Happy Tuesday, GLNers, and hang on to your stomachs! Today’s translation story might be a bit much for you if you get grossed out easily, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
This particular story takes place in Germany. The setting: Freimarkt, an Oktoberfest-like festival that occurs in northern Germany every fall. I was studying abroad in Bremen and was at Freimarkt with a few friends (also studying abroad), and, being in Germany, the group decided to seek out some sausage. We came upon a stall that announced, “ROSSWURST” in huge letters (“Wurst” means sausage, so we knew we were on the right track) and there seemed to be many customers enjoying the sausages from this stall, so everyone decided to dig in. As a vegetarian, I refrained from the “sausage fest,” so to speak, but watched on as everyone enjoyed their snack.
At this point I should add that one of the people in the group had studied in Germany before, and spoke quite fluently. However, he waited until people were mid-way through eating to inform the group exactly what they were eating. All of a sudden, he started neighing. To his credit, his neighs were pretty realistic, although everyone was incredibly confused. Once we finally got him to stop neighing, he explained the reason behind his seemingly erratic behavior.
“Guys, you’re eating horse. Rosswurst means horse sausage. Didn’t you know that?”
We were pretty shocked, but also confused. Everyone’s reaction was, “Of course we didn’t know that! Doesn’t “Pferd” mean horse? Why isn’t the word “Pferd” in there anywhere??”
Well, sometimes things just don’t translate as smoothly as you would expect…and it turns out that some of the best mis-translations occur when you forget to actually try to translate something in the first place!
(Have you had a lost in translation moment? Share it with us and it could be featured on G-Blogodaria!)