Moien, bonjour, and guten whatever. Do you speak English? Great, that’s a relief. Um, could you please restructure your administration to meet my linguistic needs?
I know, I realize that would require tens of thousands of civil servants to sort of, um, yeah, take one or 10 English courses, a difficult proficiency exam, maybe spend a few sleepless nights studying, but hey, we all know the stresses of learning other languages, am I right?
Oh, and while you’re retraining state employees, could you do something about the paperwork, you know, all those thousands of forms you guys use? Tax declarations, requests for renewal of chèque-service, applications for driving licenses, all that? They’re all Greek to me. Could you have one of your people translate them into English? And continue to do so from now till forever?
It’ll just be easier for everyone. I’ll understand you, you’ll understand me, and we won’t have any more of those funny miscommunications where you ask for my name and I give you my first name, but you wanted my family name, and then I start getting letters from the Ministry of Blablabla addressed to “Mr. Turner Shane.”
I mean, you already do all that stuff in two or three other languages. What’s one little language more? It’s kind of like Netflix, where you scroll down the options and set your preferred language. Easy peasy. Or sometimes not so easy! Like that time I went to Mallorca, and I asked the waiter for the menu in English, and he said, “Señor, that is the menu in English.” And I was like, “Uh, no, calamaris with ‘tint’ sauce makes no sense.”
Oh, and one last thing. Could you just, you know, translate every law, regulation, ruling, record of parliamentary debates, police report, citation, press release from dozens of ministries and agencies, and official communication into English, too?
I see you’re not totally cool with this, but life is about adapting to change. Fine, I understand you’re angry, but if you’re going to insult me, could you at least translate your curse words into English?
Merci so very much!
Shane Turner moved to Luxembourg in September and plans on staying in the Grand Duchy for the entire duration of his 18-month contract.