Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Lost in Translation

I have tremendous sympathy for the Chinaman who was mistakenly sent to a refugee camp in Germany. The poor man had his wallet stolen after arriving in Stuttgart as a tourist. Speaking neither German nor English, he tried to report his crime to the police, who promptly sent him to a refugee centre in Dusseldorf. There, he was photographed, fingerprinted and possibly deloused, before receiving a meal of soup and noodles. A German Red Cross worker was the first to notice something was amiss:

“He acted so different to the other refugees,” recalled Christoph Schlutermann. “He kept trying to tell people his story, but no one could understand him. He kept asking to get his passport back, which is the opposite of what most refugees do.”

Perplexed by his behaviour, Herr Schlutermann consulted a local Chinese restaurant, which advised him to install a Mandarin translation app on his mobile phone. This enabled him to communicate with the tourist, who told him he had come to Europe for a hiking holiday. The man was finally sent on his way after spending 12 days in the bureaucratic German asylum system. He chose not to make an official complaint, merely commenting that Europe was not what he imagined it to be. His patience and good manners are an example to us all.

The language barrier can be a headache for anyone in the tourism industry. Just recently, I was accosted by a tall blond woman, who had strayed a mile or two from the safari camp.

“Svo storog lorlin!” she squealed excitedly in an obscure Nordic tongue. Although I had no idea what she was talking about, her facial expression and body language suggested an interest in social intercourse. So I beckoned her to follow me to a plum tree and plucked a juicy fruit for her.

“Fakka feer ferrin,” she said. “Ech moon merra fin Dian Fossey.”

On hearing the words “Dian Fossey” alarm bells sounded in my head. There is a particular breed of woman that imagines she can travel to Africa and persuade the gorillas to revere her as their Sugar Mummy. So I took her by the hand and marched purposefully to the safari camp.

“So that’s where you’ve been, Gunnella!” exclaimed the manager. “Been showing her the secrets of the undergrowth, eh Bananas?” he added, winking at me.

“You must keep your guests on a tighter rein,” I replied. “She’s an amiable young woman, but wholly unequipped for solo expeditions in a foreign habitat.”

This incident shows what a risky business tourism can be. If Gunnella had encountered a pack of marauding baboons, instead of a civilised ape, there’s no telling what would have happened. The manager of the safari camp would have been winking out of the other side of his face. Let’s hope Gene Roddenberry was right in predicting a future where everyone, including the Klingons and Romulans, is fluent in English. The same language, spoken in a variety of interesting and amusing accents, is enough cultural diversity for one galaxy.

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“Been showing her the secrets of the undergrowth, eh Bananas?” - hell, I'd pay good money to see THAT! (wink)
When I travel, no matter the language, people know what I want. Especially the men.
"He kept asking to get his passport back, which is the opposite of what most refugees do." - Errr, yeah. Major clue.
What is Herr Schtupidmann’s position? The fact that his first port of call was to a bloody Chinese restaurant rather than to get a translator in…. And this took them 12 days? Mein Gott.

the delousing and noodles were free, yes?

i've heard that chinamen love free stuff so the germans might end up with more chinamen than north africans.
Well that's horrifying - going on vacation only to land in a refugee camp. That seals the deal for me - no more vacations. Poor guy.
I keep going on vacation to hopefully meet the Gunella of my dreams. Like Mistress Maddie says, there will be no doubt as to what I want.
Anne Marie: I'd let you watch for free, baby! (wink, wink)

Mistress Maddie: I don't doubt it, Mistress. Your body language is all they need to see. :)

Jules: Don't be too hard on the red cross worker, Jules. Without his intervention, the man might still be in the camp! Perhaps the Germans should contract out such duties to their Chinese restaurants.

Billy: They also gave him some pocket money! Maybe that's why he didn't make a complaint.

Robyn: How soft-hearted you are, Robyn. I would happily take a holiday in a refugee camp if you were the camp manager. ;)

Jono: Good luck, Jono! I'm sure you'd be a perfect match for the Gunnellas of this world!
Wow poor guy ending up in a refugee camp. You would think before putting him there they would have at the very least tried to figure out what he was trying to say to them.
For some reason the concept of the Germans sending people to camps does not sit well with me. Speaking of Klingons, no one has ever been able to explain to me why General Zod and the super villains from Krypton spoke fluent English in Superman II. Maybe you can clear that one up too.
If everyone is fluent in each others language, will those that eat animals ( some eat dog) continue to do so?
Talking dog

That poor guy from China! It is always a good idea to learn a little bit of the language before venturing to another country.

Was Gunella Danish? You could have maybe scored a really cool bicycle, if you had played your cards right.
Mary: I reckon he got profiled, Mary. The Germans must think anyone of Asian appearance who asks them for help is a refugee.

Jimmy: Well, Krypton was far more advanced than Earth, Jimmy. Do you remember Superman's Dad played by Marlon Brando? He also spoke perfect English.

Mark: I don't see why speaking another language should change your dietary habits, but maybe I'm overlooking something.

Shoshanah: I believe she was from Iceland, Shoshanah. Are they keen on cycling in Iceland?
This sounds like a comedy show in the making!
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