The Accidental Interpretor

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Yesterday, I was chatting away with my dad on Skype at the PC bang. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Only about 15 minutes into the conversation, the college student who runs the desk came over to ask me something. This is unprecedented. Even though he tried to speak slowly, I only really caught the words ‘chat,’ ‘talk,’ and ‘other foreigner.’ I figured that I was bothering the other foreigner (who I hadn’t noticed) with my chatting so I asked if chatting was okay. I had no idea what he was saying back to me only he kept mentioning the other foreigner. I stand up and realize that sitting on the other side of the divider is another foreigner, albeit he doesn’t look like an English speaker. I ask the guy if my chatting is bothering him anyway and he shakes his head. I go back to being confused.  Just to make sure I’m not bothering anyone I tell my dad that I have to go (which was a little sad because we were having a nice chat) and hang up.

Yesterday, I was chatting away with my dad on Skype at the PC bang. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Only about 15 minutes into the conversation, the college student who runs the desk came over to ask me something. This is unprecedented. Even though he tried to speak slowly, I only really caught the words ‘chat,’ ‘talk,’ and ‘other foreigner.’ I figured that I was bothering the other foreigner (who I hadn’t noticed) with my chatting so I asked if chatting was okay. I had no idea what he was saying back to me only he kept mentioning the other foreigner. I stand up and realize that sitting on the other side of the divider is another foreigner, albeit he doesn’t look like an English speaker. I ask the guy if my chatting is bothering him anyway and he shakes his head. I go back to being confused.  Just to make sure I’m not bothering anyone I tell my dad that I have to go (which was a little sad because we were having a nice chat) and hang up. Finally something the college boy says clicks and I realize that he is trying to ask for help–the other foreigner is trying to set up a chat program and can’t do it and the college boy has no idea either. Most people come to PC bangs exclusively for gaming.

I walk around to the other side and realize that the man’s browser is in Russian. Despite being about 75% Russian I don’t speak a word of it. Not even hello. I sigh, and explain in Korean to the college boy that we are both foreigners but I’m American and he is Russian and I don’t speak Russian. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to help. I go to google.com, search ‘google Russian.’ Then I ask the guy ‘Skype?’ Head shake. ‘MSN?’ Head shake. He slowly pronounces MAIL RU, which I type into the search engine. I click on the top search option, click on the download icon I see on the homepage and Voila, 2 minutes later the guy has his chat program running.

Obviously, I rock. The guy looks really grateful, says ‘thank you’ and happily logs on to talk to his family. The college student is also appears really grateful. Unfortunately by that time my dad has to go back to actually working and I go back to idly surfing the internet.

Spaz update: NONE!!! This is probably because I have done absolutely nothing this weekend except for cleaning my apartment and reading in Spanish. Unless of course you count going to make chocolate chip pancakes and forgetting the chocolate. However, plain pancakes still taste incredible, especially for dinner.



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