Two business men meet. They put their hands out to shake. The first man says “こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa)” in Japanese. The second man doesn’t speak Japanese, so he doesn’t have a clue as to what the first is saying. He responds with “Entschuldigung?” in German. Both phrases are polite. Neither gets the men’s meanings transmitted as there is no interpreter with them.
My husband has traveled extensively worldwide for work. He has needed an interpreter on a regular basis as he speaks no other language than English. He doesn’t seem to think it odd or abnormal to use an interpreter. When I asked him if he’d be willing to travel to Japan again completely on his own, he states categorically, “No way! I don’t speak Japanese!”
So Steve does understand the concept of translation, but he becomes irate when I ask to be the translator between him and our kids.
Kidlet spent the night with Manlet Sunday night. (Eldest son pointed out that due to being in his early thirties, he has bypassed the ‘kidlet’ stage and ‘manlet’ would be more appropriate. I’m not sure where that puts my twenty-something daughter, but I’ll work on a proper term for her. ‘Daughterlet' seems convoluted somehow.)
Monday afternoon Manlet brought kidlet home. Manlet’s roommate had come along. Roommate, Manlet and Kidlet were approaching our front door when Hublet, no – make that the Hubster, came charging up to kidlet.
“Don’t EVER forget and leave boards with nails in them lying around with the nails sticking up!” Hubster roared. "Someone will get hurt!" I could hear him clearly from the back of the house.
Huh? When did kidlet do that? I went quickly to the porch to mediate.
Apparently Kidlet didn’t. The Hubster had seen a board with nails sticking up over by his shop (probably one that he himself had left out, but wouldn’t admit to), and decided it was time to ‘depart knowledge’ to Kidlet as was his ‘right’ as father.
Ahhhh. Okay dear. You blew up on Kidlet, embarrassing him in front of his big bro and roommate. He had only just arrived and was expectng a 'welcome home'. You probably scared the snot out of him for no apparent reason.
“How am I supposed to talk to him then?” protested the Hubster.
Through me, Dear. I will translate for you.
“That’s stupid! I have the RIGHT to (blah blah blah blah blah),” insists the Hubster, who then turned to stomp off to his shop. He stayed angry all evening.
This morning I heard the garbage trucks out at the road. Our recycle bins are picked up every other week. I texted Steve to see if he remembered to put both regular garbage and recycle cans out last night.
He texted back that he had forgotten both. Translation: Kids have to do what he says at all times, but he forgets one of his only two weekly chores. Come to think of it, he hasn't mowed in a couple of weeks either.
(Translation of two men's conversation - first is saying "Hello" and second is saying "Excuse me?")