Aug 1, 2008

Lost (and Found) in Translation

We have a new member of our team at work who will be staying in the US for the next year to help with demand planning for Europe.  His name is Andries and he is from the Netherlands.  He speaks Dutch, English, German and by his own admission - very poor French.



Over the past week during lunch, the girls and I have schooled him about common phrases that routinely come up throughout the day such as Skank and Ditz.  But another interesting thing about him is he didn't know what a Beagle was and had never heard of Falco.  Obviously my love for Falco knows no bounds and I immediately brought him back to my office so we could watch 'Rock Me Amadeus' and 'Der Komimssar' on Youtube.



Andries didn't recognize any of the songs until I landed upon the video for 'Jeanny' - then his face lit up with recognition and excitement.  Apparently this was "...like one of the Top 100 songs in Germany!"  Really?  I promised him that I wouldn't bring in any of my collection of specially imported Falco CD's for translation and clearly he was relieved.



So when I came across this Flickr photo with a description of the picture written in German, I simply had to email it to him.  For one thing, he'd get to see what a Beagle looked like and most importantly-I could task him to translate the paragraph below the picture. I'm all about education people.



This is what it said:  Unter viel Gestöhne und Geächze macht Sally Morgengynastik. Ein abschließender heulender Laut, den man nur mit viel Phantasie als "Bellen" bezeichnen kann, fordert mich auf "Los, nimm schon die Leine, ich will meine Morgenrunde!"



Here is how it's translated using Babelfish: Under much Gestöhne and Geächze Sally Morgengynastik makes. A concluding howling sound, which one " only with much fantasy as; Bellen" to designate can, demands me on " Loosely, already take the line, I wants my morning round! " 



Finally, this is Andries email back to me~priceless!



Thanks for the challenge, just the thing I need on a Thursday!



“With a lot of gasping and panting Sally does her morning gymnastics. Then she utters a whining sound, that can only be called “barking” with a lot of fantasy to let me know: “Come on, take the leash, I wanna go for my morning round!”



Hopefully you won’t ask me to translate the lyrics of Falco next time…



Isn't it great to know and work with someone who can speak foreign languages? Sadly the only thing I can offer in return is advice on which of the four elevators works the slowest and who to contact should the laser printer run out of paper.  Clearly I could learn a thing or two from Andries. 



Oh! Just one more thing: Did I mention that I love listening to him speak Dutch to his friends on the phone every day.  It's hypnotic.

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