Monday, September 22, 2014

Where do we go from here?

Office poster
A memorable- and true!- story from D:

Last year, on the train to Odessa, D was approached by a coworker from the company's customer service team.

"So, uh, I heard that you speak pretty good English and I was wondering if I could ask you a question."

"Sure, what's up?"

"What does the phrase 'take a dump' mean in English?"

As soon as D had finished his explanation in Russian, the guy nodded his head like everything was clear and went back to his train compartment.

Upon seeing Igor, another programmer from the engineering team, D related this strange encounter. Igor immediately burst into laughter and it wasn't until he calmed down minutes later that D was able to find out the whole story.

If the customer contacting the customer service team about a problem happened to be a tech-savvy customer, the employee would often advise them to dump their network data in order to troubleshoot the problem. Unfortunately, the preciseness of this term would get a little lost in translation and instead, the employees would tell the customer: Please hold while I take a dump or better yet, ask When is the last time you took a dump?

It always cracks me up to think of this encounter : ) I've made a million similar mistakes in Russian (like saying Pass the condoms, please* at the dinner table) but you have to be able to find humor in things to make any headway in the messy, messy business of learning a language.

Along those lines, recently I've been :
a) studying Russian with renewed passion
b) slowly withering away inside from lack of regular blogging (this really should be classified as a very real medical condition of the 21st century).
The combination of a) and b) has me thinking about new blog topics and for that I must turn to you, dear readers. I'm not in Ukraine anymore, so what happens next?

Here's where I'd like to ask you for a quick favor. I know not everyone is into posting comments, so I created a short and anonymous survey to better understand what you are interested in. It's only 6 multiple-choice questions and the survey will be open until the last day of September. Please take a minute to click over and share your thoughts.

Click here for the survey.

Thank you, spasibo, and dyakuyu!

* "preservative" said with a Russian accent... well, turns out it doesn't mean anything like "strawberry preserves", oops!


  1. I had my own "preservative" hilarity one time a long time ago. So I know what you are talking about. ��

  2. I think we've all been there with the "preservative" mistake... It's one of those mistakes that happen only once, and you'll never make it again :)

    1. Yep, once is definitely enough. I actually said it to my boyfriend's parents, and to their credit they acted as if nothing untoward had happened.

  3. Lol I think that covertion only last about 2 mins and then it died.