Saturday, September 29, 2018

Failure to communicate

Poor understanding of second language can get you into trouble. Back in 2006 Berlitz had a humorous TV commercial (made in Norway) with the punchline Improve Your English. As shown above on YouTube, it has a German Coast Guard trainee get confused between the words sinking and thinking. I was introduced to it via another recent YouTube video by Rashid N. Kapadia.

The set for that Berlitz commercial looks plausible. There are two relay racks full of equipment at the far left, and a table with what looks like a large marine radio receiver (presumably tuned to a distress frequency like 2182kHz). But there is another copycat YouTube video which uses the sound track from the radio, but hilariously instead just has the equipment for a recording studio – some graphic equalizers, level meters, and a cassette tape deck.

There is a blog post about that and other Berlitz commercials at the Marketing Mixed blog titled “Sinking” about strategy.

Another similar YouTube video has the situation switched to a trainee from the Egyptian Coast Guard.  

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