Interesting, amusing and sometimes bizarre language/translation-related videos.
Will Ferrell Goes Spanish
I caught Will Ferrell’s latest film the other day. If you weren’t aware that one of the finest comic actors of this generation had a movie out, though, you aren’t the only one. ‘Casa de mi Padre’ is a Spanish language film made on a budget of just $6m – miniscule by Ferrell’s usual standards.
The Hollywood star plays the leading role of Armando Alvarez, a worker on his father’s ranch in Mexico. His rich and successful brother turns up with fiancé in tow, and the next thing you know they’re all at war with a Mexican drug lord.
I’d give it a six out of ten. There are definitely laughs in there, and I’m a sucker for the spaghetti westerns that it spoofs. However, the plot is thin to say the least, while the overall humour never reaches the gut-bustingly funny levels we’ve come to know and love Ferrell for. The less said about the telenova-style Spanish the better.
Roll on Anchor Man 2.
‘I’ll have the “red burned lion head” please…’
Eating out in China is about to become a whole lot less daunting for western tourists, if slightly duller.
The Chinese government has published a book detailing English translations of 2,158 native dishes, with the hope of curing the long-term problem of misleading, albeit sometimes hilarious translations of Chinese cuisine.
That means no more ‘chicken without sex life’ (spring chicken), or ‘red burned lion head’ (pork balls in brown sauce). Still partly lost in translation, though, is the dish previously known as ‘tofu made by woman with freckles’ – the new translation ‘mapo tofu’ literally translates to ‘woman with pocks.’
Now all we need is a tourist’s guide to Chinese etiquette. No one told me after being defeated by a particular dish once in Jinan once that I shouldn’t leave my chopsticks protruding vertically from the rice. Did you know it symbolises feeding the dead?!
Source: China Daily USA
John Cleese Shows off his Spanish….
Speaking loudly in your own language when trying to be understood in a foreign country is something that a lot of tourists are guilty of. It’s as though if not understood for the first time trying to express something to someone of a different nationality, then raising your voice and saying again, albeit a bit slower, might do the trick.
When travelling abroad it is important and often essential to make an attempt to grasp at least the very basics of the spoken language. Failure to do so could result in you eating something you wouldn’t normally want to put in your mouth or ending up misunderstanding directions and becoming completely lost. Alternatively you may just fail to comprehend 99% of your encounters with the locals, which is one of the many great things about travelling.
So if you’re heading to a country where the language is gobbledygook to you, save yourself potential trouble and embarrasment by picking up a pocket phrase book and ensure you know your pollo from your paella.
Italian Hand Gestures
The Italian language is a beautiful and delightful one to listen to. What makes it even more interesting is the enthusiastic hand gestures that Italians will also use to express themselves. Body language and gestures are important when communicating in any language but nobody else does it quite like the Italians.
They have countless hand gestures that are used frequently throughout the day, all of which are understood just as well as their spoken languaage. When visiting Italy it might be fun for you to learn some of these gestures and attempt to use them in conversation, but be careful. As with all things language related, the specific meanings can vary with the changing dialects of different areas. Save yourself an awkward or embarrasing situation by observing properly and checking first before trying to integrate into the culture in this way.
Catherine Tate’s Attempts at Translation
Here the English actress, writer and comedianne shows off he skills, or lack of them, in the workplace. Tate’s comedy has often been inspired by various stereotypes which she exagerates and evolves into amusing characters. This has sometimes opened her up to negative criticism by those who aren’t amused by her witty portrayals of certain characters.
Workplace translation is a very important aspect of business, especially those who are big players in the international market. Having a competant and culturally aware translator is absolutely essential to conducting your business in a professional and respectable manner. It can make all the difference to the success of your business so it goes without saying that someone resembling Tate wont do your company any favours…
Steve Martin Wants to Buy a Hamburger…
In the 2006 film, The Pink Panther, Jacques Closeau, played by Steve Martin, tries to cover up his French accent with ‘a flawless American one so as not to arouse suspicion’. His character, who is unfortunately labelled as the worst police inspector within his division, is sent on a wild goose chase in order to distract the press while the chief inspector, played by Kevin Kline, solves a high profile crime. His unlucky language coach is assigned the seemingly impossible task of teaching him how to speak like an American.
Later on in the film his inability to pronounce the word ‘hamburger’ gets him arrested at the airport as he fails to correctly inform the security guard what he has stuffed in his pockets. Fortunately for Closeau he soon solves the crime himself and goes on to become something of a hero, much to the dismay of the chief inspector who throws himself into the River Seine.
Nothing close to a cinematic classic but an amusing family film for a rainy day nevertheless.
Amusing Translations Around The World
You will often see it wherever in the world you go. Poor translations that have slipped through the net and then serve as amusing photo opportunities for observant tourists. This obviously usually happens due to a misunderstanding or significant cultural difference but can also often be the fault of an poor translation service. Bad translations, especially those that are to be used for signs for a public service, need to be 100% correct to avoid the confusion that they can so easily cause.
If you’re visiting a country and a sign is failing to tell you which bathroom to use or which direction to go in then this could become embarrasing or potentially even dangerous. Mistakes of this nature are more often than not humerous instead of anything else but do still have the possibility of causing problems.