This is a guest post by Sonya Matsui.
Beware of literal translations:
A young man from Tel-Aviv went to England and found a job as a waiter. He was asked if he felt that his English was good enough to provide efficient service for the customers in an upper-class coffee shop.
“Of course,” he answered, with the greatest confidence. “I speak English really good.” He smiled to himself, as he patted a compact dictionary that fit neatly into his pocket.
The would-be waiter was hired. He did his research, and found the different terms for the types of coffee he had been looking for.As most people know, “nescafe” is the brand name of Nestle’s coffee. Most people probably do know that, either in their conscious or subconscious. In Israel, “nescafe” is used to denote instant coffee, of whatever brand. It just so happens that the word “ness” in Hebrew means “miracle”…. and so, our brave waiter, smiling pleasantly at his customers, proceeded to ask, “Would you like miracle, or upside-down?” The word backwards, or upside down, in Hebrew is used to describe coffee in which there is more milk than water. (Cappucino)
The customer who recounted this tale was unable to provide information as to the continued employment of her waiter…