Lost in Translation: Paul the new Accountant?

Like anyone looking to emerge themselves in a foreign country, the barrier of language and understanding is often towering.  I’m lucky to be around people who are gracious and will smile and laugh, even if my poor pronunciation changes the word “help” to something explicit.  “Yes, I am happy to help you!” 

Also so this had me lost for a minute. Yes that’s a flat screen Tv….


Lost in Translation goes both ways.  Imagine a one on one meeting with one of your colleagues who supposedly speaks English.  There aren’t any distractions in the room, but as hard as you try to understand what he’s saying, you can’t!  I’m trying to lip read and listen to the consonants and vowels and I’m getting nothing.  It’s probably really important but unfortunately, I can’t really tell you what it’s about because I still don’t know….

One of the most recent misunderstandings involves me and what it says on my Facebook profile page.  Someone from our organization says, “Paul is so humble!  Why didn’t he tell us he was an accountant?  I had to find out from his Facebook page!”  When I heard about this I began to sweat (which really isn’t that uncommon here) but it was because I couldn’t be further from a qualified accountant!  I mean I refused to be a business major specifically to avoid any type of math let alone, accounting.  I guess the secret is out, I used to be an Account Manager at @AppFolio.  In Cambodia, that qualifies you to be an accountant.  My friends will laugh when they read this because most of them are Business majors or are currently in the Accounting profession.  With that being said, I am heading up helping our organization find accounting software, which I do feel very qualified for, I just hope I don’t have to reconcile any accounts.  White Doves, welcome to Saas products and utilizing technology to run your accounting more efficiently and accurately, all the while saving time and money.

Poor Allie:  Introducing Allie as “My wife” has a funny connotation in Cambodia.  Well, it’s funny except for her.  The word “my” sounds like “mai” which means mother.  Culturally you would say “mother wife” like you were saying that the wife is over bearing kind of has the husband on a leash.  I called her that for a long time and people would laugh.  When they started asking me about “mai” wife, that’s when I knew something was wrong.  Sorry Allie!

Attempting to learn the language has been really fun!  Since we are both teaching English, our students become our teachers.  It’s a really powerful way to connect, especially in a really touristy town when it’s uncommon for foreigners to learn Khmer.  If we look to continue over seas missions, learning the language will be the first thing on our to do list and well worth the investment.  With that I will say good bye. Lehaey!

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