Off topic: One of my favorite jokes
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 28, 2008

Here's a favorite joke of mine. It's very relevant to our jobs.

What do you call a person who speaks three languages?

A trilingual

What do you call a person that speaks two languages?

A bilingual

What do you call a person that speaks one language?

An American.

Supposedly, I'm not an American because I'm not monolingual. HAHA!


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:59
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
No, not typical Aug 29, 2008

It's not fair to stereotype all Americans in this way.

I once knew somebody (English) who when he first arrived in Germany wondered why so many streets were named "Einbahnstraße".


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:59
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Thanks for the reminder, Jack Aug 30, 2008

I decided to remove my earlier post - the joke is old and not really that funny on repetition.

Driving on the German motorway myself for the first time, I was surprised at how many different routes there were to a place called 'Ausfahrt' ....

One of the items on the agenda at the coming pow-wow in Denmark is our own translating gaffes as a sort of warming up exercise. Most of mine are stupid, not funny, unfortunately.

It's healthy to laugh at yourself, and laugh with others, not at them, and luckily there is still plenty to laugh at.



Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
If you must know.. Aug 30, 2008

I was drinking wine when I posted the original message.

I do understand that people could easily find it offensive. I meant no harm by posting it. Even so, I am stunned at how Americentric some people in the USA are.

Get this......I read that 2 out of 3 young adults in the USA can't locate Iraq on a world map. And we've been fighting a war there for only five years.......

Note to self: Don't post on ProZ if you are drunk or even tipsy.

--Srta Sara

(Who is sober right now!)


Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 20:59
English to Russian
+ ...
I don't find this joke offensive at all. Aug 30, 2008

In fact, it is one of my favorite jokes as well.

Face it - this joke represents the reality. Oh, of course there are exceptions - in fact, every American reading this is such an exception; and yet the joke perfectly describes the majority of Americans.

It has many reasons, but one of them might have to do with the American educational system. The great majority of monolingual Americans will tell you that they "took" a few semesters of Spanish or another foreign language in college or high school, and may be even got good grades in it - and yet, they can neither speak nor understand it.

The key to understanding this lies, in my opinion, in "taking" certain subjects, as opposed to studying them. When you "take" a class in languages, geography, math, science, etc., you saturate your short-term memory with stuff that will likely come up on a test, regurgitate it to your teacher's satisfaction on the test day, and then - forget about it.

This is what has been sold to us as "education". This so called "education" does not give you knowledge, or critical thinking skills - instead, it prepares you to take multiple choice tests. This explains, by the way, why so many people cannot find Iraq (or just about any other country, for this matter) on the map, or need a calculator to divide 270 by 10.

Thanks for posting this joke, Srta. Sara. It's not new to me, but I still enjoy it.

[Edited at 2008-08-30 22:17]


Therrien  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:59
English to French
+ ...
Very very right Sep 24, 2008

You're very right Alexandra.

[Edited at 2008-09-24 20:36]


Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 20:59
English to Russian
+ ...
Thank you, Therrien! Sep 24, 2008

Therrien wrote:

You're very right Alexandra.

[Edited at 2008-09-24 20:36]

You made my day!


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

One of my favorite jokes

Advanced search

Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search