My English colleague just announced that their car was packed up. When I asked where they were going she responded emphatically that they obviously weren’t going anywhere because the car was packed up. Who would have guessed that “packed up” means broken down! Apparently it doesn’t even require two languages to encounter cross-cultural miscommunication!
Missionary life includes not only interpreting things in the language(s) I am trying to learn, but also in my own language! Here in Nampula I interact with missionaries from England, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, and so on and so on. There’s a lot that can be “lost in translation” even when we’re just speaking English!