Today at the fruit store, whose shopkeeper speaks only Hungarian, I encountered two Germans who spoke no Hungarian and only a little English. They wanted uncarbonated water, but didn’t know whether the blue-capped or pink-capped bottles (it’s the same color scheme for all bottled water in Hungary) had it.

I didn’t know “Kohlgas” (which Google Translate doesn’t recognize, but I’m sure is what they said), but “Kohl” and “Gas” are easy enough, so after a few seconds of stuttering, I understood, read the bottles (since I didn’t remember the scheme either) and pointed it out to them.

I think this is the first time I’ve translated between two non-English languages. Well, human languages—I’ve done Java to Python. At least, human natural languages—I’ve done food tongue to Latin. And, come to think of it, just living human natural languages—I’ve done Latin to German. This doesn’t sound as excitingly new any more.

Advertisements