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These Mistranslations Can (Hilariously) Be A Vivid Description Of The Reality

These Mistranslations Can (Hilariously) Be A Vivid Description Of The Reality

As a frequent traveller, I have long forgotten how it is like to be at home and what “home” really means. Sometimes I feel like I am a leaf floating on the river, drifting from place to place, not knowing where I would end up going the next day.

Yet in all these times of travelling, there is one little thing that has made me feel lighter as I face many challenges far away from my homeland: that is, strangely, the mistranslated signs and instructions that appear in airports, hotels and pubic transports. And I am saying this without the slightest hint of sarcasm. As a bilingual myself, I know that the authors of these mistranslated signs actually know more languages than I do. And every time as I speak to them, I learn more about their cultures and language habits. I have a strange feeling of familiarity in an unfamiliar land.

Here are some examples of mistranslation around the world that may speak your heart and lighten up your day.

Job searching is frustrating sometimes.

Job recruitment advert for Nok Air airline, Thailand:

If you are energetic, living, friendly…

The world confuses me every day.

Seoul:

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If you wish, you may open the window.

Do not open the Window.

I am sick of the technology.

Ethiopia:

To call room service, please to open door and call Room Service.

Please call quiet, people may sleep.

Sometimes I just can’t pull myself to face this crazy world…

Brunei:

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Please keep shutters close or monkey make you crazy.

I am disoriented.

Lobby shop in Kuantan, Malaysia:

Found in the lobby.

And I don’t even know how I feel every day.

Bangkok, Thailand:

Please maintain temperature at 1 degree from 25, any higher or lower will only make the room hotter or colder.

Even toilets appear to be extremely dangerous:

Colombo, Sri Lanka:

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Please do not bathe outside the bathtub.

Japan:

Please to bathe inside the tube.

Gaspe Peninsula, Canada:

No dancing in the bathrooms!

I just don’t know what I should do to save myself in this crazy world.

Finally an example from London, UK:

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All fire extinguishers must be examined at least five days before any fire.

Hope that the examples above have lightened up your day.

Yet, they mean much more for me.

Behind all these mistranslated lines, I can see my experiences and the friends I have met in this world of immense beauty and diversity.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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