Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Communication and Poor Translation

I'm currently enrolled in a Global Management course as part of my MBA curriculum. We are learning about the importance of communication across cultures. I found the following excerpt from an assigned reading entertaining:
...Remember that grammar is complex and the seemingly slight misuse (or even placement) of a word can change the meaning of an utterance substantially. All of the following, each originally composed to assist English-speaking guests, have appeared on signs in hotels around the world:

FRANCE: “Please leave your values at the desk.”
MEXICO (to assure guests about the safety of drinking water): “The manager has
personally passed all the water served here.”
JAPAN: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”
NORWAY: “Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.”
SWITZERLAND: “Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.”
GREECE (at check-in line): “We will execute customers in strict rotation.”

(International Business Environments and Operations, 12th Edition (2009), Daniels, Radebaugh, and Sullivan, p. 73)

1 comment:

  1. Those are classic. I personally love the one about being executed in strict rotation. How thoughtful. I really do appreciate order and timeliness.