Off topic: Looking for translation jokes and humorous advice for newcomers to the profession
Thread poster: Maria Eugenia Farre

Maria Eugenia Farre  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dec 11, 2002

Hello all,



I\'m writing a speech for the graduation ceremony at a local translation school and I am trying to pepper it with some jokes featuring interpreters, translators or the profession.



Do you know any good ones? Also, if you want to impart humorous advice to the new translators I\'ll be addressing, I\'d love to hear it too. My first recommendation to them is to get a very comfortable chair and some exercise lest they be afflicted with gluteus traductorius within one year of professional activities.



Cheers,



ME

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-11 20:03 ]


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xxxOso
Spanish
+ ...
Hola Maria Eugenia ¶:^) Dec 11, 2002

Here\'s a site with many jokes on Translation and Languages



http://www3.sympatico.ca/srajano/jokes.html



Deadlines:



Translator gets 400 words to translate.

Client : How long will it take?

Translator : About a week.

Client : A whole week for just 400 words? God created the world in 6 days.

Translator : Then just take a look at this world and afterwards take a look at my translation.



\"The ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in any language is priceless.\"

ITI Bulletin, 6, 7, 1990



Translators do it bilingually.

Interpreters do it simultaneously.

Linguists do it with their tongues.



Gramatical Sex



A businessman arriving in Boston for a convention found that his first evening was free, and he decided to go find a good seafood restaurant that served Scrod, a Massachussetts specialty. Getting into a taxi, he asked the cab driver, \"Do you know where I can get Scrod around here?\" \"Sure,\" said the cabdriver. \"I know a few places... but I can tell you it\'s not often I hear someone use the third-person pluperfect indicative anymore!\"





HugZ from

Oso ¶:^)





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-11 20:49 ]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:53
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jokes / Anecdotes Dec 11, 2002

Double Negatives Defined



A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. \"In English,\" he said, \"A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.\" A voice from the back of the room piped up, \"Yeah, right.\"



An Enterprising Translator



A Mexican bandit made a specialty of crossing the Rio Grande from time to time and robbing banks in Texas. Finally, a reward was offered for his capture and an enterprising Texas Ranger decided to track him down. After a lengthy search, he traced the bandit to his favorite cantina, snuck up behind him, put his trusty six-shooter to the bandit\'s head, and said, \"You\'re under arrest. Tell me where you hid the loot or I\'ll blow your brains out.\" But the bandit didn\'t speak English, and the Ranger didn\'t speak Spanish. Fortunately, a translator was in the saloon and translated the Ranger\'s message. The terrified bandit blurted out, in Spanish, that the loot was buried under the oak tree in back of the cantina. \"What did he say?\" asked the Ranger. The translator answered, \"He said \'Get lost, Gringo. You wouldn\'t dare shoot me.\'\"



-------

The Dairy Association\'s huge success with the campaign \"Got Milk?\" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention that the Spanish translation read \"Are you lactating?\"



An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope\'s visit. Instead of \"I saw the Pope\" (el Papa), the shirts read \"I Saw the Potato\" (la papa).



When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its \"Fly In Leather\" campaign literally, which meant \"Fly Naked\" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.



More at: www.anotherlanguage.com/funny.htm

and www.anotherlanguage.com/jokes.htm







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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Monitoring Howlers Dec 11, 2002

I used to work for BBC Monitoring. Various sections kept their own books of howlers etc. (I was responsible for the Russian one). More recently, someone made a general compilation, which I posted some months ago in the Russian forum. Here it is again.



LATEST THING IN LETTER BOMBS:



4-50 1050 Washington: American Physicists’ Society says nuclear arms can destroy world and should not be used in letter sent to

world leaders (no comment)





ANOTHER BLACK DAY AT THE SOCK EXCHANGE





I Serve the Soviet Onion (yum yum!)



(text) Our special correspondent Petr Pelekhov reports from Baykonur cosmodrome:

The cosmonauts Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyev, who recently completed a 125-day space flight, are with growing confidence regaining earthly form.



The British Premier Margaret Thatcher has refused in her letter to the Soviet leadership the plan of the USSR for the entire eradication of the USSR till 2000, our permanent correspondent in London reports. . .



Ustinov today received head of chief of staff of Vietnamese army.



1. (slug rpt) Brezhnev and Danish Queen exchanged.



President Kenneth Kaunda today proclaimed the demolition of the Zambian Parliament.



11. (slug) The bowels of Krasnoyarsk Kray produce 2,000,000 cu.m. of natural gas a day.

(íåäðû Êðàñíîÿðñêîãî Êðàÿ...)



Special purpose units of the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry are protecting the vicinity of the government building in Bishkek, carrying rubber buttons.



(British TU delegation in N. Vietnam)

For her part, Mrs. Joan Maynard, member of the delegation, expressed the British women’s sympathy with and support for the Vietnamese people and pledged to contribute her vest with the British women and labouring people to render more effective support to the Vietnamese people’s resistance. (VNA, September 1970)



All middle schools. . . must give students thorough instruction in driving vehicles and tractors as quickly as possible . . . (Pyongyang home service)



Comrades having a keen sense of smell immediately realised that the emergence of this tendency of extravagant eating and drinking marked a new trend in class struggle and that it was consequently necessary to heighten one’s vigilance.

This gust of evil wind was fanned up by the class enemies.



The British aircraft-carrier Illustrious has flown off for the Falklands.



23. A Danish plane crashed in Hangover.



MOST JAPANESE COMPANIES RUTHLESSLY LAY OUT WORKERS AND EMPLOYEES WHEN THEY TURN FIFTY.



Kirilenko: My family is a tremendous pillar of support for me . . . I have a very stable and reliable rear. I am extremely grateful to my wife for this. And I love her very much.



RANGOON DEC 4 CETEKA – A DELICACY BEING SERVED IN THE BURMESE TOWN OF MOULMEIN IS WHIPPED CREAM MADE FROM TOILET PAPER.

THIS NOVELTY HAS CAUSED TOILET PAPER TO DISAPPEAR SUDDENLY FROM THE MARKET, TO BE OBTAINABLE ONLY ON THE BLACK MARKET AT FOUR TIMES THE NORMAL PRICE. WHEN THE CAUSE OF THIS WAS SOUGHT, IT WAS FOUND THAT THE OWNERS OF STREET TEA ROOMS ARE MIXING TOILET PAPER WITH MILK TO OBTAIN A SUBSTANCE THAT LOOKS LIKE WHIPPED CREAM EVEN THOUGH IT IS SOMEWHAT TASTELESS.



Lee Kuan Yew’s hopes on the Chinese New Year. In his message to the nation on the Chinese New Year, reported by Singapore Radio on 28th January, the Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, pointed out that only 26,000 Chinese babies had been born in the year that was ending, the Year of the Tiger. He expressed the hope “that we can do better in this Year of the Rabbit”.



. . . “We are happy to see that in recent years, the academic atmosphere has become thicker than at any time in the past, and the thinking of the academic circles has been unprecedentedly active.” (‘Red Flag’, Peking, 1 Oct 86)



ALL NEWSPAPERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY REPORTED DAILY ON THE CONDITION OF THE PRIME MINISTER FOLLOWING A SURGICAL OPERATION. QUOTING THE SURGEONS IN CHARGE, THE JOURNALS SAID THE CHANCES OF HIS SURVIVAL DEPENDED ON HOW SOON HE WOULD BE ABLE TO EMIT GAS FROM HIS INTESTINES.



TEXT MOMBASA, AUG 30: ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YESTERDAY’S EVENTS AT THE ON-GOING MOMBASA SHOW WAS A UNIQUE POLO MATCH BETWEEN TWO LAMU TEAMS WHICH PLAYED ON DONKEYS. THE FAMOUS LAMU DONKEYS SENT SHOW GOERS REELING WITH LAUGHTER AS THEY DISPLAYED THEIR SPORTS SKILLS.

THE DONKEY, WHICH HAS THE REPUTATION OF BEING A STUBBORN CREATURE, LIVED UP TO ITS REPUTATION TO THE AMUSEMENT OF THE PACKED ARENA BY PERSISTENTLY THROWING OFF ITS RIDER OR REFUSING TO MOVE, AT TIMES EVEN GOING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

THE MOST INTERESTING THING, HOWEVER, LAY IN THE GOAL AREA, WHERE THE FEROCIOUS LOOKING CAMELS KEPT GUARD. THE TALL AND UNWIELDY CREATURES, DESPITE THEIR SIZE, MANAGED TO LIVE UP TO THE EXPECTATIONS OF GOALKEEPER.



MAURITANIANS EXPRESS SYMPATHY FOR USSR

(Êîììåíòàðèè, êàê ãîâîðÿò, èçëèøíè!)



10. The Algerian Press Agency APS announced on Thursday that a daft treaty will embody the union of Algeria and Libya.



JAKARTA, OCT 23 (ANTARA).- INDONESIA WILL HAVE AN INDIGO PROCESSING FACTORY IN EMBARAVA, CENTRAL JAVA, TO SUPPLY BATIK PRODUCERS WITH DYING STAFF.



Education of non-Party members – from the list of questions



1. Why are we building socialism? Because it is better than working.



2. What is the difference between capitalism and socialism? In capitalism, man is exploited by man. In socialism, it is exactly the other way round.



3. What are the specific characteristics of socialism in our country? In our country, socialism can only be built in very good weather. It must not freeze or rain, there must be no wind, it must be warm, but not very hot, and it must not snow.



4. What are the greatest enemies of socialism? They are: China, spring, summer, autumn, winter and imperialism.



5. Is it true that socialist production is somewhat lagging behind? Yes, it is. Socialism could have been built a long time ago if the working people did it as a moonlighting job.



6. Will money exist under communism? Dogmatists claim that it will not. Revisionists claim that it will. True Marxists-Leninists claim that for some it will, for some it won’t.



7. Are there some countries in which socialism cannot be built? Yes, there are, e.g., Luxembourg, Andorra or San Marino. It has been scientifically proved that such small countries could not accommodate such a huge mess.



16. LUXEMBOURG, AGERPRES. 30/11/1978 1909

PROGRAMME

A PROGRAMME OF COOPERATION IN EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND CULTURE WAS SIGNED IN LUXEMBOURG BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF ROMANIA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE GRAND DUCKY OF LUXEMBOURG.



The comrades, showing profound proletarian feeling for one another, hit the nail on the head, touched one another where it hurt, and in this way helped one another in fierce ideological struggle. (Chinghai provincial service in Chinese)



| 126 | 1802 | HARARE: RSA metal workers on strike against racism and better wages.



THE VICE-MINISTER IN CHARGE OF FOREIGN TRADE AND CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE ALGERO-SWEDEN JOINT COMMISSION ALSO AUDIENCED JEAN CHRISTOPHE OBERG, SWEDEN’S AMBASSADOR TO ALGERIA.

THE TWO SIDES EXAMINED ECONOMIC LIES BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES.



Iranian competition winners to be sent to the fronts.

The northern Iranian regional radio in Sari reported on 30th January that the local revolutionary guards had organized a literary competition to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution (11th February): the first 200 winners would be sent to the war fronts, the second 200 would go on a pilgrimage to Mashhad, and the third 100 would receive a small library.



(Single Excerpt) (Passage omitted on replying to various letters) Brother Akbar A., a 16-year-old from Urmiyeh: your wish is against nature and contrary to the Holy Islamic Sharia. Try to avoid non-constructive contacts by busying yourself with religious activities, and thus make your thoughts creative and cleansed. (Passage omitted).



SHEVARDNADZE’S TALK WITH CAMEL



‘People on the Bog’. (Duration 30 minutes)



3. SUPPORT FOR AGRICULTURE IN KWANGTUNG ((SUMMARY)) REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEES AT ALL LEVELS IN HUACHOU COUNTY HAVE GRASPED TIGHTLY THE COLLECTION OF BARNYARD MANURE Canton, 24.2.71


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Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:53
English to Spanish
Straight from the Internet, but funny! Dec 11, 2002

Hi Maria!



I got this in my mailbox a few months ago. It\'s probably too long for any speech, but it\'s made me laugh so much I wanted to share it with you!



You are an interpreter if..



a.. You can rise at 6:30 a.m. many days in a row.

b.. Your working wardrobe consists of suits, which you keep wrapped in

plastic to avoid wrinkles and expedite packing.

c.. You are prone to sore throats and foot problems.

d.. You talk all day; in your leisure time, you frequently just want

to be quiet.

e.. Your bathrobe has been to hotels all over the globe and in half

the cities in the U.S.

f.. You are sick of hotel and restaurant meals and are dying for

home-cooked food.

g.. You know many words in your second language that you have never

seen written down.

h.. You have met most of the professional colleagues you know on

interpreting assignments (or at ATA conferences.)

i.. You are always traveling and long to be at home more so you can

spend quality time with your family.

j.. You struggle not to gain weight from constant exposure to banquet

and catered meals and your work leaves you little time for exercise.

k.. You stay up half the night stewing about the way you interpreted a

term.

l.. Your favorite dictionaries are battered from rough treatment by

baggage handlers.

m.. It drives you nuts to have the work you do referred to as

translation.

n.. You are chronically tired and short of money and you suspect that

the world underrates how hard you work and how much you contribute.



You are a translator if.



a.. You are miserable unless you can get up 11 a.m. and go to bed at

3:00 a.m.

b.. Your working wardrobe consists of jeans (shorts) and sweatshirts

(t-shirts), which you store conveniently on the floor of your closet.

c.. You are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome and backache

d.. You are alone with a computer all day; when you are with other

people you tend to jabber.

e.. Your bathrobe is what you are apt to be wearing at 2 in the

afternoon.

f.. You are sick of looking at four walls all day and are dying to go

out to dinner.

g.. You know many words in your second language that you do not know

how to pronounce.

h.. You have met most of the professional colleagues you know through

e-mail or Internet chat rooms (or at ATA conferences.)

i.. At home you are always working or thinking about work, so the best

way to spend quality time with your family is to travel together.

j.. You struggle not to gain weight from spending all day sitting on

your duff and the constant availability of your refrigerator and your

work leaves you little time for exercise.

k.. You stay up half the night stewing about how you\'ll translate a

term the next day.

l.. Your favorite dictionaries are battered from the rough treatment

they get on your desk when you are in a \"term search frenzy.\"

m.. It drives you nuts to be asked if you ever did \"simultaneous

translation\" for a celebrity.

n.. You are chronically tired and short of money, and you suspect that

the world underrates how hard you work and how much you contribute.





Besos



Andrea (a year later...)


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Interpretation Bloopers and Dilemmas Dec 11, 2002

Here is the funniest site on interpretation I have ever seen. Are you drinking anything right now? If you are, put it down before you read these, or it will be all over your computer screen in a moment.



http://web.wanadoo.be/brian.huebner/blooper.htm



Some samples:



An Italian chairman who always speaks in French tries to compliment the (female) French delegate\'s attempt at Italian saying:

\"Vous n\'imaginez pas le plaisir que je ressens lorsque je sens ma langue dans votre bouche\"

(sentire means hear in Italian, as opposed to feel in French)

-----

Heard in a conference in Vatican City. The delegates were nuns:

>french: la plus grand decouverte de l\'humanite, le génome

>spanish: el mayor descubrimiento de la humanidad: el joven muchacho

-----


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:53
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
El Presidente de los Estados Unidos Jorge Arbusto Dec 12, 2002

need I say more?





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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 09:53
English
+ ...
The Tunisian Sandwiches of Paris Dec 12, 2002

One Tunisian restaurant puts a spiritual twist on the product by calling them \"sandwishes\". One of his competitor may be obsessed with djinns and houris, for he spells it \"sandwitches\" while yet a third perhaps drew inspiration from a long tour of duty along the Libyan border, for he spells it \"sandwatches\" but maybe the last fellow I remarked was only advertising his surname, which read \"Sanvitch\".

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María Alejandra Funes
Local time: 22:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
You are a translator if... Jan 15, 2003

Andrea,



It really made me laugh! And it\'s true!!!



Rgds,



Alejandra


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Raluca Ion  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:53
English to Romanian
+ ...
a few linguist jokes Feb 3, 2003

The linguist\'s husband walked in and caught his wife sleeping with a young co-ed. He said, \"Why, Susan, I\'m surprised.\" She bolted upright, pointed her finger and corrected him, \"No. I am surprised. You are astonished.\"



An English professor complained to the pet shop proprietor, \"The parrot I purchased uses improper language.\"

\"I\'m surprised,\" said the owner. \"I\'ve never taught that bird to swear.\"

\"Oh, it isn\'t that,\" explained the professor. \"But yesterday I heard him split an infinitive.\"



A language is a dialect with an army and a navy



If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn\'t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed and dry cleaners depressed?



Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted! Even more, bedmakers will be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be deflowered, bulldozer operators will be degraded, software engineers will be detested, and even musical composers will eventually decompose.



Why is abbreviated such a long word?

Why does monosyllabic have five syllables?

Why is brassiere singular and panties plural?

Why isn\'t phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Why are they called apartments, when they\'re all stuck together?

Why do scientists call it research when looking for something new?

Why do they call it a building? It looks like they\'re finished. Why isn\'t it a built?

Why is it when you transport something by car, it\'s called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it\'s called cargo?

If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

If price and worth mean the same thing, why priceless and worthless are opposites?

Is there another word for synonym?

Is it possible to be totally partial?



How many linguists does it take to change a light bulb?

One, but he must consult the Oxford English Dictionary.





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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
:-))) Feb 5, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-02-03 22:55, ralucaion wrote:



If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn\'t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed and dry cleaners depressed?





and...translators are....?????????

Au





Hi María Eugenia:



I´ve posted this mini poem some months ago, in case you have not read it. It´s great and...true!!!!



Cheers, Au





MANY CRITICS, NO DEFENDERS

TRANSLATORS HAVE BUT TWO REGRETS:

WHEN WE HIT...NO ONE REMEMBERS

WHEN WE MISS...NO ONE FORGETS





It´s better to know this from the very beginning, isn´t it?



Au



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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 09:53
English
+ ...
Jack, would you know... Feb 6, 2003

the details of this top Allied meeting in Casablanca in 1942 or so when the Soviet translator translator rendered the city into Russian as \"the White House\" and so the KGB never targeted the meeting for penetration?

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Silvina Beatriz Codina  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:53
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interpreters replaced by headphones Feb 6, 2003

I loved the site recommended by GoodWords, and I felt rather amazed to find no less than three stories similar to something that happened to a colleague interpreter. I had always thought that the person in her story was a unique idiot: now I see he follows something of a trend!



My colleague was once working at certain government institution here in Argentina, when she started a conversation with a high-up official of this institution. He asked what she did for a living, and she said she was an interpreter. He asked what was that and she explained.



\"Oh, but there are machines that do that now!\" the man said.

Horrified, the interpreter asked what he meant.



\"Well, we have these machines right here in the building, in the auditorium. There are these little headphones, and whenever there is someone speaking in a foreign language, you put them on, and you hear their speech in Spanish!\"





[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-06 13:26]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Where is Grenada? Feb 6, 2003

No, Arthur, I may be pretty ancient but I was not working for BBC Monitoring in 1942 (I was only 11 years old at the time).

But I remember the occasion when the USA mounted an invasion of Grenada to overthrow a left-wing government there. The story was reported on Soviet TV, and illustrated by a map of Spain with the position of Granada marked on it.


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