Monday, April 9, 2012

Lost in Translation: A simple tip for getting your name across to others of another language

The UAE is nothing if not multicultural. I love that about Abu Dhabi. But sometimes it gets to you, all the struggling to make yourself understood. See this coffee cup? They just started doing this at my local Starbucks (I normally have a reusable to-go cup for all those eco-trolls out there) and you have no idea what went into getting this name right.




















I've written about this before. While I might think it's the easiest name in the world to get right, in these parts "Ann" does not translate well at all. At all. This has led to a lot of frustration on my part over the last four years, a lot of wasted moments and irritation and ill-will that I wish I could take back. As I related my latest "tale of woe" (and I realise this is a small, small issue in the grand scheme of things) to a friend, she had the most beautiful and simple solution of all. "Just don't try," she said. "Whatever they say, say yes. It doesn't matter what they write."

And that is why, when I signed up for my morning RPM class today, the name on the sheet said Na. 

3 comments:

Ann Marie McQueen said...

Apologies to abu dhabi expert, I accidentally deleted this comment with my stubby, iPhone non-friendly fingers:

Haha very funny! It is amazing how much does get lost in translation!

Voix said...

I love it.

Antigone said...

A trend in the States (at least in our state) is to choose a "Starbucks name"... a name to give the clerk that perhaps you feel you deserve but your parents were too wimpy to give you. This is useful for me as my given name of "Antigone" is all but impossible. But we first heard of it from a guy name Mike, who we thought was stealing coffee when he grabbed "Ricardo"'s cup. My husband uses 'Magnus'. He may have a bit of a high opinion of himself...