NOT lost in translation, you petty-minded individual


Does anyone else get frustrated when your questions are met not with the answer, but instead the assumption that you haven’t understood the French of what’s being said? Must I blindly accept everything knowing that if I dare to challenge anything the person at the end of the phone will seize the opportunity to write off my question, or worse, my position in the business relationship? There’s no answer really- I suppose it’s going on everywhere- people using someone’s professional background, their age or the canton in which they were born as a feeble excuse to be dismissive of their contribution. This gives also the “incontrovertible” right to substitut an “interlocuteur” of their choice- someone from the right bourg, perhaps…

Rant over

Never doubt yourself Emily. If you have made a mistake, it is just that and, quite honestly, I have seen more French people making mistakes(or just not bothering to take the trouble to do something properly) than myself.
If I say I will do something then I do it, I turn up on time and treat everyone just the same.

Thank you Suzanne, it's appreciated, not everyone is the same! By the way, I loved your moving blog, how on earth do you do it? I have a lot of admiration for you as I find my children extremely challenging

Dont worry Tracy I wont! I think there are some excellent artisans out there like the one who came with his monte materiaux removed my sofa and table off our roof terrace and then refused to charge me, or the plumber who replaced our rubber thingy in our wc suspendu and also refused to charge us. These are people who respect their reputation and who I will gladly recommend and use again in the future.

Funnily enough I was trying to explain this attitude to my daughter yesterday. I explained that people just hear mummys foreign accent and decide not to listen. As a perfectly bi-lingual child she just couldn't understand, especially when she thinks I have one of the best French accents amongst the non-french people she knows. (I might add that this gets me into bother as the majority of French people think my French is better than it is)

Thank you very much for your relies Veronque, I do tend to say 'maybe I haven't explained correctly' but will now add on the 'YOU don't understand' bit.

I also find it annoying when you miss part of the conversation and when you say 'pardon' they roll their eyes and start again in idiot French. I just keep reminding myself that I can speak French and English and therefore my French is always going to be better than their English.

PLEASE do not turn this into another anti-artisan rant. I know we like to go off at a tangent frequently but if it does then I shall start sharing my own anti-client tales!

Emily, I feel your pain..I have been dealing with the architect and he said he doesn't always understand my questions when I write in French so could I please write in English so his secretary can translate. Well guess what. He still doesn't respond to my question...oh and now apparently his secretary is submerged in translation work! Hmmmm. So I am back to writing in French. Funnily enough though he responded pretty quick and understood perfectly when I told him I wasn't paying his last bill due to non-delivery of work!

Try learning yet another language. I am having basque lessons. In the hairdressers, during the usual chat, an older lady asked what I was able to say. I gave a few sentences introducing myself. I told her I didn’t have any children but did have two cats. She then insisted that I hadn’t said the phrase correctly, so I asked her how it should be said. I challenged her version as it didn’t fit with the grammar I had just learnt the day before.
When she had completed her hairdo she did take the time to come across and tell me that I may just be right. How pleased was I!

Exactly Heather. Yesterday evening our new washing machine came. The 'technician' explained how to use it but according to him we would never be able to do delicate washes because the hot and cold water do not mix. When we suggested that is counter-logical he got very miffed and then gave us another version of the same explanation that came to the same. When we disagreed that it could be possible he 'politely' but inwardly in a huff went.

Today I web searched for the technical data. What he had said was absolute tosh. Anybody surprised? This is not an anti-French rant but about attitudes when people don't actually know but make out that we are the ones who are dumb.

Spot on Emily I swear if the French don't know the answer or aren't sure, they simply say you can't do it or it doesn't exist. It makes me laugh & provides much satisfaction when u prove them wrong!

Yep :)

Carolyn, have you tried to just call it an alpaca because both forms are used in French, alpaca and alpaga .


My accent is awful and my French is not brilliant, but on the whole people are very good, but yes, I have hit the problem. I have 3 alpacas (alpagas). I spin the wool and my sister knits it. They are not common in France and more than once I have repeated the word "alpaga" when asked "yes but what is it in French?" only to be told there is no such animal! Now after the first attempt I mostly say "little llama".

Oh yes Emily. There are too many of them who see my OH's or my name and off they go assuming we are mission impossible. With OH they catch her Italian accent and despite her fluent French begin to treat her like a six year old. With my dreadful accent, despite almost perfect understanding and ability to converse, I get the four year old treatment. When I ask them, sort of, politely not to treat me like an idiot they get offended and tell me how they are trying to help me. Then there is the no answers business, anything but that drives me nuts. The challenge, as you say Emily, then drives them off on another tangent. I mainly grit my teeth and save all the insults I could throw at them to myself.