Thursday, August 05, 2004

Honduras: Translation problems

While we were in Honduras, our Spanish skills were decidedly lacking. A couple of us had taken Spanish in high school, and one of the group had spent 3 months in South America. So outside about 4 of us, communication was a trip.

A girl on our trip, K, kept asking people to excuse her. We were building a house and had to do a lot of passing by each other, so she would just use what she thought was the Spanish phrase for excuse me: Escuchame. What she didn't realize was that "escuchame"actually means "listen to me." So the entire day she had been passing by the Honduran workers telling them to "listen to me" and when they paused to listen, she'd just walk right by. I never heard her do this, but I did catch a lot of them staring at her like she was crazy.