translation, please

I’m not ready for the UN, but tonight I actually was called upon to translate… INTO French!

It happened at dinner. And, admittedly, when it comes to food I can generally hold my own. It’s not that we even eat out that often.. it’s just that it must be important to me.

First, I jumped in and saved Dad from ordering a glass of sparkling merlot. The waiter spoke what I’ll call waiter English… enough to pretty much do his job with a client who doesn’t speak French. Dad mistakenly judged his English level to be more of, say, actual English speaker level. He ordered a glass of Merlot (despite our trying to explain that wines here are named for the regions in which they are grown, not for the grape). The waiter thought he asked for a glass of “d’eau.” And he asked if he wanted that to be sparkling or still.

After dinner, Dad treaded into more treacherous language territory. He tried to explain that earlier today he’d gotten a plate of pasta that he hadn’t paid for because he didn’t have any cash and that he wanted to pay for it now. The waiter just looked at him then looked at me and said “je ne comprends pas.” That’s my line. (It means “I don’t understand.”) Then he actually expected me to translate. And I did.

This trip to Geneva sure makes me feel smart. Or at least better about my French skills.

One Response to “translation, please”

  1. D.A.D. says:

    Let the casual reader know I intended earlier to pay using American Express, and it was the restaurant owner who said to come back later with cash, as their Amex minimum would cost me too much for that one meal. Otherwise, the mental image of a derelict begging for food comes to mind, perhaps.

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