The Fish Of The Babbling

About a month ago, much to my dismay, my very valued and crucial employee handling business in the Latin American region offered her resignation. She’d found a job at another company where she could make a lot more money. She’s a great employee and it was a super opportunity for her career.

In her absence, I’m recruiting for the role, but that always takes a very long time. So while I search for a suitable replacement, I’m also doing the job. This means now I get a LOT of emails in both Spanish and Portugese. BabelFish and Google Translate have become my closest work friends.

But you know that old saying “something is lost in translation”?

Yup. Since I have a weird sense of humor, I’m actually enjoying sorting out what these oddball translated phrases actually mean.

Here are a few of the greatest hits I’ve seen over the past two weeks:

“The gentility has requested immediate attention to this request”

Um. The gentility? Really? What is this, an Oscar Wilde novel?

This was translated from Portuguese and I’ve now seen this same usage of “gentility” crop up a lot. It must simply be how the language handles the notion of management.

Which might also explain this one:

“Waiting on response from God before proceeding”

Whoa! God? It might be awhile to get an answer from that guy. I bet he’s way behind on his email. Maybe he has an assistant we can call?

I believe this implies approval from the very top officer of the company. Now that’s an honorific!

Or, it’s better explained by:

“On taking drugs the equipment in this situation?”

Ah. That’s it. My computer is on drugs. Yup. And waiting for God to respond in a genteel way.

We never did actually figure this one out. Someone on my team thinks this is a question about how are you using the equipment…and perhaps that term “using” which can mean taking drugs, got confused in the context.


But when it comes to equipment, there is also this advice:

“To remember when arriving at the visited country, extinguishing and to ignite the equipment”

And also please remember to extinguish fully before reigniting. Because reigniting an already ignited device might equal “ouch”.

Especially if you:

“Reset in the heat of the moment”

Best to wait for the heat to pass before resetting or even reigniting.

And by far, my favorite closing sentiment:

“Thanks so much already”

You’re welcome by now.

Image by Jakub Krechowicz and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

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