Presented at the AAAS humor session, February 16, 2007.
Monty Python – The Audit
Financial Translation Online Course
(A small board meeting. An accountant stands up and reads…)
Accountant (Michael Palin): Lady Chairman, sir, shareholders, ladies and gentlemen. I have great pleasure in announcing that owing to a cutback on surplus expenditure of twelve million Canadian dollars, plus a refund of seven and a half million Deutschmarks from the Swiss branch, and in addition adding the debenture preference stock of the three and three quarter million to the directors’ reserve currency account of seven and a half million, plus an upward expenditure margin of eleven and a half thousand lira, due to a rise in capital investment of ten million pounds, this firm last year made a complete profit of a shilling.
Chairman (Graham Chapman): A shilling Wilkins?
Accountant: Er, roughly, yes sir.
Chairman: Wilkins, I am the Chairman of a multi-million pound corporation and you are a very new chartered accountant. Isn’t it possible there may have been some mistake?
Accountant: Well that’s very kind of you sir, but I don’t think I’m ready to be Chairman yet.
Board Member (John Cleese): Wilkins, Wilkins. This shilling, is it net or gross?
Accountant: It’s British sir.
Chairman: Yes, has tax been paid on it?
Accountant: Yes, this is after tax. Owing to the rigorous bite of the income tax five pence of a further sixpence was swallowed up in tax.
Board Member: Five pence of a further sixpence?
Accountant: (eagerly) Yes sir.
Chairman: Five pence of a further sixpence?
Accountant: That’s right sir.
Chairman: Then where is the other penny?
Board Member: That makes you a penny short Wilkins. Where is it?
Accountant: (in tears) I embezzled it sir.
Chairman: What all of it?
Accountant: Yes all of it.
Board Member: You naughty person.
Accountant: It’s my first. Please be gentle with me.
Chairman: I’m afraid it’s my unpleasant duty to inform you that you’re fired.
Accountant: Oh please, please.
Chairman: No, out!
Accountant: (crying) Oh… (he leaves)
Chairman: Yes, there’s no place for sentiment in big business.
(He goes over to a wall plaque ‘There is no place for sentiment in Big Business’. He turns it over. On the back it says ‘He’s right you know’.)
Two translators on a ship are talking.
“Can you swim?” asks one.
“No” says the other, “but I can shout for help in nine languages.”
A mouse is in his mouse hole and he wants to go out to get something to eat, but he’s afraid there might be a big cat outside, so he puts his ear by the opening and all he hears is “Bow Wow” so he thinks, “Well, there can’t be a cat out there because there’s a big old dog”, so he goes out of his mouse hole and is promptly caught and eaten by a cat, who licks his lips and says “It’s good to be bilingual !!”
The importance of pronunciation 🙂
On a visit to the United States, Charles de Gaulle was honoured at a banquet in the White House. Seated beside his wife was an official who spoke no French, but who tried to engage her in conversation by asking
“Madame de Gaulle, what do you think the most important thing in life is?”
“A penis”, she replied.
Overhearing, her husband said gently “I believe, my dear, that in English it is pronounced ‘appiness.”
A list with interesting links for translators and interpreters appears at the end of this post. 😉
A familiar feeling for many freelance translators.
JOKE: Two highway workers were busy working at a construction site when a big car with diplomatic license plates pulled up. “Parlez-vous français?” the driver asks them. The two workers just stared. “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” The two continued to stare at him. “Fala português?” Neither worker said anything. “Parlate Italiano?” Still no response. Finally, the man drives off in disgust. One worker turned to the other and said, “Gee, maybe we should learn a foreign language…” “What for? That guy knew four of them and what good did it do him?”
Joke: How does a freelancer define “weekend”? Two working days till Monday.
Language joke: A big bird goes to psychiatrist, says ‘everyone ignores me’. Psy says maybe it’s because your ostridge sized.
When a fellow translator is under great stress, you can send him/her this meme: … Wise words.
Language joke: Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
Language joke: Adverb bumps into an infinitive in a bar.
Adverb: “Bit crowded in here!”
Infinitive: “It is! Shall we split?
Two highway workers were busy working at a construction site when a big car with diplomatic license plates pulled up.
“Parlez-vous français?” the driver asks them. The two workers just stared.
“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” The two continued to stare at him.
“Fala português?” Neither worker said anything.
“Parlate Italiano?” Still no response.
Finally, the man drives off in disgust.
One worker turned to the other and said, “Gee, maybe we should learn a foreign language…”
“What for? That guy knew four of them and what good did it do him?”
.. I always wondered why.
“I’ve just had the most awful time,” said a boy to his friends. “First I got angina pectoris, then arteriosclerosis. Just as I was recovering, I got psoriasis. They gave me hypodermics, and to top it all, tonsillitis was followed by appendectomy.”
“Wow! How did you pull through?” sympathized his friends.
“I don’t know,” the boy replied. “Toughest spelling test I ever had.”
Language joke: A cat is sitting on the throne, and two dogs, an envoy and his interpreter, are standing before him. The interpreter dog is whispering to the envoy dog, “You’ll have to rephrase that. Their language doesn’t have a word for ‘fetch’”.
Language Joke: A gentleman wanders around the campus of a college looking for the library. He approaches a student and asked, “Excuse me young man. Would you be good enough and tell me where the library is at?” The student, in a very arrogant and belittling tone, replied, “I sorry, sir, but at this school, we are taught never to end a sentence with a preposition!” The gentleman smiled, and in a very apologetic tone replied, “I beg your pardon. Please allow me to rephrase my question. Would you be good enough to tell me where the library is at, asshole?”
Why is abbreviated such a long word?
The manager of a large city zoo was drafting a letter to order a pair of animals. He sat at his computer and typed the following sentence: “I would like to place an order for two mongooses, to be delivered at your earliest convenience.”
He stared at the screen, focusing on that odd word mongooses. Then he deleted the word and added another, so that the sentence now read: “I would like to place an order for two mongeese, to be delivered at your earliest convenience.”
Again he stared at the screen, this time focusing on the new word, which seemed just as odd as the original one. Finally, he deleted the whole sentence and started all over. “Everyone knows no full-stocked zoo should be without a mongoose,” he typed. “Please send us two of them.”
Joke: A Spanish speaking bandit held up a bank in Tucson. The sheriff and his deputy chased him. When they captured him, and the sheriff, who couldn’t speak Spanish, asked him where he’d hidden the money. “No sé nada,” he replied. The sheriff put a gun to the bandit’s head and said to his bi-lingual deputy: “Tell him that if he doesn’t tell us where the money is right now, I’ll blow his brains out.” Upon receiving the translation, the bandit became very animated. “¡Ya me acuerdo! Tienen que caminar tres cuadras hasta ese gran arbol: allí está el dinero.” The sheriff leaned forward. “Yeah? Well..?” The deputy replied: “He says he wants to die like a man.”
Language joke: A linguist walks in to a doctor’s office and says “Doctor, I have a rash around my mouth”. After close inspection, the doctor says “hmm, looks to me like it’s perioral dermatitis,” to which the linguist replies “yeah, that’s what I said.”
A guy, non English speaker, wanted to spend his honeymoon in London. he was convinced that the English he speaks is enough for that trip.
So, he went to London, and while they were in their hotel room, his wife told him (in their native language) that she saw a rat in the room and he should call the reception. It was a big problem for him to find the right word…. eventually he decided to call the reception:
– The reception, Good morning!
– Hello! do you know Tom and Jerry?
– Yes Sir!
– Jerry is here! come and get it out.
Let’s get serious…
If I was fond of giving advises, I would advise any young writer who finds writing difficult, to stop writing on his own for some time and to translate; to translate good literature, and some day he’ll realize that he can write with an ease he did not have before · Julio Cortázar, in Conversations with Cortázar, by Ernesto González Bermejo.
A man who knows four languages is worth four men.
Un hombre que sabe cuatro idiomas vale cuatro hombres.
About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends. Herbert Hoover
A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it. William Feather
Memes for economists, financiers and accountants
A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.
The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”
Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”
Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, “What do you want it to equal”?
Three econometricians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third econometrician didn’t fire, but shouted in triumph, “We got it! We got it!”
A mathematician, a theoretical economist, and an econometrician are asked to find a black cat (who doesn’t really exist) in a closed room with the lights off. The mathematician gets crazy trying to find a black cat that doesn’t exist inside the darkened room and ends up in a psychiatric hospital. The theoretical economist is unable to catch the black cat that doesn’t exist inside the darkened room, but exits the room proudly proclaiming that he can construct a model to describe all his movements with extreme accuracy. The econometrician walks securely into the darkened room, spends one hour looking for the black cat that doesn’t exits and shouts from inside the room that he has caught it by the neck.”
Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells. J. Paul Getty
The people who know personal finance hide the money very carefully. James Altucher
Memes and jokes about economy, finance and accountancy
SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The state takes one and gives it to someone else.
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The State takes both of them and gives you the milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The State takes both of them and sells you the milk.
MILITARY DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The State takes both of them and shoots you.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. The state takes both of them, accidentally kills one and spills the milk in the sewer.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to decide who gets the milk.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate”.
ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors kill you and take the cows.
Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives. Now a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:
Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.
As every engineer knows,
Work ———- = Power Time
Since Knowledge = Power, and Time =Money, we have
Work ——— = Knowledge Money
Solving for Money, we get:
Work ———– = Money Knowledge
Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of the Work done.
Conclusion: The Less you Know, the more money you Make.
Heard at the Wharton School.
Man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, “I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock.” The shepherd thinks it over; it’s a big flock so he takes the bet. “973,” says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says “OK, I’m a man of my word, take an animal.” Man picks one up and begins to walk away.
“Wait,” cries the shepherd, “Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation.” Man says sure. “You are an economist for a government think tank,” says the shepherd. “Amazing!” responds the man, “You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?”
“Well,” says the shepherd, “put down my dog and I will tell you.”
Three guys decide to play a round of golf: a priest, a psychologist, and an economist.
They get behind a *very* slow two-some, who, despite a caddy, are taking all day to line up their shots and four-putting every green, and so on. By the 8th hole, the three men are complaining loudly about the slow play ahead and swearing a blue streak, and so on. The priest says, “Holy Mary, I pray that they should take some lessons before they play again.” The psychologist says, “I swear there are people that like to play golf slowly.” The economist says, “I really didn’t expect to spend this much time playing a round of golf.”
By the 9th hole, they have had it with slow play, so the psychologist goes to the caddy and demands that they be allowed to play through. The caddy says O.K., but then explains that the two golfers are blind, that both are retired firemen who lost their eyesight saving people in a fire, and that explains their slow play, and would they please not swear and complain so loud.
The priest is mortified; he says, “Here I am a man of the cloth and I’ve been swearing at the slow play of two blind men.” The psychologist is also mortified; he says, “Here I am a man trained to help others with their problems and I’ve been complaining about the slow play of two blind men.”
The economist ponders the situation-finally he goes back to the caddy and says, “Listen, the next time could they play at night.“
A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, “Lets smash the can open with a rock.” The chemist says, “Let’s build a fire and heat the can first.” The economist says, “Lets assume that we have a can-opener…”
All the economic systems explained with cows (click on the cow)