Friday, July 19, 2013

Lost in translation

They say English is one of the official languages of the Philippines but, with all due respect, I'm not so sure.  Before you go thinking that I'm being a snob or that I believe everyone should understand me (and I them) even though I'm in a foreign country, NOT SO.  I acknowledge on a very regular basis that the Filipinos' mastery of English is far far better than my fluency in Tagalog (which doesn't exist...not even in the slightest).  

But we were told that it would be unnecessary to learn the language because English is so common.  Unfortunately, that doesn't mean conversations go quite as you might hope.  Here is the text exchange between myself and the painter who is coming to give us a quote for painting some of our walls (you know, hypothetically).  

Date of Conversation:  evening of Wednesday 17 July

Me: Hi, my friend gave me your number.  Can you come by our apt and give a quote on painting some walls?
(immediate response)Painter: Ok mam
(immediate response)Me: We are at (address).  Any time next Friday after 9 am would be great.
(several hours later)Painter: Sorry for late reply i was busy driving my boss also on that condo at 30th floor.  I was on duty the whole day.  I can meet you after my duty. 
Painter: I will come on Friday. 
Me:  Great. See you then. 
Me:  Next friday...not the 19th. (realizing already that I probably needed to clarify)
Painter: Next friday mam this week. 

So, I know what you're thinking.  Any fool would have seen that last text and realized the chances were pretty good he was going to show up this Friday not NEXT Friday but we were out at dinner and by the time I put it all together it was too late in the evening to text him back.  And then I forgot. Until....
...
...
...

....is morning (NOT....you will note...NEXT Friday): 

Painter: Good morning we are here now at your building.
Me: Next friday...the 26th.  I am leaving for work now.  Sorry.
Painter: Ok mam

Photo attribution

3 comments:

Rod DeBord said...

Hey, I just read the Painter's last blog post.....

It was titled "I am writing about my latest conversation with another silly American, get a load of this...."

Lindsey said...

Ha...plz post a comment asking him where the hell he was this afternoon. That oughta complete the circle of confusion ;)

Hilda said...

Oh my.

I can recommend a very good contractor, if you need anything done. He's done our roof and garage, and will use him for other projects. Just deciding which of many (our house is almost 50 years old) needs to be done next.