Lost In Translation

Translation is not an exact science. Think about all the sayings we have in English that wouldn’t make sense to a foreign person who took them literally…

“Spend a penny” “Mad as a box of frogs” “Spanner in the works”

When translations go wrong the effects can be disastrous. A missed word, or even a single erroneous letter, can change the meaning of a sentence completely. I love reading French menus the staff have translated into English for this reason. “Grandmother’s balls with pistachio” or “warm goat dung on toast” anyone? You’d have thought a ski resort press office would have forked out for a proper translator, but apparently not – leading to my favourite translation mistake so far. Sainte Foy’s Winter 2016 English press pack had the resort’s tagline as:

The Sainte Foy spirit will impregnate you. Ski differently. You will never be the same.

If that isn’t doesn’t sound like a threat I don’t know what does. And, bless them, that was how they were trying to tempt English people to book a holiday in the resort.

Sainte Foy Continue reading “Lost In Translation”

Drinking: Start ‘Em Young & Keep ‘Em Tipsy

The French do have a much more healthy attitude towards drinking than the English. Drinking steadily throughout the day means you’re constantly slightly tipsy, rather than downing it all in one go in the evening and getting plastered as is our proud cultural heritage. As the Americans will uphold their right to bear arms to the death, so will the French uphold their right to drink wine at lunchtime. French police even threatened strike action when in 2011 bosses tried to ban them from drinking on the job. Yes, French police were routinely on the wine at lunchtime before tottering off to solve a crime (or push some documents round a desk and scribble rude drawings on them). I’ve written before about government-employed labourers given vouchers for lunches that include unlimited wine despite their jobs involving driving heavy machinery.

Continue reading “Drinking: Start ‘Em Young & Keep ‘Em Tipsy”

The Cheque: Still Alive & Stifling Business In France

France is one of the most innovative countries in the world – it’s leading the way globally in technology research and IT, ranking way above the UK in a recent study. They’ve invented new online systems used in other countries to make payments easier and boost economies by facilitating trade – which is why it’s so baffling that the nation is still using cheques as its main method of doing business. Yes, CHEQUES!

Continue reading “The Cheque: Still Alive & Stifling Business In France”