I have always been amazed that foreigners can learn English so well. Ours is a crazy language where compound words make no sense and where opposites are true. For example:
- An eggplant contains no egg and a hamburger contains no ham.
- Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square, and guinea pigs do not come from Guinea.
- People recite at a play and play at a recital, send shipments by car and send cargo by ship, and have noses that run and feet that smell.
- If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
Some corrected definitions for English learners
- Dust: Mud with the juice squeezed out.
- Chickens: The only animal you can eat before they are born and after they are dead.
- Beauty parlor: A place where women curl up and dye.
- Mosquito: An insect that makes you prefer flies.
American wisdom from US taverns
“Beer is now cheaper than gas. Drink. Don’t drive.”
“The average human walks 900 miles per year and drinks 22 gallons of beer, which means that the average human gets 41 miles per gallon. Not bad!”
I suppose in any culture, people don’t always think before they speak (or write) —
- “When this sign is under water, this road is impassable.”
- “Open seven days a week and weekends.”
- “Are you an adult who cannot read? If so, we can help.”
- “Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.”
From a church newsletter:
- “For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.”
- “On Thursday there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All women wishing to become Little Mothers should see the minister in his private study.”
- Outside sign: “Don’t let worry kill you. Let the church help.”
- At a fundraising event: “I upped my pledge. Up yours!”
Actual quotes from doctors’ dictated medical records
- “The patient refused an autopsy.”
- “The patient left his white blood cells at another hospital.”
- “On the second day the knee was better. On the third day it had completely disappeared.”
- “He had no shaking chills but his wife states that he was very hot in bed last night.”
We at Auerbach International look forward to serving you in 2024 to ensure that your translations into 120 languages have guaranteed accuracy, are done by specialists who think clearly and speak your industry terminology, and who do know correct nuances and word order to make you shine. Please contact us for your upcoming projects.
With best wishes for a healthy and successful new year,