The Tiny Grass is Dreaming — On Being Lost in Translation
The Interwebs are full of translated signposts gone hilariously wrong:
“TO TAKE NOTICE OF SAFE! THE SLIPPERY ARE VERY CRAFTY”
“BEWARE OF DOGS. SURVIVORS WILL BE PROSECUTED”
“DO NOT DISTURB. TINY GRASS IS DREAMING”
“OUR FOOD IS GUARANTEED NOT TO CAUSE PREGNANCY!”
But it’s not just unwitting Chinese shopkeepers who make these mistakes; big brands frequently get burned in translation too.
In fact, Parker Pen famously ran an advertising campaign that guaranteed “not to make you pregnant” with their leak-free pens when they launched in South America. The Ad should have read “Parker Pens are guaranteed not to cause embarrassment” … but it was the company that was left red-faced.
Even when we share a common language, the message is easily lost.
We all know what it’s like to be misunderstood.
We’ve all struggled for words and then said all the wrong things. We’ll all been misinterpreted, we’ve all been misjudged.
Ultimately, this is why I’m so obsessive about mastering the written word.
Master words and you have the power to negate misunderstanding, explain the unexplainable and make obvious the not-so-obvious.
That is why I love what we do at Inkspiller.
We’ve made it our business to unearth what it is you are really trying to say. And then actually express it in a way that no-one can fail to understand- your own tone of voice.
We’re here to help you show who you are and why you matter in a way that is uniquely your own, in a way that helps other people grasp and then benefit from your brilliance.
Is there something you’re stuck on trying to express right now? Then this might help…
A simple way to overcome misunderstanding:
We all know how it feels to be misunderstood, but we also know what it’s like to feel really known. We all have someone who really ‘gets it’, who really gets us. Everyone has one person they could talk to all the night long.
So, next time you’re having problems articulating something in writing, imagine you were explaining in a letter to that person.
Now, how would you describe your business, project, idea to him or to her?
If that doesn’t work, try saying it aloud, exactly as you’d explain it over a drink.
Now, imagine they look you in the eye and ask “What are you really trying to say here?”
What are you really trying to say?
Try saying that.