for those of you who don’t know, St. Barths is one the French Virgin Islands. I’m not exactly sure where we are relative to, say, New York City — except that we’re south of it. In fact, until Daylight Savings a few days ago, we were on NY time (now we’re an hour ahead). Anyways, all this is sort of precursor to say that everyone here speaks french. There are also an indigenous people who speak another language — that i can’t remember the name of — as well as French. And then, everyone knows a very little bit of english.
Well, the other day, we made some friends from on island and they speak ONLY french. Like basically no english to speak of. And if you combined, in the band, our collective french you’d probably have about 36 words altogether. Needless to say communication was carried out through a series of repetitions, miming, and the liberal use of a french-to-english dictionary.
last sunday, we wanted to invite them over to hang. And we let Ari — who probably knows the least french among us — take the helm of that task. Utilizing the poorest online translator he could find… he proceeded to write a brief email… and translate it. And then… translate it back to english to check it.
The resulting english is a bit of meta-translato-poetry we have taken to calling: French Fried.
Ari’s Original Message.
Today is the bands day off so we are just hanging out at our villa…feel free to drop by and hang out if you want!
The French Translation (if you know ANY french, you’ll see how bad this looks already):
Aujourd’hui est la journée de congé de bandes si nous traînons juste à notre villa. ..feel libère pour diminuer de et traîne si vous voulez !
The Final Product.
Today is the day of vacation of bands if we lead just to our villa. .. Feel liberates to diminish of and leads if you want!
…show me an e.e. cummings that doesn’t basically say: just that.