Keep Your Foot Paste off My Keyboard

Today’s post comes from Clyde.

Trying to help my fingers type better, I ordered a new keyboard from Amazon, one that has raised keys that clack like a typewriter. I may not have it long; Sandy has keyboard lust.

It came with two things that did not arouse my confidence in the product. The first was the little white plastic object that is the header picture for this post. My son figured out what it is. I will leave it to you to guess. The second was the warranty card, which is in this photograph.

Been a while since I have received mangled translation like this. How delightful.  I await my three bags of after-sales service.

What have you lost in translation: linguistic, cultural, generational, or political?

60 thoughts on “Keep Your Foot Paste off My Keyboard”

  1. Rats! I can’t enlarge the warranty card so that I can read it. What a pity, I love mangled English (and I don’t need any smartass comments about that).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can enlarge to read….but understand?….hmmm…..either it is too early with not enough coffee or it is the most unintelligible jumble I’ve seen/read in….probably ever.

    I’ve found that with some languages words ‘become lost’ in translation when attempting to explain in English. But then English becomes ‘lost in translation’ when speaking with my grandchildren…as with every generation I suppose. Example: the word bad now means good.

    I’m often lost trying to understand my husband’s explainations and/or directions…and we’ve been together nearly 47 years. We both speak English but somehow we each speak a different language. I’m lost in translation of meaning and understanding of English!


  3. When I taught Freshman Composition I enjoyed the mangled English churned out by my students. I used to maintain a collection of them.

    “Frances had reached the height of her depression.”
    “The big cop ordered me to evacuate on the spot.”
    “Every little thing in an airplane is stored in smart places.”

    I have tried hard to comprehend the chic speech of millennials and other young folk, but it keeps coming at me at a faster and faster pace. I know how to “throw shade” at someone, but I’m fuzzy about “fleek” and “yolo.”

    And then there are bankerspeak and insurancespeak. I don’t even try to read them. And what’s the point? When you finally decode them you learn the message is always that the big corporation involved can do just about anything to me it chooses to do.

    Liked by 3 people

    Dear User, thank you for choosing Aula brand products, in order to protect the legitimate rights and interests, the better to serve you, I replace the return liability “in strict accordance with the People’s Republic of China’” micro-computer repair, to provide you with three bags of after-sale service, product warranty as follows:

    1. from the date of purchase, under normal use by the poor electrical properties due to failure of the product, available year service warranty, but man-made destruction (eg. disassemble, handling damage, bump threw loss, the inlet flood damage, input current improper voltage) natural disasters (such as fire, flood, earthquake, rodents, etc.) caused damage not covered by the warranty.
    2. Consumables (such as batteries, foot paste, etc.) and accessories replacement does not belong to the scope of the warranty card warranty.
    3. The warranty card each column listed, please fill out and stamped with the seal of the dealership are treated as valid.
    4. The warranty card is no longer replacement, be sure to take good care of.
    5. The warranty card is effectively confined within the territory of the People’s Republic of China.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In reference to Sandy’s keyboard lust, we ordered her one for Mother’s Day, only to protect mine from her clutches.
    Did I get called “poor electrical properties?” Hm, well, I have tests that say that I do have them in my arms and neck.
    I don’t live on an inlet, so i need not fear flood damage.
    I am hoping tim can explain about foot paste.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Regarding the plastic object in the header photo: there are small hooks protruding to the inside at the end of its arms.


        1. Before you added that there were hooks on the ends of the arms, I was going to guess it was a tool for cleaning the foot paste from between the keys. Do you suppose they market the keyboard to armless typists?

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Ah, this is priceless, NorthShorer. Thanks for typing it in, I just had a good laugh.

    I just sent a reply to Rene who had sent photos from France, detailing the annual ceremony in St. Pere en Retz that we attended two years ago. My words will go through Google Translate, and I can only hope he gets the message that I sent.

    There are sometimes little miscommunications with Husband, my mom, sister… sometimes it has to do with the expectations of the listener. Will be back later, hopefully with a more specific example.


  8. Much gets lost, or missed, in my communications, though in my experience it’s more often a case of non-overlapping frames of reference than it is of translation. There are worlds I seldom occupy, or not at all— professional sports, tabloid celebrities, current television shows, social media. There’s no translation for things for which I have no experiential reference.
    By the same token, I am often at a loss to guess what other people know and whether some reference or allusion I wish to make is too oblique or obscure to be understood. Once again, not a translation problem as much as an acculturation problem. To put it simply, I just seem to know different things than a lot of people I encounter.


      1. I don’t know that much about Bijou Heron, but her mother, Matilda Heron, was an interesting emotional actress. Her acting style was described as “like a steamboat running at full steam and ready to blow”.


  9. This is somewhat related: I had fun with my 20-year-old nephew while in California – hadn’t seen him in a year and a half, and he’s grown up some. Asked me for some book recommendations, and when I got home I sent him Stranger in a Strange Land, which some of you will remember as a cult classic from the 70s. I’m not sure it has struck a chord, and I realize I don’t know what to recommend to someone his age, these days. Any ideas?


    1. That’s difficult without knowing anything about him other than his age. I gather he has not been much of a reader previously. Do you know what he has read, what he has enjoyed? What are his interests? What is his reading stamina likely to be?
      I haven’t been reading the sorts of books the average 20-year-old would be likely to gravitate to for decades, so any recommendations I would make would undoubtedly be dated.
      You could try some Vonegut on him or Tom Robins. Or maybe The World According to Garp or The Milagro Beanfield War.
      Of course, if he’s drawn to mysteries that opens up a lot of other possibilities.


        1. accessories like batteries and foot paste

          too funny

          I get to deal with that type of translation all the time with china

          they say things and I have to ask them to spell it because asking to have them repeat it more than once or twice is uncomfortable for both of us.
          the Chinese are always so apologetic for their poor English and I always tell them it is much better than my Chinese.
          the pronounciation that is so far from what it should be is usually proni=ounced like it is spelled

          I have a Chinese name a friend (as it turns out the guy oi am now working woth) gave me.
          teen joan sah is the way it si pronounced and it is spelled in three Chinese sympbols.
          when Chinese people see my name on the bac of my business card they are always so surprised. they say You have a Chinese name and point to the card. I point to their name badge and say you have an English name.
          you will never guess what the foot paste reference is about but you will laugh your ass off when you discover the logic (or lack) to get the odd phrase to appear.


    2. I could ask my 22-year old English major daughter, but since she is in the last few weeks of her last year of college, I doubt I would get an answer from her.


  10. We recently purchased a German-made dishwasher. The instructions were well translated, but they were in the imperative tense and riddled with warnings and exclamation points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is sad that I was not with you and Sandy. I took two years of German in college and one year in grad school. The total of three years taught me how to say (in German), “The bird is sitting in the tree.” That is all I got from those three years, so it is a goldurn shame that I was not there to use the one sentence I can speak in German. Die vogel sitzen auf dem baume. I don’t get to use that often. (Confession, three years wasn’t enough to teach me if my sentence refers to one bird or many.)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It should be, “Wo ist meine gummishuhe, bitte” but if you want me to be polite you shouldn’t hide my gummishuhe.


        2. I don’t know about that, Bill. would think that as you age and perhaps become more forgetful, your sentence could become increasingly useful. All you need to do is learn the German words for keys, glasses or whatever else it is you tend to mislay, and you’re all set. “Wo sind meine Schlüssel?”

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I occasionally look to see what’s landing in my spam folder on my e-mail account. Often some fun reading can be found there, if I have some spare time. I’m always sort of intrigued by the messages that have subject lines like “My Dear Beloved,” or “Attention My Dear”, or other such affectionate salutations. I’m not sure what language is the first language of the writers of these missives – maybe Nigerian or some such thing – but they seem to think that we will respond to messages from strangers who consider us beloved or dear, offering to send us large sums of money for spurious reasons..

    I’ve also noticed that some of them sign off their messages, after giving detailed instructions about where I should wire my funds, or what bank account information is required to receive my millions of dollars, with “Remain blessed”, or words to that effect. I suppose it’s a common phrase in some other language, which Google has obligingly translated to English. I find it rather charming. I may start using it.


      1. I have a Gmail account, so nothing comes to my local drive unless I download an attachment. I get the text only, & so can be entertained without risk.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Husband is a man of few words, and often fewer than he intends. He tells me that sometimes when I ask him a question a second time, he has mentally answered me, but it never got spoken aloud. So now before I ask a second time, I think it through and make sure I really want to know the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often say toSandy, “did I tell you this.” Because I though got out what I was going to say. Always done this. Not an old fart thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do that with letters. I compose them, sometimes at great length, in my mind, and afterward I can’t remember whether I actually ever wrote them and/or mailed them. My sister finds this practice very annoying, but then of course, she doesn’t have the benefit of knowing what was in the letter in the first place. Sometimes it’s better not to mail them, even if I have written them.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. OT I’ve been binge-watching a new Netflix series that would interest many readers of this blog site. Anne With an E is a brand new version of the Lucy Maude Montgomery classic story. I have thought that the Meghan Follows version was so perfect it might never be filmed again. I was obviously wrong, and I suppose some day someone will do it yet again.

    This review is to say the new version has been beautifully done in most regards. The casting is great, and I love modern photography of rural PEI scenes. But be warned. The producers brought in an odd choice to be a major writer for this series: a major writer for the new series is Moira Walley-Beckett, a major writer on Breaking Bad. And sure enough, this Anne series is much, much darker than any you have seen.

    I’m still enjoying it, but you have been warned. If you only want to know that story in a romantic, upbeat way . . . stay away. I enjoy enough about the show to like it in spite of the dark stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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