Internationalization is wonderful. According to El Reg there’s an ad running on TV in Japan at the moment that promotes StarSuite (the Asian version of StarOffice) which completely baffles me. But that’s okay, the ad wasn’t aimed at me : I’m Irish, not Japanese so I guess it’s a cultural thing I don’t understand. Still, check out the Register article for more details.
It’s been shown in the past of course, that lots of things don’t translate well across cultures. I can’t comprehend American wrestling, for example; Japanese quiz shows confuse me – indeed, Lost In Translation (excellent film) explores this general theme quite nicely. I’m reading The Complete Yes Minister at the moment – perhaps the sharpest comedy writing I’ve ever read, but I wonder how well it would translate into other languages – does anyone know ?
Of course, it’s not just about cultural issues – sometimes translation can be funny as well. One of my favourite web articles is The Zompist Phrasebook which is funny because of the translations. Language issues affect all of us though – probably more often than we realize. There’s still the occasional phrase the missus comes out with that I don’t understand… (eg. does anyone know what “gutties” are ?)