03/07/2006

Communication: Are we speaking the same language? A cautionary tale

 
The above text was published as an advertisement in the Karachi telephone directory (white pages) in the early 1990s. The same page carried an English-language advertisement exhorting Paktel telephone subscribers to "avoid engaging in unnecessary telephone conversations" – which I found rather puzzling at first sight. (Not exactly the same philosophy as "It's good to talk" that BT was promoting closer to home at the time!) Assuming that the Urdu wording said something similar, I thought it would be interesting to put an enlarged copy up on my office wall as an original "conversation piece". The parchment-effect background looks pretty good, doesn't it? And I even went to the trouble of laminating it.
 
What I didn't learn until a few days later was that the text in Urdu actually says something entirely different: "The fear of God is a lamp, in the light of which good deeds and bad deeds become clearly visible".
 
So it became a conversation piece, all right...
 
 

Posted by graham | Permalink | 22:33 |  Facebook

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