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One blooper per answer, so we can vote up the best one(s)

asked 12 Oct '11, 22:39

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck ♦♦
3.9k203350

edited 12 Oct '11, 22:40


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Chairman thanking the usual suspects at the end of a meeting:

Original: "Je souhaite remercier tout particulièrement ma secrétaire"

Rendition: "I'd like to sp..., to sp..., to spank my secretary."

("Specially thank" was what the interpreter was trying to say.)

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answered 02 Nov '11, 12:36

eriogerg's gravatar image

eriogerg
14113

edited 02 Nov '11, 12:37

1

Just curious: was the bumbling interpreter male or female?

(02 Nov '11, 15:18) Vincent Buck ♦♦

The interpreter was female.

(04 Nov '11, 03:06) eriogerg

I want to vote for this one twice!!

(09 Nov '11, 16:03) Michelle

One alternative to voting up twice would be to award extra points, no?

(04 Feb '12, 14:02) Luigi

International organization meeting:

Original: ..in our fight against global terrorism, we have hired 5 translators with the appropiate languages

Interpreter:.....en nuestra lucha contra el terrorismo mundial, hemos contratado a cinco terroristas (*)....

(*) we have hired 5 terrorists

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answered 02 Nov '11, 06:22

Conrado's gravatar image

Conrado
1.1k1415

a very recent one I perpetrated, actually only last week: during the public oral stage of a tax case at the Court in Luxembourg, I thought I heard a party's high-speed counsel, commenting impromptu on what that party could legitimately have been expected to do or not do, say: "Turkey does not vote for Christmas" - which I took to be an odd way of signifying to each its own, using a non-Christian country and a Christian festivity - and proceeded to render it as best I could. What had actually been said had of course been "A turkey does not vote for Xmas" meaning a taxpayer is not free to decide whether to pay tax...oh well! ;-)

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answered 28 Nov '11, 12:13

msr's gravatar image

msr
4.6k6923

During a meeting on small countries, a speaker mentioned that Andorra was the Hong-Kong of the Pyrenees - which was rendered by a straight-faced interpreter as "Andorra is the King-Kong of the Pyrenees"... Much more impressive ;-)

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answered 08 Apr '12, 02:28

Danielle's gravatar image

Danielle
2.7k5712

Contexte: que faire avec les excédents alimentaires en 1986?
Ce que j'ai entendu de la bouche de l'orateur Irlandais: "we could send them to turd countries"

L'interprète débutante gênée: Nous pouvons peut-être les acheminer vers les pays où nous envoyons déjà ce dont nous n'avons plus besoin.
Interprète d'encadrement: "C'est ça. La diplomatie et la langue anglaise vont rarement de pair"

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answered 02 Nov '11, 11:21

potdecolle's gravatar image

potdecolle
1013

And again from a very intense practice session before the exams:

Original: All member states...

Said: Alle Mitgliedsständer...

Oh yeah, we shared a big laugh there!

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answered 27 Nov '11, 11:23

Matt's gravatar image

Matt
2634613

1

Vielen Dank, dass Du uns Witze auf Japanisch ersparst!

(27 Nov '11, 12:27) Angela ♦

Said: "We need to give new impotence to this project"
Should have said: ".... impetus ...."

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answered 28 Oct '11, 20:39

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Andy
6.8k212839

Heard in a final consecutive exam:

Original: "One theory as to why the dinosaurs became extinct has to do with the fact that dinosaur eggs were so large" (don't ask me if this is true or not, but it's what the speaker was claiming)

Interpretation: "Una teoría dice que los dinosaurios se extinguieron porque tenían los huevos muy grandes."

To the student's credit, he managed to finish the speech with a straight face - and if I'm not mistaken, he even passed...

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answered 28 Nov '11, 17:17

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Michelle
1.6k101831

I was doing consecutive EN < > ES. The meeting started off in Spanish and I did two 4-5 minute segments into EN. Then the floor was passed to the other side, and I did another 4-5 minutes, at the end of which the head of the Spanish-speaking group gave me a big smile and said in EN: "That was excellent, but would you mind saying it again, this time in Spanish?" I had just done 5 minutes of EN-to-EN without being interrupted! We all had a good chuckle.

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answered 04 Feb '12, 14:18

Luigi's gravatar image

Luigi
2.0k61623

;-) I had the same happen to me years ago... what I found fascinating was that not only did the monitoring part of my brain not sound the alarm BUT its processing part, I realised looking back, had been merrily doing its stuff as if I was indeed dealing with two different languages, "disambiguanting", adding/deleting necessary/superfluous bits,"localising" figures of speech etc...fascinating! How right Danitza was, if more proof was needed!

(05 Feb '12, 08:42) msr

Slip of the tongue heard during a conference on religion in Italy:

Speaker: la Santa Messa

Interpreter: the Holy Mess

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answered 30 Mar '12, 06:51

olol's gravatar image

olol
913

edited 30 Mar '12, 09:05

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck ♦♦
3.9k203350

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question asked: 12 Oct '11, 22:39

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