Lost in translation

One of our Bellyache crew was recently flying back to Asia from Europe and experienced language difficulties that surely must be a result of the thinner than usual air at 30,000 feet. Upon finishing a pleasant enough meal the Bellyacher asked for another glass of the quite agreeable wine from the Languedoc region of France. […]


One of our Bellyache crew was recently flying back to Asia from Europe and experienced language difficulties that surely must be a result of the thinner than usual air at 30,000 feet. Upon finishing a pleasant enough meal the Bellyacher asked for another glass of the quite agreeable wine from the Languedoc region of France. The stewardess of airline XXX – no we won’t name the airline because we’re actually nice people – responded (in French, just in case you don’t pick that up!), “Oui, certainement monsieur!” and promptly handed our dumbfounded colleague, a… toothpick! A bit gawbsmacked, our dear friend was left uncharacteristically speechless. This of course left just enough time for the flight attendant to make her way far enough down the aisle that to reel her back would have caused a wee bit of ruckus. In the end our very thirsty and slightly perplexed Bellyacher did get his wine (and a few glasses more judging by the hangover he had in the office the next day) and all ended well, sort of. You see, he swears that the stewardess, when the misunderstanding was pointed out to her, replied: “Ah, je suis d¨¦sol¨¦, mais vous ¨ºtes un tr¨¨s stupide Anglais enceinte!” Actually, we just made that part up because we love playing with Google’s instant translation function! But, the incident did get us wondering… how could there have been such a mix up? So we Googled ¡®toothpick’ to see if that would shed any light on the incident. ¡®Cure-dent’ (would that be ¡®le’ or ¡®la’?) was the translation we received and that clearly didn’t help much in clarifying the issue. Oh well, life goes on (eh bien la vie continue!).