TRANSLATION-SHIPS

4 months ago by

TRANSLATION-SHIPS

I’m sure there is some statistic out there that shows how more and more people are meeting spouses and partners that speak a different native language. I won’t bother finding that statistic because I’ve heard that facts don’t matter. But it’s true, just trust me. When I saw my soon-to-be-wife, who happens to be the photographer for Atelier Dore, on Tinder and saw that unique and beautiful name “Bogdana” – I didn’t expect my life would become filled with unique and beautiful words. Or at least I’m assuming they are actual words…because I have no damn idea.

My wife is from a part of Ukraine where they speak Russian, so that is her native language. But for reasons that I won’t get into because Atelier Dore doesn’t deserve to get hacked by Russia, most Ukrainians also speak Ukrainian. So that is two languages that I needed to attempt now and then while we were dating, to show that I cared about her culture and that I wasn’t the sort of American to say things like “speak English” or “is Ukraine IN Russia?” When I would say something correctly – I believe “you have beautiful eyes” in Ukrainian was a favorite – she would blush and smile. When I would say something incorrectly – hot tip “babushka” should not be said to a young woman – she would laugh. It was win-win. This is easy. What could go wrong?

The cartoonish bubble music of an incoming Skype call is heard.

Ukrainian Wife: You ready to meet my parents?
Me: I can’t wait!
Ukrainian Wife: Don’t be nervous, they’ll love you.

The smiling faces of my future in-laws.

Future In-Laws: Previet! Previet Bogdana! Previet Jason!
Ukrainian Wife: Previet!
Me: Previet!

My big smile from speaking to them for the first time, and getting the greeting right.

Ukrainian Wife: (unintelligible to me)
Future In-Laws: (unintelligible to me)

There is a pause in the conversation. Wait, are they asking me something? Just keep smiling.

Future In-Laws: (unintelligible to me)
Ukrainian Wife: (unintelligible to me)
Future In-Laws: (unintelligible to me)

They all start laughing. Are they laughing at me? Should I laugh also?

Me: (laughs)
Ukrainian Wife: (laughs at me?)
Future In-Laws: (laughs definitely at me)

The laughter fades out. I choose to maintain a slight smile which should be good for all occasions.

Future In-Laws: (unintelligible to me)
Ukrainian Wife: (unintelligible to me)
Future In-Laws: (unintelligible to me)
Ukrainian Wife: Kakashka.

I know this word! It means poop. It’s my favorite Russian word so far.

Me: Kakashka!!! Hahahahaha.

Not much reaction.

Ukrainian Wife: They’re updating me on the revolution.

I excuse myself.

Me: Poka poka. (goodbye)

Relationships are hard. Translation-ships are harder.

Written by Jason Ferguson

3 comments

Add yours
  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira October, 11 2018, 6:29 / Reply

    Funny!!! You’ll get there ,Jason !!!
    And …Bom fim de semana !

    Jorge ( Lisbon , Portugal )

  • Oh, j’adore ! Mon mari a appris le francais qu’il parlait a peine lorsque je l’ai rencontre il y a quelques decennies, puis il a fait un effort pour apprendre aussi quelques mots d’armenien pour plaire a ma famille !
    Courage Jason !

From the Archives

Paris, je t'aime
  • Paris, je t'aime
  • This or That
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
  • How To...
  • Things I Learned
Studio Visit / Petites Luxures

Studio Visit / Petites Luxures

À la Française

À la Française

Lift Off! A PFW Recap

Lift Off! A PFW Recap

A True Home: Edwina’s Charming Interior

A True Home: Edwina’s Charming Interior

Emmanuel’s Paris Apartment

Emmanuel’s Paris Apartment

Chez Moynat

Chez Moynat

camille charriere cozy days paris garance dore photos

So Cozy!

megan bowman gray hero paris restaurant interiors garance dore photos

At Hero

baylee zwart le meurice paris le soir evening night garance dore photos

Le Soir