Friday, March 17, 2006

Lost in Translation 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA French couple, tourists, somehow wandered into the Deaf Services area of the library. In thickly accented English, they asked some patrons milling about for directions to a museum. The French couple had no idea that everyone they were talking to was deaf, and the deaf people, even though they were proficient lip readers, could not make sense of what the couple was saying because of their accent. The deaf patrons, after staring intently at the couples’ lips, began using sign language. Since people who don’t speak each other’s language often resort to gesticulation, the French couple still didn’t realize why they weren’t being understood. Finally the deaf services librarian escorted the baffled tourists out to the reference desk.

Once, I met a lightly-clad French couple on top of a steep and dangerous mountain in Wales. It was cold up there. When they asked me the best way down, I was so very anxious to make an impression with my excellent French I failed to notice I had my map upside down.

I often wonder about them...
That's just classic.

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