Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's All in the Wording

Have you ever tried to give directions to someone that did not speak your native language? It is the equivalant of ordering food in a restaurant where the menu is not in your language. The next blog I am reviewing is What Goes Under the Sun and deals largely with translation. After reading several of the posts I was impressed, both with the writing skills of the author but also with the time and dedication it takes to learn a second language fluently. Many times over the years I have found myself wishing I spoke another language fluently. As a former U.S.Marine, that participated in the invasion of Panama as well as Kuwaitt. I learned all the required foreign words such as "baje sus armas"(drop your weapons) and "Alto o desparro"(halt or I will shoot). When I got out of the Marine Corps, my job exposed me to many Russian and Polish workers that taught me simple phrases in their respective languages, and being American, what I have to say next may shock some of you that have never left the States, every polish joke you have ever heard is a lie. In three years I had the chance to work with about 200 Polish people and I have yet to meet one that did not speak at least 3 languages fluently. We use the word Polock as an insult, they use it to describe themselves also, only they use it with pride. It is the same word used in two different contexts. I would highly recommend What Goes Under the Sun to anyone, you may never want or have to speak cantonese, but the posts are still well worth the read.


TH Yeoh said...

Thanks for reviewing my blog. I really appreciate it.

DiamondVVV1 said...

Great article. Being in a Spanish speaking country at the moment I can totally relate to this...and have a few laughs along the way. Great site you have here.