Category Archives: For Laughs

But I have No. 5

n_5-eau-de-parfum-vaporizzatore-200ml.3145891255607At the conferences I work at as a simultaneous interpreter, the audience can listen to a translation in one of the available languages through headphones connected to a receiver. The receiver has a volume control and a channel selection system. Sometimes, people who are not used to these things find them hard to use. They may not know how to turn them on, for example. Or they may not know that there is a dial to choose the language you want to hear.

At one conference, the chairperson was a French lady speaking English with a very strong accent. She started the meeting very quickly and was already down to item 2 on the agenda when someone in the front row shouted that they couldn’t hear the translation.

She peered over her stylish glasses and said, ” I sink you ‘ave ze rong number Chanel. The last word was pronounced as if she were talking about the famous perfume.

This in itself was delightful enough. If I had written the script, even better would have been for the member of the audience to indignantly protest, “But I have number 5!”.

Stop beating around the mulberry bush and do the needful- Indian complaints

Dear Sir, It is with great agony that I wish to bring to your kind notice the callousness shown by some employee of your deptt.

What a way to begin a complaint! It certainly grabs my attention. This is a letter on the Indian Consumers Complaint Forum addressed to the passport office in Jaipur. And what is this callousness which caused the writer so much agony?

 In my passport they have changed my surname spelling.but i filled surname spelling correct in my forum.currently In the passport surname is ..AR… but it should be …RA… my passport no is … and file no is …

It is difficult to belive that such thing should have happened under your efficient control.please get the needful done at the earlist.

The ending is as accomplished as the beginning: “It is difficult to believe that such a thing could have happened under your efficient control.”

I am a great admirer of Indian English. I believe they will be the last country to continue to speak what I consider to be real English, which separates nouns, adverbs, adjectives and verbs into orderly clauses, something which is increasingly slipping away in Britain and America. In a hundred years’ time when everyone else will be conjugating the verb to be, as follows:

I mlike You rlike He/She/It zlike We rlike You rlike They rlike

Indians will still be using am, are and is.

It is true that they use phrases which are slightly different from what I am used to. I once used to translate at a committee which was chaired by an Indian gentleman who  used to say things like:

We are beating around the mulberry bush

We are sweeping everything under the carpet and the carpet itself is getting bloated.

I see Norway with his flag up, impedimenting progress as usual.

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