Lost in Translation

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”? 



8 Responses to Lost in Translation

  1. preacherman says:

    Thank you for showing us this funny clip.
    I hope this guy still has a job.
    We all mess up and say things from time to time that is hillarious and we wish wasn’t put on youtube for the world to see.
    Again, thank for the funny clip on this monday morning.
    God bless you brother.
    I hope you have a great week.

  2. Philip says:

    I had a prof who was preaching a sermon on the nature of the church. And he sought to make the point that the church wasn’t just an organization, but was an organism. And he said another word that’s sorta like those two words. And he said it emphatically because he was trying to make a point. Instead, he was thoroughly embarrassed.

    He said old ladies looked up at him like their husbands had never even spoken that word to them in all their years of marriage.

    Thanks for sharing that one. That guy is funny

  3. When you blow it, you really blow it don’t you? Sounds like you and Bud make a good team!

  4. Trey Morgan says:

    Many years ago we had been studying about different translations of the Bible in class. I started that morning by telling everyone to look at their bibles and see what translation they are using. Then I was going to tell them about the version I was using, but instead said, “Who all would like to know more about my “virgin”?

    Oops …

  5. dannydodd says:

    Oops indeed Trey!

    That is what makes these stories classics.

  6. J D says:

    That clip is laugh-out-loud funny!

  7. Ilia A says:

    Hey brother Danny, I do remember that 🙂 That was really funny when you told us that you had a very successful conversation with that old lady. 🙂

    I also remember the other day Chris was preaching about Jonah and instead of saying “he was willing to sit on the ground…” he said, “he was willing to sh.. on the ground”. Thanks goodness that the interpreter did not translated it but those who did understood English laughed 🙂

    I remember I was preaching about slavery and Egypt, I combined thew two words saying “they were taking into Egyptvery, I preached in Russian that time. 🙂

    I also heard one old lady was praying and she said “Thank you Jesus for blessings, may God give you (meaning Jesus) strong health…”.

    P.S. Sorry but did not understand what that guy in video said?

  8. dannydodd says:

    Hard to translate it Ilia!

    Good stories!

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