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Embarrassing translation slip-ups

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message 1: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler Have you ever been caught out with language problems? Something that hasn't come out how you intended?
I live in Spain - I married a Spanish girl. Even after eight years, I still put my size 11 foot in my mouth.
My worst was calling my mother-in-law a "zorra", wanting to say crafty as a fox, but which turns out to also mean bitch. (Now I use much stronger words... only joking!)

Victoria Twead Caught out with language problems? Many times! Like the time I told my neighbours I'd had an adventure, only to be told that 'aventura' means 'affair' in Spanish...
Victoria :)
Chickens, Mules And Two Old Fools: Tuck Into A Slice Of Andalucían Life

message 3: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler A Scottish friend who moved to the Costa del Sol was quite proud of the fact that she could more-or-less get by in Spanish. She went to a furniture shop without getting anyone to come along to help and asked the young salesman to see his chests of drawers. Or so she thought. After repeating her request a number of times, the poor chap excused himself and brought back the manager. He soon discovered the confusion and discreetly corrected her: "I think you mean cAjones, not cOjones."
Later on, her daughter happily informed her that she'd been asking the salesman to see his bollocks.

message 4: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler Harriet Freeman in Barcelona wrote a blog post on the subject - terribly funny, although some of the words are rather shocking. Click on the link if you're 18+

Michelle Cameron If you've ever been in a Spanish hotel, you'll know that keys, and kiss, sound very alike when spoken by a Spaniard. This can be embarrassing for all concerned.

Diane Falvey Ok so this is not so much a slip up with the Spanish language as really looking like a prize idiot.
A little background information so you can picture the story. I am a disabled person and have the really handy blue card for my car so I can park easily. Well, one day my husband jokingly starting saying I was "Paraolympica" as in the disabled olympic contests. It is now a normal word in our vocabulary and even my friends use that term instead of disabled(minusvalida)

Right, now here's the embarrassing part of the story.

One Sunday we decided to go to the Rastro (market) and came across a disabled parking spot, only to find somebody without that handy little card was already parked there. As the guy was sitting in the car I started giving him hand signals to say we could park there and that he should move. He just kept gawking at me as if I was an idiot so I held up the card and shouted at him through the window "Paraolympica".
He got the message and kindly moved his car.
There I was feeling thoroughly triumphant in my mission to park the car that it wasn't until I turned to my husband only to find him doubled over,roaring his head off. Of course I had no idea what was so funny until he finally managed to compose himself and between chuckles and giggles he asked " Do you realise what you just said?"
Basking in my success with getting the guy to free up the parking space I didn't realise that he probably only moved his car because he thought I was the loopiest cow he'd ever heard in his life.
Needless to say when it sunk in that I had used one of our silly words instead of the correct one I turned redder than a postbox and wanted to crawl up and die.
Thank God i'll never set eyes on him again.

The moral to my little tale is as follows: If you make up silly words, they are ONLY to be used with intimate friends and family. Meaning they are the only ones who can appreciate such a twisted sense of humour.

If anyone is interested we have an extensive dictionary of silly words we use!!!

message 7: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White I think I was too shy to make any serious blunders when I lived in Russia, but one of my friends got a whole crowd to laughing with an 'oops'. A Russian asked him what he liked to do, and he answered 'Ya lublu PEEsat', but what he meant to say was 'Ya lublu peSAT'. Where you put the accent can make all the difference in the world. 'PeSAT' means 'to write'. 'PEEsat' means 'to urinate'.

message 8: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler False friends can cause many embarrassing problems - words that look the same, but with a different meaning.
Here's a list of top ten Spanish false friends.

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