Peppered With Translation Errors

, , | Right | September 8, 2017

(We’ve just got in from our flight, and all we want to do is crash. Unfortunately, we’re also hungry. I look up a pizza place just down the street.)

Me: *on the phone* “Hallo. Können wir bitte ein Pizza haben?” *Hello. Can we please have a pizza?*

Pizza Man: *rapidly talks German but I catch the words, “Which kind?”*

Me: “Haben Sie Peperoni Pizza?” *Do you have pepperoni?*

Pizza Man: “Ja. Wie groß?” *Yes. How big?*

(The rest of the order goes okay, and I basically understand everything he says. When the pizza comes, however, it is not pepperoni. It has onions and peppers, and looks nothing like pepperoni pizza! I try talking to the guy, but we can’t seem to understand each other.)

Me: *thinking* “I’ll accept the pizza; it shouldn’t be that bad.”

(My mouth is on fire the rest of the night. I call my German mother to ask why this happened. She laughs at me for a solid minute.)

Mum: “I did the same thing when I was 13! I had just finished my stay in America, and I missed the pizza there. I asked the waitress for a pepperoni pizza. She was like, ‘Are you sure?’ She was so insistent, but I really wanted that pizza.”

Me: “So, you got a pepper pizza?”

Mum: “Yup! It was so spicy! You want salami pizza, dear. It’s a little saltier and less spicy than pepperoni, but it’s basically the same thing.”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

(I eventually learned to love German pizza, especially curry pizza, but I’ll never forget that first one!)

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Loyalty Is Not Its Own Reward

, , | Right | September 7, 2017

(We offer loyalty cards where customers collect points for hot beverages and bread. Twelve points equal one free beverage/bread. In addition to that, all transactions on those cards are counted. From time to time, the computer will choose that a transaction will be free for the customer, if a card is used and has enough transactions on it. We have no influence on those decisions, and cannot see or calculate when the next one will be free. My customer is a sweet old lady, who has taken almost five minutes to check the prices of the sandwiches we offer.)

Me: “Hi. What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “I’ll take a small coffee and one of those cheese sandwiches, please.”

Me: “Sure! That will be [amount]. Do you have a loyalty card with us?”

(I put her coffee and sandwich on the tray before her and take her money and card. When I slide her card, the register tells me this transaction will be free.)

Me: “Oh, seems like I don’t need your money today! Both will be on the house today, because we would like to thank you for your loyalty with us!”

Customer: “Oh! Okay, can I take a [more expensive sandwich] instead, then?”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t; it’s already in the register.”

Customer: “Oh, no problem. But I said egg, not cheese!” *The sandwich with eggs is more expensive than cheese.*

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll switch that out for you!”

(I do so, and the customer happily goes her way.)

Me: *to the next customer* “Did she really say egg? I could swear she said cheese.”

Next Customer: “She said cheese. Some people just can’t get enough…”

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Smartphones Are Really Exploding Right Now

, , | Related | September 6, 2017

(One member of my family is not so smartphone-inclined. She works a computer well enough, but she can’t seem to figure out my phone, which is the same brand as a certain phone that has had issues with exploding batteries. My phone’s battery is fine, except that it drains quickly. We’re leaving soon. I have been playing a match-three game, which shoots fireworks after you win, while my family member is in the shower)

Me: “Hold my phone while I put on shoes? After it’s done exploding, I can turn it off.”

Family Member: *gets wide eyes and looks like she is thinking of throwing it*

Me: “Not that way! I meant the screen. See the cartoon fireworks?”

Family Member: *relieved* “Oh, okay. I thought it was that phone the airplane always asks about.”

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Not As Ugly As Your Attitude…

, , | Right | August 31, 2017

(I’m 12. I’m Canadian, living in Germany for the summer, going to school there for a few weeks. My class is selling bags we made out of newspaper, to raise money for child labourers. I don’t remember the price, but it’s not much, probably about the equivalent of $1.)

Classmate: *explains about the bags, in German, to a couple*

Couple: “We don’t speak German…”

Classmate: *to me, in German* “Those people are English; you go talk to them!”

Me: *a little homesick, pleased to use my native language, and they sound Canadian* “Hi! What my friend was telling you was that we’re selling these bags to raise money for child labourers. Would you like to buy one?”

Couple: “What? No! They’re made of newspaper; they’re ugly!”

Me: *deeply ashamed of my language/countrymen*

Classmate: *in German* “What did they say?”

Me: “…they said …no.”

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Making A Bald Return To The Office

, , | Working | August 30, 2017

(I quit my job a few months ago for various reasons. My situation has improved since then, and the company has also implemented some changes, so I’m meeting up with my former boss to discuss the possibility of my return. It’s worth noting that he’s bald, whereas I like to dye my hair all sorts of colors whenever I can. The job, however, is an administrative position in a very conservative office, so that should be out of the question. The conversation goes well, so by the end of the interview…)

Me: *joking* “So, I guess there’s only the most important question left. Which hair colors would be permissible?”

Boss: *with a solemn face* “Ye who are blesséd with full hair… do with it whatever the h*** you want.”

(And that’s how he ended up with the first administrative assistant showing up to work with bright green hair.)

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