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Friday, July 18, 2003

Merci outil de traduction de Google

Suddenly I speak French. Well, not exactly suddenly. The French language and I go way back. More about that later.

There’s a very nice lady in a small town in France that I’ve been dealing with lately. She is a seller of goods she makes by hand. I am a purchaser (on behalf of someone else) of her goods. She is fluent in French, of course. And I am fluent in English, for the most part. We speak to each other on the telephone.

Both of us know a few words in the other’s language. For instance, we are both fluent in the word for “bank” which is “bank” or “banque” as we sometimes like to say it. Then, of course, there’s the universal word for “dollar” which is “dollar.” But, sometimes I like to say “Euro” just to impress her with my vast knowledge of money. Unfortunately, “banque, bank, banque,” and “dollar, Euro, dollar,” does not a conversation make.

Enter the Google translation tool. I can now phone her with full confidence that she will understand almost everything I say. As I’m dialing her phone number, I already have my first sentence loaded in the translator.

Hello! This is Marie from Mr. Smith’s office.

Which translates to:

Bonjour! C'est Marie de bureau de M. Smith’s.

Mr. Smith is not his real name. Must protect the innocent. She replies with something I can’t fully understand, but I’m relieved to know that she has understood me.

Greetings from the United States! How are you today?

Translates to:

Salutations des Etats-Unis! Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui?

We go on with the pleasantries for a while. Me typing and talking. She replying and laughing. It is time to get down to business. I type the following into the translator:

I would like to place an order with you.

Which comes back as:

Je voudrais confier une commande à vous.

Ow! That doesn’t sound too friendly. I want to command her? I think not. I can’t say that. Bear in mind that, even though I was pretty much born and raised in the middle of a cornfield, I do have some sense of what to say and not to say in the company of others. Sort of. So, I try it again:

I would like to make a purchase of some of your merchandise.

And the translation is:

Je voudrais faire un achat de certaines de vos marchandises.

Ahh, that is much much better. Fortunately, I have her little handmade catalog in front of me which has one item per page. I am able to make the transaction by reciting the page numbers in French. You see, I am quite fluent in French numbers. It was a long time ago and he was my teacher... Wait. That's a different conversation.

Merci outil de traduction de Google!

Posted by Marie at July 18, 2003 8:22 PM

Comments

Hey now, that will come in really handy. I have a friend I chat with online who is from France. also my husband just got a new job with a company out of Quebec City in Canada. He get such a kick out of talking to their secretary. HA.. he thinks french women sound SO sexy when they talk. She probably has a wart on her nose and weighs about 400 lbs. :-)

Posted by: Tudy at July 19, 2003 8:22 AM

One day I'll get this trackback stuff down. ROFL.. sorry

Posted by: Tudy at July 19, 2003 9:10 AM

No problem on the trackback, Tudy.

Posted by: Marie at July 19, 2003 10:55 PM

Hi Marie. That was hilarious! My family is French-Canadian, so I got a real kick out of your attempts to make the world just a wee bit smaller. Thanks for sharing...

Posted by: Jeff at July 21, 2003 12:19 PM

Jeff, thanks! That's a great compliment in my book. :)

Posted by: Marie at July 21, 2003 10:55 PM