Monday, December 22, 2014

Lost in translation...?

Translating Korean workplace English into Western workplace English...coworker to coworker edition.

a) No. Definitely not.
b) I have no idea and therefore don't know how to respond, but I don't want to lose face so I will just say this!
c) Yes. Most definitely, but I cannot tell you  because I have not been told to tell you yet.

What do you think?
a) Whatever you say don't expect me to care unless it matches what I think, verbatim.
b) Please read my mind and tell me what I think or, if I've already told you what I think, just agree.

Can you do this for me?
a) You will do this if you want to or not. The only way you can get out of this is to die or quit. Questions? Didn't think so.
b) If "I'll owe you dinner." is added at some point: I am asking you to do something above and beyond the above and beyond that you already do. I'm aware that this is a favor and you could possibly say no and make my life a living hell, but you won't because if you do you'll be known as "that person that never does anything."
c) If a compliment about your person or personality is added: I'm such a nice person and you're such a nice me. Please for the love of all that is good, help me!

Are you sure?
a) I think you may have misunderstood something along the way because you don't seem to be fully agreeing with me. AGREE WITH ME THIS INSTANT.
b) If following "Can you do this?": see "Can you do this?" (a) and be ready to say "yes, of course" each of the two to three times they will ask, or suffer the consequences.
c) I am unhappy. You better change your answer RIGHT NOW before the sh*t hits the fan.

Is it clear?
a) I don't even know what I just said, but I expect you to understand through ESP or some other supernatural force.
b) I have exhausted my ability to explain myself. Please don't make me continue.
c) Just say yes. If you say no it will become even less clear. Are we clear on that?

Is that ok?
a) If you do not respond in the affirmative there will be a gap in the time-space continuum and the Time Lords will be able to enter and kill us all.
b) I have not told you many details and you are probably confused, but you must make a decision with little or no information. See a) as to what depends on your decision.

It's not so important.
a) This is the most important thing that you could possibly need to know, but you will probably have to weasel it out of me.

That's all.
a) That is most definitely not all, but I'm unwilling to tell you any more. Have fun trying to figure out what I want!
b) I have told you nothing of what I actually want you to do, but for some reason I feel that our conversation is over. Do not ask me any questions or seek clarification. Why are you still standing there?
c) I've just asked you a monumental favor, but will now act as if it is inconsequential and expect that you will act the same.

You look horrible today!
Also phrased as: You look much worse than you did yesterday. or Are you sick? You look sick. or Wow, you need some rest.
a) I am concerned for your well-being. Please feel better! (But don't you even think about taking a sick day, unless you are dying, maybe then you can take one.)
b) You might be working too hard. Take it easy. But don't neglect your work.
c) You have neglected self-grooming to the standard we require. Why aren't you taking care of yourself? Have you no shame?

That sounds good.
a) That sounds horrible. Do not ever say anything like it again.
b) I will agree with you and then do as I like, which will probably be the exact opposite of what I just said "sounds good."
c) Nothing will change no matter your or my feelings on this matter. No need furthering the discussion.

Whatever you think.
a) Your idea is horrible.
b) I resent you having a say in this matter at all.
c) We all know that we will go with whatever I think in the end.

And my personal favorite that everyone is taught from childhood in Korea...
Take a rest.
a) Take a break.
b) Take it easy.
c) Go take a nap on your desk.
d) Go home and don't do work.

1 comment:

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