The differences between British and American English, for the most part, are usually easy to understand. But there are times when no matter how hard we try, something gets lost in translation. It seems that these miscommunications most often occur when out shopping ...
As a British person in an area of America that doesn’t typically have very many of us about; I‘m used to people asking me to repeat certain words because they enjoy how I sound, or they don’t recognize what I‘m saying. A recent trip to the grocery store ended up being unintentionally amusing when something I said didn’t quite translate as effectively as I assumed it would.
You can see how confusing it can get when a British word has a very dissimilar American counterpart (and vice versa). When I told my husband (the American) to wait for me by the big bollards in front of our local grocery store, he was completely perplexed. Once I explained what I meant, he spent the entire shopping trip laughing at how ridiculous (and rude) it sounded to him.
There are many more examples of the sometimes unexpected differences between British and American English, not to mention the whole confusion around crisps/chips and chips/fries. And the time I asked my husband if he’d ever eaten fish fingers (fish sticks); and he sarcastically wondered out loud if I was aware that American fish don’t have hands (at least I hope it was sarcastic).
It’s probably best not to mention the whole spotted dick debacle — well, I may write about it another time — but let’s just say that mentioning this to any American, no matter where you are, will produce some of the funniest misinterpretations about a sponge-based desert you’ll ever encounter.
Have you had any lost in translation moments?
14 Foods You Didn’t Know Were Called By Different Names In The U.K. – Reader’s Digest