Perhaps you have already seen the above clip- it has been around a while. It is hilarious- especially the way the guy responds to his mistake. But for us preacher types this is our worst nightmare. Fortunately, I have never made this kind of blunder, but it does remind me of some adventures I have had that became lost in translation.
The very first time I ever visited Vilnius, Lithuania was in late March of 1996 with friend and mentor Bud Myer. One thing we quickly learned was how this country loved basketball and during Bud’s first sermon there he tried to relate using the NCAA basketball tournament in an illustration. Since he knew how closely I had followed this tourney he brought me into the illustration and mentioned that I was an expert on “March Madness.” As the interpreter spoke these words into Lithuanian the entire congregation broke up in sustained, teary-eyed laughter. Bud and I just looked at each other-puzzled. It wasn’t until after worship that we learned that “march madness” translated into Lithuanian meant “the time when cats go into heat”- and I am the expert!
Then there was the time after Terri and I had moved to Vilnius when I was watching our daughter, Taylor and her friend, Aaron in a park while Terri and Aaron’s mom Virga were away. As the kids played another child joined them. She was there with her grandmother. The grandmother began a conversation with me which I strained to understand with my beginning Lithuanian language skills. Finally I decided she had asked if both Taylor and Aaron were my children- to which I explained that Taylor was my daughter and that Aaron was the son of a friend. After I finished I noticed a very strange and concerned look on her face. She then rather quickly got her granddaughter and left. When Virga returned with Terri and I told her of the conversation she turned red with laughter. Seems that in my best Lithuanian I had told the grandmother that I was a “friend of children”- which when heard through Lithuanian ears means a “pedophile”! No wonder the lady left so quickly.
Anyway- do you have any stories to share that were “lost in translation”?