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'The toilet of the dames'

Accuse me? NRC blog Denglish shares examples of linguistic blunders and miscommunications that occur in international dialogue. „Is your English translation a shot in the rose or do you miss the plank? Unfortunately, nearly good is not good enough. So when a female deputy minister says: ‘I am having my first period’, she is not saying: ‘this is my first term in office’ but she tells she is menstruating. That is disgustable. With a fault translation you can fast constatate a large consternation.

I can identify three types of mistakes: Using English words that partly have the same meaning as Dutch words, but that do not have the meaning that you intended it to have. For example: toilet in Dutch means wc as well as clothing. In English toilet does indeed mean wc, but it does not mean clothing or clothes. Therefore, if in English you use toilet when you talk about clothing, it can result in interesting situations. So if you say: ‘I was impressed by the toilets of the dames‘, you were not ‘impressed by the lady’s outfits’, but by their wc’s. In another example the words goed and good do not only sound the same, they als have the same meaning. But beware, if in Dutch you can replace goed by juist, you do not use the English word good but right. So you do not say: ‘that is the good answer’, but ‘that is the right answer’.

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