I’m currently reading “Blunders in International Business” — a really cool book. Here’s a funny paragraph I found.

“Translation blunders are easy to make – especially if you are speaking in a difficult language you do not have experience in. Finnish is widely recognized as a difficult language, but some organizations try to bring their messages to Finland in Finnish anyway. Usually, it is worth while, but every so often the results have been “awkward”. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormon Church”) is one of the organizations that has had some problems in Finland. It regularly sends some of its members there to learn Finnish and talk with the people about the Church. These missionaries are so well intended and sincere-sounding, however, that it is usually quite amusing to the local Finnish listener to hear the missionaries say, “We are American misisonaries and we go around killing people”. Apparently this happens frequently because the Finnish word for “meeting” is tappamaan, but that word is often mispronounced by foreigners as “tapamaan”, which means “killing”.


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