Saturday, March 18, 2006

(Algeria) Lost In Translation

For the past few days, I'd been feeling what Bill Murray's character felt in the movie "Lost In Translation". Except that I'm in Algeria, not Japan, and everyone was speaking French. It was a meeting to evaluate and enhance our Algerian distributor's organizational efficiency. I'm here as part of an advisory support team. French is the business communication language in Algeria and we doubtlessly have to respect that.

It's funny how the mind play tricks on you. Remember the animated version of Peanuts? When Charlie Brown and gang were in class, the grown-ups spoke to them in incomprehensible tones that goes something like...wang wang wang wang wang... Five hours into the meeting, I suddenly woke up from my reverie because I thought I'm hearing that! So I started looking around to see if there's a beagle sitting at a corner with his little feathered friend, Woodstock. But no...I didn't get lucky.

And who says French is a sexy language? It's doesn't sound so sexy especially if you are the poor schmuck staring at the full wrath of the Country General Manager, who gave you a 15 minites lecture for failing to achieve your task. Poor bugger, I mused.

Not that the meeting was very successful anyway, at least from the point of view of efficiency. The famous Algerian lack of sense of time was blatantly obvious throughout the meeting. The 8 hours meeting felt as if like making a French guy watch an entire Taiwanese drama serial with a Chinaman...Excruiciating long story, full cast, lots of drama, all happening in one single set, foreign language and lost in translation.

2 comments:

Marc said...

Amazing blog! Very interesting! I think you are helping a lot of us here in singapore live the dream of living/working in a foreign country...

baking_diva said...

Hey! Apparently, my boyfriend came and read your blog. He was suitably impressed with your lifestyle and is dying to live a life like yours... He left a comment and wanted me to let you know that it's him and not some funny person trying to be funny...