What an amazing time we live in. Before today you had to take 2-3 years of a foreign language in high school (in my case French) and then another couple of years in college (in my case because I forgot all my high school French). All of this so you can one day look at a French menu and say the only word you remember from all that school work: “French expletive.” That’s right, I only remember a handful of words and they are mostly curse words.
But now, with Google Translate, you can curse in any language! Strike that, I mean you can converse in any language. If you haven’t heard about Google Translate, it’s a program that lets you type in any sentence in English and it will spit out that sentence in Portuguese, or German, or even Romanian.
I was able to answer an email that was sent to me in Portuguese this morning thanks to Google Translate. I typed in their question and it gave me the English version. Then I wrote a response in English and Google translated it to Portuguese (or what I imagine Portuguese to be, it could have been Romanian).
This all happened in less than a minute! No need to take 8:00 AM Portuguese lessons every day in college to respond to an email. Just Google it and you’re done. Not that I’m bitter in the least about having to take 8:00 AM French classes in college. I did meet a lifelong friend (Jason) in class. But that was about it. The only words I still remember (the curse words) I learned in high school French. So, I didn’t get much out of it in college.
If you read the first book in my Quick Series, there is a scene where the main character’s memory of high school Spanish betrays him. He mistakenly says (in Spanish) to his date’s mother, “I have yet to drink the blood of the toaster.”
He could have really used Google Translate! In case you’re bi-lingual, that phrase is:
Spanish: Todavía tengo que beber la sangre de la tostadora.
Romanian (just because): Încă am să beau sângele toasterului.
Of course, we’re putting a lot of faith in Google. It used to be that you had to have some level of status or be a world traveler to start an international incident. Now, anybody can do it with the click of a mouse.
What if my Portuguese email was actually an insult to the man’s parentage? What if he is a high ranking government official? What if he doesn’t appreciate bloody toaster jokes? If you don’t hear from me next week, start a petition to keep me from being extradited to Portugal. And then blame Google!
Carry on, Citizens!