It’s Quite Literal


The official language of the UAE is Arabic, and English is the second and generally business language.  But when you have tons of people speaking English as their second language, not their native tongue, things tend to get lost in translation sometimes.  Or you’ll get a *very* literal response to a comment or question.

First, some chocolate eye-candy.  See those gorgeous silver tins?  I got one.  They’re full of traditional Arabic sweets.  And the lovely sales clerk wrapping up my purchase??  Well, she’s the topic of this post……


Follow along with my conversation in a chocolate store I visited and drooled in……

“Lovely accent you have, madame, where are you from?”

“I am from the US, the southern part, Alabama.  Do you know it?”

“Sorry madame, I do not know it.”

“How long have you lived here in Dubai?”

“I have lived here in Dubai only sixteen months, madame.”

“Do you like it here?”

“Oh, very much madame.”

“What brought you to Dubai, anyway?”

“Well, madame, my place is very small, my uncle took me to the nearest village.  From there, I was on the bus for many hours.  We arrived at the city, and I rode another bus to the airport.  The airplane brought me here to Dubai.”

*sigh*… .yes, TheBigGuy wandered off after hearing “my place is very small and my uncle took me….”  He was trying not to laugh, I’m guessing.

It taught me that the questions I ask may be taken QUITE differently than I’d intended.

About DebbieT

I followed my husband to Dubai for a job. Then, I followed him to Bahrain for another job. Now we live in a bigassbus and travel all over the US, seeing all the things we missed before. I adore adventure and hate that wench on the WiiFit. Collecting experiences is my new hobby. I type and write just like I speak - fast with a lot of errors, and they don't trouble me at all. I have a very short attention span, am able to Google for something and not come up for air for hours, I am an encourager, a cheerleader, organizer and able to juggle multiple projects at once.

8 responses »

  1. HaHa! The beautiful chocolates had me mesmerized. Then the story… Classic riot. Ok please tell me what type of camera are you using for these enticing pictures?

    • Danyell, the camera I’m using is almost embarassing to admit to…… it’s a point-and-shoot Canon IXUS 240 HS Full HD. *whew* Here’s a site with a very indepth review of it, a LOT more than frankly I know about… With that said, what I love about this camera is mainly 3 things, 1- its size – slips easily into a pocket. 2 – Image stabilization for when I’m shooting one-handed, or out of breath, or want to quickly snap something. 3 – it transfers the photos I’ve taken WIRELESSLY to my computer or phone for editing and such. Sooo fast and easy with the touch screen. And, you can easily pick one up now for between $150 – $200, so it’s affordable. I think the wireless aspect would be my favorite feature, and it transfers FAST too! Just wait till you get here and you experience some of the conversations – learn to pick up on visual cues to realize when people are not understanding you – it’ll really help out!

      • Thank you. I use a Canon point and shoot as well. I love it for the ease of use. Can’t wait to see that chocolate.

  2. Pingback: Sarcasm nor Humor Translate | Debbie Moves to Dubai

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