Lost in translation

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by TaffJ, Oct 1, 2012.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I currently work in a large organisation that likes the colour, baby blue and interfering around the world.

    One fella in our group is a Ukrainian and has a very good grasp of HMQ's English but has trouble with certain esoteric words that do not come up in day to day conversation.

    The other day he was asking what do you call the large sweptback lump of hair on the front of Elvis' head. I helped him with that...He now goes around thinking that Elvis has a large, black shiny 'quim' on his head.

    Anyone else helped out similarly challenged non native English speakers and wondered down the years how they fared?
     
  2. .
    Whilst Op Agricola, hanging around waiting in a car park outside a camp in Pristina, the gate guard were approached by a shirtless native scamp. They taught him to say 'I love NATO' and drew on his arm, with a thin lumicolour, the NATO sign. Happy as Larry, he comes trotting over to pester us. "Hello ... I love NATO ... NATO ... NATO ... you give me Bon-Bon?" etc etc. 'Oh you like tattoos we thought', so we drew on his chest, in a massive thick black marker pen, '5DM for anal' and a huge Swastika on his back with the words 'I love Slobodan' underneath. I'd like to think that that young lad made some money that night.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Whilst in Germany on the A2 Autobahn services, a Brit stopped and asked me the way to Berlin. I told him he was travelling in the wrong direction and needed to go back the way he had come.

    My, how we chortled 5 minutes later when we heard there d been a 200 car pile-up on the A2!
     
  4. on holiday in Tunisia and the bingo caller in the hotel would call the numbers in 5 differant languages.
    I felt that there were gaps in his knowledge, so taught him a couple of the lesser-known bingo calls.
    Beef chow mein - 37
    postmans van - 14
    lovely bristols - 66

    stuff like that. by the end of the week a couple of other guests had cottoned on and made up a few others. I often wonder if he's still spending hours calling out gibberish yo confused holidaymakers
     
  5. I had the opposite. I learned an apparent common Dutch nicety so I could be polite to a senior female visitor who was to visit some of the Netherlands troops in the afternoon.

    What actually said was: It's a nice cunt day today.

    Nice.
     
  6. We had a Pole once with the same sort of English abilities as the OP described. He was asking about the different forms of address applying to different ranks. ie you call a lt. "Sir, but a Ocdt. should be adressed as "Mr", etc. He'd recently got stick for calling a Sgt. "sarge". We told him he could address a Sgt as "pikey" due to the Guidon party's sergeants carrying the lances ( or "pikes". Oh how we laughed as we watched him on remedial drill.
     
  7. .
    Whilst on exercise in Kenya, there's a bloke that constantly fills in pot holes just outside NSG. He was forever stood at the side of the road putting his hand out in the vain hope anyone would tip him. Apart from the old 'washer tied to a bit of wire' gag, I stopped and told him that if he was at the side of the road he should wear a Hi Viz vest so he would'nt get run over. I gave him a Hi Viz vest out the back of our 4x4. We parked up for a bit and watched him , wearing his new vest, stick his hand out to a passing minibus of tourists. The tourists seemed to be it fits of laughter at this man asking for money with his Hi Viz vest with 'SEX OFFENDER' written on the front of it in massive letters.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Some of these are akin to war crimes.
     
  9. Never mind the chuckles; did the crowd tip him? :?
     
  10. Okay, not a foriegn language, but!
    A friend of mines mother, posh lady, very well spoken, bit of WI that sort of thing, suddenly started coming out with "Bollocks" when things went wrong, after a few days of this my friend asked her,
    "Mother, do you know what that means?"
    "Yes," came the reply, "They are the things you put oars in."

    I'll get me coat!

    Cheers
    Gadge
     
  11. I once had a flush of enthusiasm and volunteered (did the Army teach me nothing?) to deliver a presentation on the British Higher Education systems. As it was in China, I decided to show off a bit and do it in Mandarin.

    I was pretty thorough, taking the better part of a month to prepare a 20 minute talk, checking my terminology and practising my pronunciation. One thing that stumped me a bit was how to get the Open University across, since the name isn't really that explanatory, so I asked one of our visiting Chinese academics for advice and he suggested the phrase ziwei xuexi - literally 'do by oneself study'. Unfortunately, unknown to both of us ziwei has taken on the meaning in the age of the internet of a very specific something that one does by ones self.

    Yep, I told an audience of students and academics that the OU was 'Wanking University'.
     
  12. If I was at home most days doing OU work, a great deal of my time would probably be spent wanking too.
     
  13. What shade of blue, Pompadour?