Fact : Planet Earth is 4th smallest planet in our Solar System.
Fact : There are living organisms, more than 1.02 billion of them. They grow at a rate of 80 million per year. They are odd looking creatures that have 2 legs, 2 arms, one head and one mouth, amongst other body parts of course. They call themselves humans. They are nice enough to call the rest "aliens"
Problem : These terrestrials are rather peculiar. They cannot wave their hands in panic to communicate distress nor can they merely smile to show happiness. Not at all, they need a language to communicate it. They have feelings and philosophies and have this urgent need to communicate them and as comedian Lily Tomlin fairly concluded "Men invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain"
Problem : They don't speak the same language. On the contrary, they can choose from over 6,000 languages to communicate.
An even bigger problem: They are not happy with merely appreciating people of the same clan. They often decide to embark on this lifelong quest of understanding other people from other societies who besides having different speaking methods, they also possess a variety of behavioral traits and communication codes.
Final Result : Amidst the experts are anomalous and clueless creatures like myself who are Lost in Translation.
I'm guessing you're a tad lost too but think... concentrate on those times when you were sitting down with a big question mark on your head trying to figure out what is going on around you. I'll put it into perspective for you in just a second: Walking the streets of Paris for someone who's totally oblivious to the French "mode de vie" might as well turn out into high-intensity level cardio activity. Why? Let's face it! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that the French language feels like a flower shower. All nice and fairytale-like up to this point; but try figuring out whether or not you're being courted, serenaded or insulted and you'll find yourself burning more calories in 5 minutes than you could have ever done in 5 days. Let's take another scenario: Try having a stroll down any Italian town or village and the gesticulation activity that goes on makes you think you've wandered onto the set of a Charles Chaplin movie.
The list could go on till Infinity... or even beyond, and as much as I aspire to evaluate the intrinsic particularities of every nation, I feel it would be somewhat of arrogant to even say I know that much, so the point I'm trying to make is this: Notwithstanding the presumptuously globalised nature of the world we live in, also including the use of more international languages (such as English), there's still a cultural gap that people might not entirely comprehend. If we had to put an image to that we could say that the world is like a block of apartments - we all share the same building but we all live in different apartments inside which we all have different rooms and lead different lives. Hence, no wonder French author Antonine De St. Exupery said "Language is the source of misunderstandings."
But... Let's take a break from philosophy now and engage in some good psychological practice called : Evaluation.
All of this comes as a result of my being lost somewhere between a Facebook chat and plans on how to conquer the world. Dangerous practice indeed! In fact, I sat down, wondering even further on; on how Maltese expressions would look on Google translate to a complete stranger. I know you think you can do it, who doesn't? But, if you really are as confident as you think you are, beware!
The following is a literal translation of a Maltese conversation into English.
A : Hi
B :
Hi
A : How did the date go ?
B : Gravy.
A: Why ?
B: Oh leave me! I swallowed a pipe! He came for me and he ate me with his eyes. He took me round and in one punch his car stopped. He's an ugly swear of God, lean wood, white papers and he dresses like everything comes as we go.
A : You came in my words but these are things that run. Still, Don't cut your heart.
B : I had the appetite of flying him ! He narrowed me a lot and then he took for himself so much that I went to the toilet and never came back.
If you really can't make it out, then you might console yourself in the wise words of American politician Sam Rayburn when he said "No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut."
Full marks will go to anyone who manages to figure out the true meaning of this conversation!
Courtesy of Elanguest Language School