Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lost in Translation

I tend to forget now and then that a certain someone with whom I live, does not have English as his first language. We met one another speaking English, and we continue to do so 99% of the time. And let's face it, his English is WAAAAAY better than my Danish. So yeah, I forget.

Now and then things get lost in translation (mostly my jokes and puns). We now have a Wii and last night, that certain someone was surfing amazon.co.uk, checking reviews of the various fitness programs, calculating whether a certain game was cheaper in pounds, dollars or kroners (yes, he does this regularly - the currency thing) and trying to decide what to buy.

Along the way, Amazon put up one of those nice ads that tells you that if you sign up for an Amazon credit card, you'll get 15 pounds off your order, instantly! This caught his attention, and it needed to be read. After spending 15 minutes reading all the details of the offer he had made the decision to apply for the card.

If you've ever filled out one of those forms, you know there are a bunch of questions about how much money you make, etc. But, each country is different, so what may be a perfectly normal question on a US credit card application may not be on a Danish application or a UK application - different banks, currencies, rules, you know. For example, no one in a Danish bank knows what the heck you are talking about if you mention your 'credit score'.

Now all of this was happening on the computer next to mine, but I wasn't paying too much attention to it. Then suddenly he read a question out loud... "Time at your current residence"

Him: "Why do they need to know that?"
Me: "That's a pretty standard question on a credit card application - at least in the US"
Him: "But it's meaningless"
Me: "Well, they want to know how stable you are I guess - or something .. I can't explain it"
Him: "Makes no sense"
Me: "They want a picture of your financial security - and part of that is asking how long you've lived at your current address."
Him: ..... [lightbulb] OOOHHHHH

[Mr. Financial Brilliance thought they wanted to know what time it was at our house.]
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