this time from Spanish to English: “Between no more and drink a chair”, word by word translation of “Entrá nomás y tomá una silla”.

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