Lost in Translation - writercize #163

Finally saying goodbye to the jetlag!  I've been fine daytime, but by the time 8:00 rolls around, I have been crashing too hard to write a word, but I think all is on the road back to normalcy now. It is high time to get back to the writercize daily grind! 

That said, tomorrow will bring the return of #WeekendWritercize, so tune it at nine a.m. Pacific time to see the new challenge. And write fast, because the time change Sunday morning will steal an hour from your weekend!

While I was on my trip, one sign in a bookstore in Naples caught my eye. The sign was in English, above a display of English-language books. The bookstore was at the train station, and Naples is near Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, so there are a decent number of English-speaking travelers who undoubtedly make their way through the store, looking for a book to soak up along the sunny Italian coastline.

The sign read:


It is a very easy mistake to make.  In Italian, the sign would read "non solo per stranieri."  Stranieri is often translated into strangers, although "sconosciuti" would be a more appropriate word for the English definition of a stranger. In this case, "stranieri" really means foreigners, and the sign should have read, "English books: not just for foreigners." It is an understandable error, and one that I surely make in the reverse all the time, but it still had me chuckling.

So, where to take this train of thought? I don't expect most of my readers to speak a foreign language, and it's tough to come up with a new mistaken translation, so I will offer two options.  One is a writercize and the other is just a fun question.

writercize: Use the verbiage "English books: not just for strangers" to inspire a short story or poem. It really is a great title to work with!

question: What is one of the funniest signs you have seen, either driving around or on your travels? (I have always found signs in front of churches and farms to be great sources of inspirational quotes!)

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.  I'm feeling pretty rusty, so please be kind!

Paula puzzled over the sign in the bar window. 

"English Books: Not Just For Strangers" 

As she was standing there, looking very clearly out of place, an impeccably groomed, dark-eyed, curly-haired man placed himself approximately 2.5 inches behind her right shoulder, intrigued by her curiosity. He leaned in, and rolled, "Ma quanto sei bella. Would you be my American stranger?"

Deciding that handsome Italian men who purred into her ear were decidedly more interesting than anything the bar or books could offer, Paula leaned into him and said, "Mm. Yes, I think so. I'm Paula."

"Pleased to meet you. Vincenzo. Andiamo? You want to see my city?"

Three days, many cones of gelato, glasses of vino and lingering kisses later, Paula bid her sweet stranger goodbye, knowing she had probably just enjoyed the best vacation of her life.

1 comment:

  1. That is very interesting about the translation. I don't feel that it is to off though. I was an art major, not an English major so I really do feel very fluid about language, even if I don't write/read/speak any but my own. I'm doing the A-Z blogger tour! Hello!


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