Tag Archives: lost in translation

Who’s on First?


I saw a poster at a local high end hotel which caters to expats. It was all in English and said that a British comedy troupe was coming to do their version of ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’  I was really excited as my kids LOVE that show and my friends birthday is coming up. It sounded like a perfect night out.  

The poster showed two ways to make reservations. First, you could email them.  But I always feel that an email reservation request goes into this internet black hole and if it’s something I really want or need I want to be able to click ‘confirm’ and know I have it.  The second choice was to call.  I have become really good at asking people, in Chinese, if they speak English.  So when the phone was answered by a very perky young woman in Chinese I was not deterred.  I asked ‘Ni shuo yingwen ma?’  Right away she switched to English and asked how she could help me.  I explained I needed to know if tickets were still available for the comedy show.  The conversation went something like this:

me:  Are there tickets available for the ‘whose line’ comedy show this saturday?

her: Which restaurant to you want to make reservations ?

me: I want to find out about tickets to the ‘whose line’ show.

her: Whose reservations?

me: There is a comedy show at the hotel this saturday, ‘whose line is it anyway’.  I want to know if there are any tickets left.

her: Comedy show?  Please hold while I get someone to help me………

cue hold muzak

her helper (HH):  Yes, can I help you?

me: Yes I would like to know if there are tickets to the comedy show this saturday.

HH:  How many rooms do you want to reserve?

me: I dont want any rooms, I want tickets to the show.

HH;  What show?

me: (now getting frustrated) The comedy show, ‘whose line is it anyway’ . I want to reserve tickets to the comedy show.

HH:  You want to make corporate reservations?  You want a ballroom?

me: No, thank you.  I will call back.

Who needs to go to a comedy show when my life is just one big Abbott and Costello routine?  LOL