Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Universal Translator

One of the challenges of international travel, especially for Americans, is coping with the fact that the rest of the world doesn't always speak English. We Americans are notorious for expecting everyone else to speak our language, and widely known for our lack of linguistic prowess. To the average American, anyone from anywhere can understand English if you speak it slowly enough and/or shout it loudly enough.

The classic TV science fiction show Star Trek featured a "universal translator" which allowed Starfleet personnel (all of whom spoke English) to understand every alien who spoke just about anything. It was sci-fi, of course, and not real, although scientists are working on such a device. You can read about it in this article - Star Trek Translators Reach for the Final Frontier.

But what we really need isn't a clever device that allows us to talk with lizards from Alpha Centauri...what we need is a clever device that allows men and women to understand each other's language - after all, it's clear that even when we're saying the same thing, we're not saying the same thing. I don't have such a device, but here are a few helpful translations I've gathered over the years to hold you over until that Universal Translator becomes available at your local electronics store...

Wants and Needs (wontz and nedz) n.
Female: The delicate balance of emotional, physical and psychological longing one seeks to have fulfilled in a relationship.
Male: Food, sex and beer.

Thingy (thing-ee) n.
Female: Any part under a car's hood.
Male: The strap fastener on a woman's bra.

Lesbian (lez-bi-an) n.
Female: A woman who makes love to other women.
Male: A woman who has sex with other women so men can watch and get really turned on.

Glass Ceiling (glas see-ling) n.
Female: The invisible barrier that stops women from rising to the upper levels in business.
Male: What would really be great at work since that hot babe took over the office one flight up.

Vulnerable (vul-ne-ra-bel) adj.
Female: Fully opening up one's self emotionally to another.
Male: Playing ball without a cup.

Communication (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n.
Female: The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one's partner.
Male: Scratching out a note before suddenly taking off for a weekend with the guys.

Butt (but) n.
Female: The body part that every item of clothing manufactured makes “look bigger.”
Male: The organ of mooning (and farting).

Commitment (ko-mit-ment) n.
Female: A desire to get married and raise a family.
Male: Not trying to pick up other women while out with one's girlfriend.

Entertainment (en-ter-tayn-ment) n.
Female: A good movie, concert, play or book.
Male: Anything with one ball, two folds, or three stooges.

Flatulence (flach-u-lens) n.
Female: An embarrassing byproduct of digestion.
Male: An endless source of entertainment, self-expression and male bonding.

Making Love (may-king luv) n.
Female: The greatest expression of intimacy that a couple can achieve.
Male: What men have to call “boinking” to get women to boink.

Remote Control (ri-moht kon-trohl) n.
Female: A device for changing from one TV channel to another.
Male: A device for scanning through all 75 channels every 2 1/2 minutes.

Taste (tayst) v.
Female: Something you do frequently to whatever you're cooking, to make sure it's good.
Male: Something you must do to anything you think has gone bad, prior to tossing it out.

No need to thank me - it's all part of my ongoing efforts to help you cope with the world around you. My next project will be an electronic device that will translate political promises into plain English without throwing up.

Don't wait up...that one will take a while.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



allenwoodhaven said...

In the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" the translating device is a Babel Fish, an actual fish that you insert in your ear. It is, they say, the origin of the phrase "stick it in you ear".

Translation isn't just needed between men and women, but between any size group of people trying to communicate. It's a wonder we understand each other at all!

An endless source of amusement can be found by comparing what people say and what they mean. And, with politicians, what they say and what they say at another time....

Raquel's World said...

I really enjoy these men/women comparisons. They are usually spot on.

Mike said...

"it's clear..."
The only thing that's clear is lack of clarity.

"universal translator"
Something I'm waiting for before I leave the country.

"Butt (but) n."
Temple of worship. (for clearer understanding see Jenneifer Lopez)(or Brazilian beach video)(maybe I'll learn to speak Brazilian Beach)