11 February 2010

More Fun with Google Translate

Recently I received a letter in the post from the local Magistrate's office. It was in German. Enter Google Translate. A handy tool for the weak-willed and lazy.

That'd be me.

Google Translate has (sort of) provided me with translated cooking instructions from a package, (kind of) helped me determine how long to let the spackle dry before sanding and painting, (almost) told me how to color my hair at home and (nearly) aided me in getting into the building's laundry room. It's not the most exact science, but helpful when used judiciously. I apply it with a good deal of humor, a dose of common sense and a German to English dictionary close at hand.

I am grateful for Google Translate. Scratch that...I am grateful for Google in general. It makes living abroad with rudimentary foreign language skills much less scary.

It also makes me laugh. To paraphrase a good friend and former co-worker: sometimes I just sit in front of the computer wondering "What can I Google today?" With her it was usually dancing midgets. But that's really got nothing to do with my language skills, or lack thereof.

Or does it?? Maybe I'm not picking up German as fast as needs be because "needs be" is a lot less urgent in these days of instant answers. And why pop in my Learn German cds when I can ask Google about a million other interesting and entertaining things (including dancing midgets.)

But that's digging a little too deep for me and my blog today. Next thing you know I'll be lamenting the state of education, the sloth of the iGeneration, the darned new-fangledness of new fangled things and kids reliance on technology versus how "we did it in my day." From there it's a slippery slope to this becoming a post about me aging, and that's just ugly territory, so let's not go there, eh?

Let's just get back to the mail (according to Google Translate.)

"We are pleased to tell you how can that has been decided about your application dated 12.11.2009 positively to issue a registration certificate. Please come to us personally to pick up. Please bring this charge, your passport and Euro 28.20. They are free, together with her / her legal representative or a person to appear on their confidence. If not the German language are mighty, we advise them to come to a suitable accompaniment interpreter to. To avoid long waiting times, we ask you to abide by the stated deadline. "

Ummmm, yeah.
I really need to stop relying on Google Translate and work on my German. It is not yet mighty.


p.s. I successfully retrieved my registration certificate and am now officially a legal resident of Austria. hooray!

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