False Friends on Friday 1

In the heat of the moment we often go back to translating out of our language and unfortunately get it wrong. Here are 5 examples from the workplace.

1. Firstly, the good old “chef” one! Chef=Koch/Kochin

Receptionist: “The chef isn’t here today”,

Client: “That’s ok, I’d like to speak to the boss “

2. Secondly, “I work in the personal department” =personal (persönlich) No, you don’t! You work in the personnel /human resources (HR) department.

3. Thirdly: Formula = (Formel)

“Would you mind filling out the formula for me”?

“Oh no I can’t do maths, sorry”

You should say “Would you mind filling out the form for me”?

4. Next, thankfully I very rarely hear this mistake – but when I do I usually end up on the floor, laughing my head off, in stitches and crying & if the client doesn’t have a sense of humour, without a job. How do you say “Unternehmer(in)” in English? Of course, businessman/-woman /entrepreneur. Definitely not – UNDERTAKER = Bestattungsunternehmen

5. Finally, LAGER = (Lager)Bier = you should say “IN the storeroom/warehouse”

Receptionist “He’s on the lager again, can I take a message”

Caller “ Whenever I call, he’s drunk!!!!”

Have a great weekend & have one on me – a beer not a warehouse!!!!!

6 Gedanken zu „False Friends on Friday 1

  1. Jenny Antworten

    Yes, sometimes we oversee that there are false friends which can lead to curious situations and may even be gift for intercultural relations. At least I’m well aware that there’s lots of concurrence out there and that’s why I try my best to get bald rid of using false friends and I’ve fast reached my goal. 😉

      • Jenny Antworten


        „Receptionist “He’s on the lager again, can I take a message”

        Caller “ Whenever I call, he’s drunk!!!!”“

        Hilarious! 🙂 But what exactly do you mean with „on the lager“? Is he sitting on a barrel with a tipsy smile on his face, floating on the Lager inside a brew kettle or simply on drugs again as he’s a Lager-addict? 😉 either way: cheers!

          • Jenny

            Irony! Of course I do know that lager is a type of beer. It is just the context of your example that creates some mental images how your guy is getting drunk as „to be on the lager“ is a Denglish false friend construction. 😉

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert