Coordinator: “Please write your ideas on the flip-chart.”
Céline: “Veuillez noter vos idées sur le… le…”
What’s flip-chart in French?? Don’t panic, don’t panic.
19 pairs of eyes are on me. I can feel drops of sweat slowing running down my cold forehead.
“TABLEAU DE CONFÉRENCE!”, I finally blurt out, a bit too loudly. I’m sure I can hear a crowd cheering and chanting my name in the distance.
French client: “Tableau de conférence? C’est marrant, nous on dit paperboard.” (That’s funny, we say paperboard).
I tell you, next time I can’t think of the proper way of saying something in French, I’ll just come out with a ridiculous made-up English word instead of risking brain meltdown.
There’s also a good story about translating “environmental stewardship,” and some thoughts on context.