Friday, 26 August 2016

Lost In Translation

This amusing story about a Chinese tourist who was travelling around Europe, but without being able to speak English or in fact any foreign language at all, apart from his native Mandarin, he suffered the almost inevitable hiccup in his itinerary (He tried to report a stolen wallet during a visit to Germany, and unwittingly signed an application that got him stranded as a 'refugee' for two weeks in Germany’s burgeoning asylum bureaucracy.) 

The Chinese Have A System For Not Getting Lost Abroad - They Take The Whole Town With Them.

Actually this story raised one good point ....would you travel around alone without another language …. first immediate answer, no of course not. But of course the British and Anglo-Americans do it all the time.

However they have the advantage of being native English speakers which somewhat negates this as a risk (as discussed in other posts) …. So we blithely continue to do it. However if you were a German, Pole or a Japanese, with no English or any other foreign language, would you travel across Asia or Europe alone, knowing that few, if any would speak your language?
Getting Lost In Europe - Can Be A Group Activity For Some.

It takes some guts .... but of course the Chinese gentleman's (reported as a 'Mr L'), trip was actually not as foolhardy as it looks .... Europe has a silent immigrant population in every country, that doesn't protest, doesn't try to change everyone else's culture, assimilates and often excels ..... the Chinese diaspora. He almost certainly could find a Chinese restaurant in every capital, and probably every major town as well.

So despite the amazement in the press, he probably had no problems at all in his travels until he moved out of the greater Chinese community, and instantly fell foul of the system (although one report says he had a Mandarin translator in the police station - who obviously wasn't very good). He was finally 'rescued' from the asylum centre by ....... a translator from a Chinese restaurant!


  1. At another time he would not have been suspected of being an asylum seeker. An unfortunate accident.

    1. Hey according to the BBC, they are not illegal immigrants or asylum seekers but just migrants ... like those of us who go to Australia or Canada after interviews and with papers.

      We live in strange times where on certain terms are permitted ....


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