Eye Before Eeee, Except After Si
By Jeff Baker
Okay, this is how it went down.
I was supposed to meet the representative from the Urian branch of our supplier, which I did. Of course, I didn’t speak Urian and he/she/it (that is the correct pronoun grouping) didn’t speak any English. In fact it was his/her/its first time on Earth. Fortunately, the company had equipped me with the latest version (as of 2465) of IBIS, the Interplanetary Bridging Interpretive Selector. That’s supposed to translate for different species, you know?
Anyway, the initial meeting at the spaceport went without incident. We made our greetings, he/she/it bowed, thinking that was what all Earth cultures do, and so I bowed back. But it was when we decided to stop in at the Spaceport restaurant things started to go wonky. I had read up on the Urian culture and so I gave the traditional Urian pre-meal salutation which is: “May Time and the Six Winds grant your feeding prominence.” But IBIS translated it as; “You prominently broke wind six times.” He/she/it attempted to respond by saying, I believe; “Have a nice lunch and day,” which came out as “Launch day will be night.” Then he/she/it tried to say “Eating this is delicious,” which IBIS rendered as “You are suspicious when you eat.”
Then, I told him “We are looking forward to entering into further partnership with your association,” which came out of IBIS as “Your forward partner is entering into us without looking further.”
Fortunately we realized were both having the same problem, so between IBIS and what little we knew of the other’s language and some hand gestures we were able to come to a mutual agreement which, as they say, should be mutually beneficial to both parties.
That would have been all to report, except that a waiter with a thick accent came over and asked if we wanted our check, and one of the IBIS devices was still on and translated that as “We want to kick your cheeks,” so the guy punched me in the nose.
So, after that, I decided to cash in my vacation points. I’m still at the Spaceport, now waiting on my flight to someplace far away and I may not be back. I’ll let you know where to transmit my check.
Or as they say on Urius: “HoHoHo.” (Translation courtesy of IBIS.)