All of us bilingual and multilingual people have our ‘lost in translation’ moments. My attempts are often filled with “umm”, “err”, “that thing…you know”. And sometimes the most literal translations turn into the funniest meanings in another language. Or how previously a man shared a story of how his South Indian friend who didn’t speak Hindi fluently confused ‘chipkali’ with ‘magarmach’.
A Twitter user shared a funny incident of how she couldn’t recall the word ‘shehed’ for honey and left the shopkeeper confused by calling it ‘madhu’.
Thinking about that time when I went to a grocery shop in Delhi & confidently said "bhaiyya 'madhu' dena" as I couldn't recall the Hindi word for 'honey'. Created confusion for good 10 mins before I spotted a jar & pointed at it. Fully irked, the shopkeeper said "ohhh shehed".😂
— Ahona Sengupta (@ahona_sengupta) April 1, 2021
Other desis united in laughter as they too shared their hilarious translation fail moments:
1. I hope the shop didn’t call the police 😛
Throwback to when my Tamilian grandmother shocked everybody by saying “ek aadmi ko daalne jitna bag dikha do” in a luggage store in Delhi, when she actually wanted a bag that a single person could use to put his belongings in while travelling
— Rad (@RSquareddd) April 1, 2021
2. Can’t stop laughing at this one!
My wife told a curtains shop owner – bhaiya jo dekhna hay dekh liya aur kaapda mat utaro. 🤦
— Gavagai (@sinfaut) April 1, 2021
3. Really want to know the reaction of the helper!
My Kolkata cousin couldn’t find his slippers in our Hindi heartland home. So he asked the helper, “Hamra nuton nuton chati dekha hai?”
— Andy Mukherjee (@andymukherjee70) April 1, 2021
4. Bengalis, can you relate?
Another one – phoot. Masi to helper: “jab jol phoot jayega na, uss mein dim daal dega.” Helper: “Kahan kuch foota hai ma ji?” Masi: “Oto bokbok mat karo, phoot key jab godayega tob bhoojeyga.” Helper gave up.
— Sumeet Chatterjee (@sumeet_chat) April 2, 2021
5. Another perennial confusion!
This was in the 1960s. A friend of my dad’s had his ghodi snatched by thieves on a desolate stretch in Delhi. They went to police to complain. You can imagine the confusion when the cops were told the ghodi was snatched from him while they were travelling in a tanga. @babumoshoy
— Krittivas Mukherjee (@Krittivasm) April 2, 2021
6. ‘Much’ to their shock.
My MiL informed shocked acquaintances in Patna about her catfish curry for lunch by saying the magar machch dish was fantastic
— Abdaal/ابدال / ଅବ୍ଦାଲ (@abdaal) April 2, 2021
7. FYI, it’s called khus-khus in Hindi!
A friend of mine had asked for post at a Mayurvihar grocery store. He meant posto and like most Bongs believed that removing the ‘o’ from a word makes it Hindi! Much like most Hindi speakers who think adding an extra O makes it Bangla 😀
— Coalemus (@NewwIndiaa) April 1, 2021
8. Aunty every time I go over to her place to eat!
My favourite bong-to-hindi mishap is a lady happily feeding a visitor to her home with “khao khao, sharam to hai nahin”
(Lojja peyo na)
— Shreyas Sharma (@11shreyas) April 2, 2021
Do you also have a funny translation moment of your own? Share them with us in the comments section!
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