Don’t Bank On His Language Skills

, , | Newark, NJ, USA | Learning Right | February 15, 2018

Throwback ThursdaysThrowback Thursday! Here’s a terrific story you may not have seen before.  Do you have a story about a mistaken translation in a language lesson?  Danos su historio en los comentarios!


(I’m an after-school English tutor for our exchange students. The assignment today is a brief speech about what everyone in your family does, but no dictionaries are allowed while they’re writing the speech.)

German Student: “Okay. I can go first?”

Me: “Okay, [German Student], go ahead.”

German Student: “My mother is a nurse. She works at a big hospital in Essen. She takes care of new babies who are born with sickness. When she was young, she was a nurse in Moscow. My father is an ATM. He—”

Me: *interrupting* “A what?”

German Student: “ATM.”

Me: “A banker?”

German Student: “No! ATM! He met my mother at hospital! He is a wagon-driver!”

(He makes siren noises and flashes the classroom lights.)

Me: “Oh… an EMT?”

German Student: “Oh, yes. EMT.”

(He finishes the speech without incident. Next up is a nervous Spanish student.)

Spanish Student: “My father, uh, is… My father is an avocado.”

(His father is an ‘abogado’: a lawyer.)

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