May 2024


Whatchamacallit 91: Renouncement

This hanger was attached to a window somewhere in Germany – it is dual language with a terrible, almost literal, translation of the German text on the other side:

Liebe Gäste,

Sie verzichten gern auf ungebetene Besucher?

Dann halten Sie bitte dieses Fenster geschlossen!

Vielen Dank


Learning English: I’m OK in OK

A couple of months ago, one of my colleagues told me about a book that he’d read in grade 8 English: I’m OK in OK: The Diary of My Year in Oklahoma.

I decided to read the book.

For those of you familiar with the EU ranking of language skills, the book is rated A2 […]

Nothing like differences between what you’re told to do in German and in English…

Today I picked up a new pair of shoes and was given a free can of G-Wax that I could use to waterproof my new shoes.

I read the instructions on the bottom of the tin:

Anwendung: Sparsam mit den Fingern oder einem Tuch auftragen.

Basically, I’m supposed to sparingly apply it with […]

Email from a “professional” translating firm…

View from Yerevan

Over the weekend I received a request from a professional translation agency to use one of my photos out of my Flickr stream on their new website.

Unfortunately my initial thought was that the professional translating firm should work on improving their English before they work on their website. I wouldn’t […]

Google Translate Fail

I found the following sentence on Amazon.de:

Auf Lager. Zustellung kann bis zu 2 zusätzliche Tage in Anspruch nehmen.

Instead of taking the 5 seconds necessary to fully digest and understand it, I popped it into Google Translate:

In stock. Delivery may take up to 2 weeks.

After re-reading the German sentence I knew immediately […]

Sure Randy drinks the *local* Thüringen Waldquell water, but…

After a couple weeks of not remembering when I had my camera with me, I finally had my camera with me when I took a good look at the billboard below:

This is a billboard for water that comes from my (current) home state of Thüringen:

Who has the best climate protection […]

Sweet! I’m inside, but where is the exit?

Today I popped into Weimar’s remaining Douglas[1] to pick up some perfume.

I rarely go into the store because I rarely use cologne myself, but today I had to buy some perfume for a girl – a very specific perfume that is difficult to find under the best of circumstances and is never found in […]

I’m a little slow!

This morning I received a text message from Michele J:

I am up, coffeed and available by cell.

Unfortunately I wasn’t coffeed which led to a slightly bizarre conversation in which I talked about her being “coiffed” –telling her that hair was important.

It wasn’t until late afternoon when I happened to be going through […]

Favorite Disclaimer of All Time

I read several blogs that are devoted to issues of public transport which naturally includes discussion of the MTA, the public organization in charge of the New York City subways, buses, and trains.

All of the blogs are making note that on Wednesday, the MTA is going to unveil a new website.

While I’m sure […]

always hard 2 red

I must come out of the closet: I am a spelling and grammar Taliban.

Maybe that’s a bit too dramatic. I’m not perfect and I do take shortcuts along the way.

Ultimately my goal is to communicate ideas—and each as clear as possible.

I’ve ceded some strict middle- and high-school rules. I’m not as insistent […]