Friday, June 17, 2005

Language Barrier

I bought a digital camera yesterday. It comes with two manuals, one small, one large. You’re supposed to read the small one first. It even says “Read This First.” But in the package I received, the “Read This First” manual was only in Japanese, with no English or Hebrew translation to be found. And I looked, believe me. (As I write I’m thinking: too bad this didn’t happen to Meryl or Lair Simon. They’d have their readers laughing themselves silly by now.)

Well, thank Heaven for the Internet, where I found the document on the manufacturer’s site and printed it out. On the Net it’s a PDF document that can be enlarged on the screen but that requires a magnifying glass to read as hard copy. So I enlarged it on the office copier after work. (Thanks again for your help, Wonderful Co-worker. You know who you are.)

Since I was heading in that direction anyway, I brought the printout to the camera store (the original tiny-print version, not the enlarged one; since they sell photographic equipment, they can jolly well enlarge the thing themselves). I told the guy sitting at the main desk: Look, Mister, you’re selling people this complicated, expensive piece of equipment and its most important manual, which screams “Read Me First” in big, commanding letters, is in Japanese. Just in case you happened to be wondering, we are not in Japan. So what gives? Here’s an English version for you, and here’s a link to the document on the Net. Enlarge it and give it to your customers when they buy this thing. All right, it’s in English, not in Hebrew, but it’s a safe bet that more of your customers speak English than speak Japanese.


I had wanted to get home right after work, which began this morning at 6 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m. I have plenty of work to do at home and I wanted to hurry up and get as much of it done as I could before Shabbat. But just my luck—as I was about to finish my errands and start heading home, I saw a wallet lying on the sidewalk.

Oh, great. Just what I wanted—another errand. And the police’s lost and found office is closed on Fridays, and it’s just too darn hot to walk all the way to the Russian Compound, I griped to myself.

I’d forgotten about the police station in the open-air market. Nice and convenient. So I got to go home. And there was much rejoicing. (And work.)

Oops, there’s the siren. I’m outta here. Shabbat shalom.

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