Yo, Digga! | Mistranslation Monday

Today’s mistranslation comes from a few years back, but I have been weary of writing it due to its not-so-appropriate content. But since I am still reminded of this one years later, I feel like I just have to share. There are some particular slang words that people up here in Northern Germany use — words that are not taught in the classroom. One of these I encountered at a bar one night, when I heard a group of friends repeatedly calling each other Digga. I think you can all guess what word came to my mind when I heard Continue Reading

You’re Welcome | Mistranslation Monday

Although I had studied German for about 4 years, I wasn’t very good at the language before studying abroad here in 2011. So when I first arrived, I was so terrified to speak the language with actual Germans that I put off doing things that required any level of social interaction with non-Americans for as long as possible. That included grocery shopping. After living off of the cookies and apples given out at orientation meetings for nearly a week, I finally caved and walked to the local grocery store near my apartment. Luckily, picking out the items and getting to Continue Reading

It Will Go Horribly! | Mistranslation Monday

Now that final exams are over, and I am feeling a little more relaxed, it is time for another Mistranslation Monday! This one goes back to November, when I was preparing to give my first presentation in German for one of my graduate school classes. The night before my presentation, my friend Sarah texted me. Here is my literal translation of the above messages: Sarah: Best of luck tomorrow! I am sure that it will go wrong. Me: You are sure it will go wrong? I hope it doesn’t go wrong… I remember when I first read the message, I Continue Reading

Please Don’t… | Mistranslation Monday

Most people reading this blog are probably familiar with the German word for “please,” which is bitte. Well, this simple word actually comes from the verb bitten. Okay. So, if bitte means “please,” then the verb bitten probably means “to please,” right?  Wrong. But, this is a common mistake that Germans make when writing emails and requests. So, instead of translating “Ich bitte dich…” to something like “I am asking you…” (with “ask” as the proper translation of bitten in this instance), Germans sometimes accidentally start of an email with “I please you…” And when you are getting such an email from a coworker, Continue Reading

My Turtles Are Dead! | Mistranslation Monday

Ever since I first came to Germany in 2011, I have struggled with the German word for turtle. The topic first came up when Marco bought me my first Kinder Überraschungsei (those chocolate eggs with the toy inside). My toy inside was a little plastic turtle. “That’s a Schildköte,” Marco told me, “it combines the world Schild (shield) and Kröte (toad).” “Germans sure do love their compound words,” I thought to myself as I tried to save the word Schildkröte into my vocabulary. Except I didn’t. Instead, I always thought of turtles as shield-toads. Opening my first Kinder Egg in Continue Reading

I Love You Puppy | Mistranslation Monday

A few months ago, there was a J.Lo song that made its way into the top 40. Since the German boyfriend and I listen to a lot of Radio Hamburg whenever we are in the bathroom, we knew all of the words. Heck, I had even seen the music video a few times, which tries to poke fun at music videos that objectify women by objectifying men instead (see screenshot above). If you don’t know what song I am talking about by now, it was “I Luh Ya Papi” by Jennifer Lopez (aka “I Love You, Papi“). The title is Continue Reading

I Weigh 375 Pounds | Mistranslation Monday

As mentioned in my post last week about German healthcare, I recently went to the doctor in Germany for the first time. The appointment started off just as any appointment would. After checking in with the receptionist, a nurse asked to check my vitals before I went into the waiting room. “Please take off your shoes and step onto the scale,” she said (but in German, of course). Since it was one of those scales with the sliders, she then asked me, “About how much do you weigh?” “Ummm…” I had to think for a second, remembering that we were Continue Reading

Outen the Lights! | Mistranslation Monday

Welcome back to another Mistranslation Monday! I have been feeling quite uninspired when it comes to this blog lately, which is mostly due to the stress of starting my Master’s program in Germany. Currently, I am working on preparing for two presentations this week (hence why I didn’t post anything at all last week). Luckily, one of the presentations is in English, but the other one will be my first presentation in German in Germany in front of a room full of Germans! Wish me luck! Anyways, back to Mistranslation Monday. After a week-long streak of feeling quite uninspired, I Continue Reading

Astrology is a Science? | Mistranslation Monday

As you probably already know, last week was my first week of graduate school in Germany. One of the courses that I have to take as a part of my Master’s program is called Philosophy of Science. View from the back of the lecture hall All graduate students at the university have to take this course, which means it is held in a large lecture hall with approximately 200 students attending the each week. What is most interesting about this course, however, is that it is held in English. On the first day of class, the professor was discussing the Continue Reading

Wet Dreams | Mistranslation Monday

Ever since moving to Germany, I love flipping through the weekly ads that come in the mail. Recently, we received a large advertisement from Hornbach, which is a large home improvement store. On the second page of the pamphlet, I saw this: Not thinking before speaking, I said to the German boyfriend, “Feuchttraum?!” Is that the name of this light? That sounds awfully inappropriate!” Confused, Marco came over to look at the ad and replied, “It says Feuchtraum, not Feuchttraum.“ “Oh…” The advertisement is for a moisture-proof light that is meant for use in a room with high humidity. Feuchtraum Continue Reading