Why We Need To Build A Universal Translator

, , , | Right | August 6, 2020

I’m what’s called a rep, which means some kind of a tour-guide. We are a Scandinavian company with only Scandinavian guests. We do different things, like taking them on excursions, welcoming them at the airport, and guiding them on the buses. We also have hotel service; we show up at the hotels to let them book excursions and answer questions.

I’m visiting one of the hotels, and when I arrive, the woman in the reception is talking with someone on the phone. I go to sit down and wait for guests to arrive, and I remember I’ve got something for the receptionist.

When I walk over, she’s still on the phone, and she’s telling the person on the other end the same thing over and over again. She tells them that there’s someone from the company he’s travelling with here, and after a couple of minutes, she gets him to agree to speak with me.

Receptionist: “This hotel is all [My Company]’s hotel, and this guest wants to change something with his room booking. Please explain to him that he needs to take his request with you and pay for the request to you, as well. We can’t take any money from him as he’s your guest.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll try to explain it to him, but I doubt that he will listen to me more than you.”

The receptionist hands me the phone and I’m settling for a long discussion with a furious guest.

Me: *In Scandinavian language* “Hello, this is [My Name] from [Company].”

Guest: *Starting to speak in English* “Hello, yeah, I’m coming down on… Eh, do you speak [Scandinavian Language]?”

Me: “Yes, I do. So, what can I help you with?”

He changes languages.

Guest: “Oh, okay, then! Well, I’m coming to the hotel this weekend and was wondering if [same request as the receptionist was explaining to me] could be fixed?”

Me: “Yes, sir, that is absolutely no problem!”

I explain to him how he’s going to fix his request, in the exactly same way the receptionist did, only in our language.

Guest: “Oh, so that’s how I fix it? Okay, then, thanks a lot! I’ll see you next week, then! Bye.” *Click*

He left both me and the receptionist speechless!

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Totally Estúpido! Part 12

, , , , , | Right | August 5, 2020

I have been working at my local car dealership for about two weeks as a cashier. I am eighteen and a high school graduate, but my small size makes me appear much younger — maybe around twelve. On this particular day, a pair of customers consisting of a middle-aged Caucasian woman and a younger Hispanic gentleman approaches my counter. It should be noted that I took three years of Spanish in school.

Me: “Hi there! Your total is just going to be [amount] today.”

I smile. The young man hands me his credit card, and his companion starts speaking to him as I process the transaction.

Woman: *In Spanish* “Wow… she’s just a little girl! I can’t believe places like these are hiring children these days. They must be really understaffed. That child should be in school, not working some dead-end job like this.”

The man doesn’t reply but looks slightly uncomfortable. I finish ringing them up wordlessly and wish them a good afternoon as they depart, the man smiling gratefully and the woman scowling. After they have left, I tell my coworker what has transpired.

Coworker: “They really said that?”

Me: “Yup. I understood every word; I took three years of Spanish in high school.”

Coworker: *Laughing* “Wow! If they’d known you spoke Spanish, I’m sure she never would have said something like that.”

Other Coworker: *Just walking in* “Next time, look them dead in the eyes and say, in Spanish, ‘Thanks for bringing your car into [Shop] to be serviced today. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon!'”

While I hope this was only a one-time occurrence, at least now I have a backup plan if it isn’t!

Totally Estupido, Part 11
Totally Estupido, Part 10
Totally Estupido, Part 9
Totally Estupido, Part 8

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And Get Her A Couple Of Quills While You’re At It

, , , , | Right | August 5, 2020

The phone rings and I answer. There’s an older woman on the other end.

Customer: “Hello? I wanna see if y’all carry, uh… ink.”

Me: “Sure! What brand of ink are you looking for?”

Customer: “It’s for my printer.”

Me: “Yes, but what brand?”

Customer: “Oh. It’s [Brand], and the box says [model number].”

Me: “All right, and you said that was ink and not toner, right?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “You’re sure it’s ink and not toner, ma’am?”

Customer: “I said ink!

We don’t carry ink cartridges by that particular brand, but we do carry toner. I put the customer on hold and use our store’s stock search function to determine if we carry the type of toner she needs. Unfortunately, we do not.

Me: “Ma’am, unfortunately, we do not carry that particular cartridge.”

Customer: “Cartridge?! I said ink!

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Only Side They’re Getting Is A Sideways Glance

, , , , , | Right | August 4, 2020

I witness this interaction as I’m in line to order from a fast food restaurant at a local theme park. A customer pushes his way to the counter, bypassing the line.

Customer: “Excuse me, I just need a side tray.”

Worker: “A side tray?”

Customer: “Yeah, I need a side tray. Can I get one?”

The worker offers him a large plastic tray, the type you’d put a whole order on. 

Customer: “No! I need a side tray. A siiiiide traaaaaaay.”

The worker offers him a disposable plate with a questioning look on her face.

Customer: “A. Side. Tray. I need a side tray.”

Worker: “I’m not sure what that is, sir.”

The worker looks around her workspace and offers him a clam-shell takeout box.

Customer: “No, I need a side tray! Jeez, how many different words do I need to use to get you to understand what I want?!”

He grabbed the takeout box and stormed off, still muttering to his friend about the “side tray.” By the confusion on the faces of all of the other customers in line, I’m guessing he should have used more than just two words to describe this mysterious thing he wanted!

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Sometimes The Meat Can Be Suspect…

, , , , , | Right | August 4, 2020

This happened to a family friend who emigrated to the USA from Germany after World War II. She was traveling by bus, which had stopped for a snack and potty break.

Snack Bar Man: “What can I get for you, ma’am?”

Friend: “Oh, just something quick.”

Snack Bar Man: “How about a hot dog?

Friend: “Oh, no, I ate enough horse meat in Germany during the war. I didn’t come to the United States to start eating dogs!”

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