I am convinced that the authors of the website did not anticipate that when translated, that being pensive or concerned would turn into some of the sentences that popped up on our screen. For example, I’m pretty sure that “they smacked their willies” is NOT what the author intended. Granted my Russian is more than rusty, okay, it has rusted shut and started to crumble, but I still remember enough to know that smacking your willy isn’t a normal expression. It might be in the UK, at least in certain circles, but not so much in the rest of the world.
As we are pondering this rather unusual translation, it hit us. If they are doing the same with my recent stories from 1997, I’m sure that the translate button would lead them to believe that we beat our children and made them eat with the dogs. Scary thought, especially since humor and sarcasm rarely translate well to another culture. In fact, I have found that in these days of political correctness, sometimes these things don’t translate well outside of your own state. I’m sure that if I were in California or Massachusetts, I would already be under investigation by the local authorities. I will assure you that we’ve never beaten our children, they’ve never eaten with the dogs, (well there was that one time our youngest tried to arm wrestle the puppy over a hotdog, but that wasn’t our fault), and they have grown up quite normal. (Normal being a relative term.)
The intent of my story was to inject humor into the everyday things that face all parents. What I don’t want is for anyone to hit a translate button and think we’re raising our children to be wolves. (They did that all by themselves). So, as you read the rest of this series, keep in mind it is a lighter look at what all parents face. If you hit the translate button to read the story, I just hope to hell that it translates better into Russian, than the Russian I’ve read translates into English. Thanks, Google! Now I understand why the world has such a real problem communicating. We’re all too busy trying to figure out what “smacking willies” means. ~ Michael S. Pauley