Please Change the Leaves

Please Change the Leaves

We had been in the same lovely little boutique hotel in Córdoba a few nights now, and wanted to leave a note to get fresh sheets on the bed. As not every single word in the Spanish language fits on a SpeakSheet, I pulled up trusty Google Translate, and left a note: “Hojas nuevas, por favor. Gracias!” We returned from breakfast, and the front desk attendant Francisco pulled me aside. He said, “Hojas? Este son hojas,” while rubbing the leaves on a plant in the reception area. I laughed. What can I say? Heck, what should I say? “Sábanas,” said Francisco, knowing what I was getting at with hojas. I returned to the room, and sure enough, sheets translates to hojas, but hojas translates to leaves. And sábanas translates to sheets but sabanas without the accent translates to savannahs. Oh my. It reinforced how important it is that SpeakSheets aren’t the result of a mechanical translation, but rather the result of working with native speakers who understand the nuance and subtlety of the language. It certainly makes a big difference when your bed is made up with fresh leaves and not sheets.
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