What Doesn’t Translate- Irony

Irony doesn’t translate into other languages.You can add dry humor and sarcasm to the list of “what doesn’t translate”.

I fancy myself a funny person, not a pull my finger funny or a pass on water cooler jokes funny, but the dry wit funny. Pull your finger funny works in  any language, laughs at the obvious translate very well. Physical humor translates exceptionally well. A joke or humor you have to explain- “yeah, but what I was saying was…and that is why its funny”- isn’t funny.

The kind of humor that doesn’t translate on a day that features 92 degree heat:

friend: lunch?

me: die, kop (okay)

friend: where do you want to sit, spoken as she scans an outdoor seating area

me: maybe over there in the sun and let’s get some hot, spicy soup.

friend: just looks at me

This conversation happens in my head all day, I think it needs to stay there and not make the quick trip from brain to mouth to being overheard by anyone but myself.

It has been said people move to Bangkok to reinvent themselves. This might apply to me, but not by choice. There is the need for me to reinvent myself with less sarcasm and irony. Due to the lack of translation, the audience doesn’t understand the comments and simply thinks I am ting tong (crazy) and mean- Thai people are very positive and negative wit isn’t a part of their culture or way to thinking.

Evolving and growing is challenging.

About faranginbangkok

Additional pictures: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/faranginbangkok For more updates about Bangkok, Thailand and other thoughts: www.twitter.com/lilrichardb I began working in Bangkok during 2008- a time that featured a great deal of political unrest in Thailand and particularly Bangkok. I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was working on a project in Thailand. Generally I spent 2 weeks in Bangkok and then 3-4 weeks in San Francisco. Did Bangkok begin to feel like home? Yes, and No. Bangkok and the Thai culture forced me to feel many things, the change in culture and environment was so dramatic it forced the decision- embrace or ignore. I embraced and made Bangkok my home and base in 2009. I have enjoyed living in Bangkok, experiencing Thailand and the entire ASEAN region.
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