I wasn’t planning to write about the minor contretemps caused by Secretary of State Clinton’s gag gift to Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, of a red plastic button with the English word reset and an alleged Russian translation that turned out to be wrong; I figure everyone’s heard about it by now, and really, what is there to say other than “oops”? As Geoff Pullum says in his Language Log post, “peregruzka doesn’t mean ‘reset’… The word they were supposed to have printed on the device was ‘perezagruzka’.”
What prompted me to write was seeing the actual button at Anatoly’s post about it. It doesn’t say ПЕРЕГРУЗКА on the button, it says PEREGRUZKA. I wasn’t outraged about the mistranslation, since perezagruzka is a new term and isn’t in the dictionaries and I could understand how the mistake might have come about, but using Roman letters instead of Cyrillic? What the hell, people? Didn’t anyone realize they use a different alphabet over there?


  1. on diplomatic level and about that sensitive matters, it’s of course unacceptable, if they tried to show efforts of translation
    i would interpret that as intentional offense, but Russians, they are not very grudge holding people generally, and sometimes perebor can solve tension
    the AR relations are much warmer now i guess

  2. a

  3. Language Log commenter Lance quotes CNN as quoting Reines as saying “…If any of you travel with labelmaking devices equipped with Russian spell-check, please do let me know…”
    Sounds like the whole manufacturing process was rushed a little too fast for any of it to be done right.

  4. A.J. P. HkCo says

    Anyway, why doesn’t Clinton speak Russian by now? She’s the Secretary of State, for God’s sake.

  5. My sentiments exactly.
    In actual parlance, though, nobody uses the long-winded “перезагрузка”. (One of the sources of that mistake could be that the verb for resetting/reloading is, indeed, “перегрузить” more often than “перезагрузить”.)
    What I (and many other Russians) would say is probably more along the lines of “Нажми [на] ресет”. That’s if I needed to label the button itself.

  6. Russian news articles about the Clinton-Lavrov meetings (before the fact, I believe) translated the reset button as “сброс.” I’ve definitely heard that.
    “Перезагрузка” sounds a little funny to me, but that may be because it’s the word used in the title for “The Matrix Reloaded.”

  7. yeah, i always thought set is nastroi if some structure, so if it’s a process so zagruzka, reset was always reset for me coz, pere as re-, kinda new for me too if it’s a noun, if verbs, then naturally, peredelat’, perezagruzit’ znachit

  8. A.J. P. HkD says

    So, how many languages does the Secretary of State speak?

  9. hi. i was shocked that it wasn’t in the russian, cyrillic alphabet. to me, it isn’t even russian if it is written in english…. o well.. i thought the whole idea of giving them a button was stupid anyway, then label it in incorrect english/russian. i am learning russian off cds and I know it better than the state department. lol.

  10. It is interesting to note that the expected translation of the word reset would be «сброс». That has been a common translation in EE and computer fields since no later than the 60s.
    On the other hand, the word «перезагрузка» has been floating around as a verbum pro verbo for the English reboot: re- = «пере-». Unlike its English counterpart, however, the Russian coinage feels quite unwieldy. As the English to bootstrap has became to boot, the double-prefixed «перезагрузить» commonly loses one and becomes «перегрузить» colloquially. The latter word, however, already exists, meaning to overload. While not a problem in a context, «перегрузка» on a button by itself would be ambiguous, and could be understood by a non-computer person as a red reset button that should be pressed in case of sudden overloading. On the other hand, that would not be entirely incorrect an interpretation…
    And I agree with you on the topic of the alphabet used. That looks, eh, lame, and doubly so given the people who did that also govern a country, and quite a large and important one.

  11. The poor job of translation may be indicative of how DoS language skills deteriorated under the Bush-Rice leadership
    Interestingly, I find the following glosses for “reset”: “вновь устанавливать” and “сброс”, with the latter being much preferred. Any comment?

  12. komfo,amonan says

    Perhaps this plays well at home, as most Americans would feel subconsciously comforted by the spectacle of their high-flying officials getting a foreign language wrong. So maybe it was intentional.
    I kid, I kid.

  13. Виктор says

    “Вновь устанавливать” – такой перевод не подойдет. Нужно дополнение. Это не то, что можно написать на кнопке.
    “Сброс” – тоже странно звучит(от части из-за других значений этого и однокоренных этому слов).
    ПереЗАгрузка – подходит идеально. Но мне кажется нужно использовать другую форму: “перезагрузИТЬ”.
    С перегрузкой самая большая проблема в том, что это по смыслу близко к “overload”. А это немного смешно в данном контексте.
    One more time in english.
    “вновь устанавливать” doesnt suite at all. It can be used in a sentence, but you cant name that way a button.
    сбрасывать – have another meanings… And doesnt sound good in this context.
    They should write “перезагрузка”, or maybe even “перезагрузить”

  14. Виктор says

    ооох, как же у Вас не удобно каментить. Все адреса почтовые видны.
    Пожалуйста, удалите мой email из прошлого комментария.
    Или вообще весь пост.

  15. The task of the State department is not to translate accurately, but to effectively communicate the nation’s foreign policy stance internally and externally without pissing off other countries.
    Hillary Clinton’s attitude towards Russia is not exactly “reset”:

    Statesmanship is also necessary to engage countries that are not adversaries but that are challenging the United States on many fronts. Russian President Vladimir Putin has thwarted a carefully crafted UN plan that would have put Kosovo on a belated path to independence, attempted to use energy as a political weapon against Russia’s neighbors and beyond, and tested the United States and Europe on a range of nonproliferation and arms reduction issues. Putin has also suppressed many of the freedoms won after the fall of communism, created a new class of oligarchs, and interfered deeply in the internal affairs of former Soviet republics.

    If the letters are Roman instead of Cyrillic, I would say that indicates the main target audience.

  16. I wonder what the US reaction would be if Russia’s Sec of State was a monoglot who came to DC with a toy that had a Cyrillicized English “Reset” (рисет, I guess), except it was wrong and instead said something like реститушон.
    I’m sure such a person would be (accurately) portrayed as a bumbling fool, the symbol of an administration that was long on hubris, and short competence.

  17. A.J. P. TffK says

    Exactly. A self-centered fool representing a bunch of other self-centered fools with no interest in anyone except their own press corps. That’s the impression she has given.

  18. A.J. P. TffK says

    In the old days, Nij — let’s say pre-1960 — the world’s diplomatic language was French. Britain may not be much better than the United States when it comes to foreign languages, but at least the Queen and the Prime Minister can (and do) speak fluent French to French-speaking heads of state. They probably don’t do other languages, I don’t know — at least it’s a start. I’d be amazed if Hillary spoke another language. At least Condaleeza spoke Russian.

  19. dearieme says

    “Britain may not be much better than the United States when it comes to foreign languages..”: not now, maybe, but when I were but a lad, the chemical engineers graduating from the University of Edinburgh all had French and Latin at entry, and learnt to read German during their course. One of their finals papers was in German. I learnt this at a seminar by a chap who used to teach and examine them. I will grant you, though, that Humanities people could be poor at German. Keynes had none, according to Hayek, and the historian Trevor-Roper had a command of German that lay somewhere between non-existent and very sketchy. That must throw into doubt the value of the book with which he made his name, inviting one to wonder whether he was a fraud.

  20. marie-lucie says

    AJP: pre-1960 — the world’s diplomatic language was French
    This date is much too late: Wikipedia says:
    English … has replaced French as the lingua franca of diplomacy since World War II. The rise of English in diplomacy began in 1919, in the aftermath of World War I, when the Treaty of Versailles was written in English as well as in French, the dominant language in diplomacy at that time. The wide-spread use of English was further advanced by the prominent international role played by English-speaking nations (i.e., the United States and the Commonwealth of Nations) in the aftermath of World War II
    The Treaty of Versailles was written in English in addition to French at the insistence of the US.

  21. AJP, I’m fairly certain you’re correct that Hillary Clinton speaks only English. My recollection (and that’s all it is!) is that she mentioned this during one of the presidential debates last year.

  22. A.J.P. Iffy says

    Sketchy German? Dearie, I don’t know where you got your information about Trevor-Roper, but it’s simply not true. During the war he was head of the Radio Intelligence Section of MI6. Its main job was intercepting and analysing messages from the Abwehr, the German secret service (its other officers were Gilbert Ryle and Stuart Hampshire). Here is a short article about him. My cousin knew him professionally and two of my friends have written books that are in some way related to him. They all seem to think he was exceptionally smart, and my cousin said that people with his breadth of knowledge just don’t exist anymore. If you want a dose of what he was like (smug, Tory and pompous as well as well-read) you ought to read this.

  23. A.J.P. Crown says

    Marie-Lucie, just because something’s in Wikipedia that doesn’t make it true.

  24. marie-lucie says

    AJP, you are right about Wikipedia in general, but in this case their statement happens to coincide with what I understand from other sources.

  25. AJP, I’m serious about Very-Ropey. When he held a press conference at the time of the Hitler Diaries fiasco, his hearing was OK – he could answer the questions asked in English – but he didn’t understand the questions asked in German. My wife – who did understand the German questions – was appalled, because she knew he’d made his reputation with The Last Days of Hitler. Later we read an account of the fiasco by the newspaper editor involved – he said that one problem was that Very-Ropey couldn’t read Gothic script. My wife had learnt that at school, for heaven’s sake. Our conclusion was that the man was a fraud. (It was rather like learning that Margaret Mead had not troubled to learn the Polynesian language that she would have needed to do serious anthropological work in the Pacific, but I expect better of a historian.) I am not, of course, suggesting for a moment that he was a fraud on the scale of Mrs Clinton; he didn’t, as far as I know, invent claims to have come under enemy fire.

  26. A.J.P. Crown says

    Well, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. His colleagues think of the Hitler Diaries thing as a bizarre tragedy that permanently damaged his reputation, but calling him a fraud is about as meaningful as calling Louis Armstrong or the Queen a fraud: you may not like them, but fraudulence is a meaningless accusation in the context of their work. It’s clear to me from what I have read that he spoke not only German but many modern European languages, and as it says in the Telegraph article, he won University prizes as a student at Oxford for his skill with ancient languages. The authorized biography by Adam Sisman will be out sometime this year, I think.

  27. Could it not be that his written German (which is what you need to be a historian) was excellent, but his spoken ability was not?

  28. I figure everyone’s heard about it by now
    Really? I certainly hadn’t. What sort of person fits your definition of “everyone”? I suppose people who read the NYT regularly, which unfortunately I don’t have time to do.

  29. I assume the use of Roman letters instead of Cyrillic was to save Sec. Clinton embarrassment if she were asked by anyone to read what the button said, and put her and Lavrov on an equal footing. Are there any educated Russians left who can’t decipher Latin script? I doubt it.
    If Roper couldn’t “read Gothic script”(I assume by this you mean fraktur [the typeface], not Suetterlinschrift [the pre-war handwriting style]?) then he certainly was a fraud, or at best dyslexic. Fraktur should present no difficulties at all to someone who can read even basic German. Suetterlinschrift on the other hand…

  30. michael farris says

    How big a faux pas would it have been had the button be labelled
    RESET – PECET ????

  31. A.J.P. Crown says

    See, that’s the thing. Someone like Language should be Secretary of State. It oughtn’t to be a consolation prize for losing an election, especially when the person can’t even speak any languages. In this mess she just looks like the proverbial dumb American.

  32. What sort of person fits your definition of “everyone”? I suppose people who read the NYT regularly
    It was in all the major papers pretty much everywhere: see Google News. Obviously “everyone” is hyperbole, but this wasn’t something only a Times reader would know. (I didn’t learn it from the Times, I just used their article as a convenient link.)
    Someone like Language should be Secretary of State.
    I’d be a terrible Secretary of State. I’d cause diplomatic incidents everywhere I went.

  33. dearieme says

    @HAT: “Could it not be that his written German (which is what you need to be a historian) was excellent, but his spoken ability was not?” Could be, but it’s then very rum that he couldn’t read the Gothic script, isn’t it? And for The Last Days of Hitler he’d need spoken German or he must have relied on interpreters (trustingly?) and suppressed the fact. His having classical languages is neither here nor there – so had Keynes and no-one, as far as I know, has questioned Hayek’s complaint that he never troubled to get even a reading knowledge of German. And that, let me emphasise, in an era when (i) much Economics was written in German, and (ii) when any serious member of the chemical professions learnt to read German.
    When Very-Ropey was Master of Peterhouse I asked a chum who was a Fellow there whether it could be true, as my wife had inferred, that the old boy was a fraud re German. The burden of his reply was that it would not be, in his opinion, out of character.

  34. dearieme says

    @vanya: the script he couldn’t read was the one used in the fake Hitler Diaries, so that was presumably the handwritten one. Further to HAT’s point: yes, I warm to your suggestion. I suppose he could earlier have quickly mugged up enough German to read the language in a familiar typeface, and then taken the job of wandering Berlin investigating Hitler’s end after misleading his colleagues about his ability with spoken German – or, rather, heard German. Wich still makes him a fraud, mind, both then and when he took on the Hitler Diaries job.

  35. A.J.P. Crown says

    I’d be a terrible Secretary of State.
    Oh, don’t be so negative. You don’t know until you try.

  36. dearieme says

    By the way, I’ve never read Margaret Mead’s book on growing up in Samoa – in it, did she confess to not knowing the language?

  37. A.J.P. Crown says

    Dearie, if you want to believe Trevor-Roper was a fraud, I can’t stop you (though I think it’s slightly scary that you’ve already got Vanya saying he’s a fraud and — I hope he won’t mind if I say this — it doesn’t seem like Vanya’s even heard of Trevor-Roper before today).
    On my travels, while thinking about defending the good name of Lord Dacre, I picked up something about a man called Mitchell’s 2,000-book library of dictionaries. I’ve no idea if it’s true, but I thought Language might be interested.

  38. I certainly am—thanks!

  39. David Marjanović says

    Fraktur should present no difficulties at all to someone who can read even basic German.

    Yeah, I figured it out on my own almost 20 years ago. (Or maybe in fact 20 years.)

    Suetterlinschrift on the other hand…

    Yep, that’s hard. I mean, it isn’t Chinese grass script, but it comes close.

  40. John Emerson says

    There is a Gothic script but Fraktur is entirely different, and is a type of Blackface IIRC.
    Fraktur sure looks Nazi to me, and the Nazis fostered it up to point. but in 1941 he turned against Fraktur.
    I have no opinion on Trevor-Roper, except that maybe at a certain point in his trajectory he became daftish or deafish.

  41. John Emerson says

    “He” being hitler, not Trevor-Roper. It takes about a week of effort 1-2 hrs a day or so to get used to Fraktur, probably much less if you’re comfortable with German itself. There are 2-3 pairs which are initially almost undistinguishable, but if you’re fluent in German (I’m far from that), in context you’ll usually be choosing between a meaningless word / non-word and the right word.

  42. marie-lucie says

    I’ve never read Margaret Mead’s book on growing up in Samoa – in it, did she confess to not knowing the language?
    It would depend on what is meant by “knowing the language”. I read something in which she said that she was not that great at learning to speak but she always knew what was going on in the villages she was in. I think she meant that she got to the point of understanding quite a bit (passive knowledge) but was never fluent. I also felt that her statement seemed to be directed at other anthropologists who were better at language learning but (by implication) clueless about what was really going on in the communities they were studying.

  43. AJP, with all due respect, why do you feel the need to be such a condescending twit? I didn’t “say Trevor-Roper is a fraud”, I said it would be exceedingly odd for a German speaker to have difficulty with fraktur. But I have no idea whether Dearieme’s assertion that T-R couldn’t read “Gothic script” is true or not. It is also quite possible that T-R had an excellent knowledge of German in the 1940s but let it slip over the intervening 30-40 years. If that were the case I personally wouldn’t consider him a fraud. He would hardly be the first person to forget a foreign language he once knew well. But the fact that you would be so egregiously insulting as to write “it doesn’t seem like Vanya’s even heard of Trevor-Roper before today”, indicates to me that you’re not willing to engage reasonably with people who don’t put T-R on the same pedestal at which you worship.

  44. AJP Anyway, why doesn’t Clinton speak Russian by now? She’s the Secretary of State, for God’s sake.
    I thought originally this was supposed to be tongue in cheek but apparently Kron is dead serious. No, Americans don’t think that way, we think speaking another language is “furrin”. Obviously I don’t think that way and I share your values about language, but I’m atypical. Maybe if states that are as close together as England, France, and Germany–like Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska–all spoke different languages we would be more eager for better communication, but America is a big place and we would rather study engineering and computer science so we can have sexier cars and faster computers. Or the other way around.
    The “liberal arts” education is hard to sell here. Years ago some universities had foreign language requirements but people like me who could test out of the requirement usually took a language anyhow, and those who weren’t interested chose a different school. While I think it’s wonderful “feel good” thing to be able to say ‘thank you’ in 9 languages, realistically the SoS needs a grasp of policy more than that symbolic stuff. The State department can always hire real translators. HRC was the only person in the presidential debates who was pragmatic enough to know the name of the Russian president.
    If Condoleeza did know Russian, reportedly it didn’t help her rapport with the Russian diplomats any.
    The Russian diplomat made mistake in translating the button–how come no one is talking about “hubris” and calling him a “bumbling” “self-centered fool”? Oh, wait, but he’s not American.

  45. A.J.P. Crown says

    Nij, not everyone in the USA thinks it’s wrong to speak a foreign language, and there is a significant proportion, I would guess, that speaks at least one. To choose a Secretary of State who doesn’t speak any at all implies that Hillary is more important to the Pres than the job itself is. As for giving presents in public, with inscriptions you don’t understand, on behalf of the US govt: it’s not good for the image of the US. Improving the tarnished image of the US is probably the main job of a Sec. of State these days, just so people stop throwing bombs at Americans.

  46. No, Kron, I don’t know any Americans who speak another language, especially if they were born here. My grandfather spoke the language of his country of birth, but had forgotten it by the age of 50 and had to relearn it when a family member came to visit. Maybe some of the naturalized Mexicans are close to fluent, but that kind of bilingual ability has to be acquired in childhood and only lasts a generation. It’s not something that can just be “picked up”. You have to learn it from a surrounding culture.
    Most Americans just don’t have the kind of money to go live somewhere for a while (where they can’t work legally) in order get the “immersion” necessary to become fluent in something.

  47. A.J.P. Crown says

    Vanya, I’m very sorry to have come off sounding condescending. I really have nothing to condescend about and I should think you’re a lot more knowledgeable than me about many interesting things, including the German language. You called him Roper, but except in a European historian I don’t consider an acquaintance with Trever-Roper to be a sign of anything significant, especially if you aren’t middle-aged and British. I don’t worship him — his pompous language reminds me of Mr Micawber and I know he would have despised me, had I met him — but I don’t think he was a fraud either.

  48. People don’t throw bombs at Americans because they have some idea we should be cracking some Russian textbook. They throw bombs because they’re batshit crazy.

  49. A.J.P. Crown says

    I don’t know any Americans who speak another language
    Language speaks a few languages. I speak a couple (I’m a US citizen). So do you, komfo,amonan, Vanya, Michael Farris, John… and that’s just in this thread.

  50. A.J.P. Crown says

    It doesn’t help to call someone ‘crazy’ once they’ve thrown a bomb at you.

  51. LH doesn’t claim to speak any languages, besides he is one of the unusual Americans who has been able to live abroad. You, Kron weren’t born here and also live in a country where immersion in another language is available to you. If I could afford it, I would do it myself in a heartbeat.
    When you’re batshit crazy, nothing helps.

  52. michael farris says

    Within the US attitudes toward foreign languages are shaped by immigration and all non-anglophones are assumed to be immigrants (whether they are or not) and thus encouraged to speak as much English as possible. In that context speaking their language to them is seen as enabling them to persist in dysfunctional behavior.
    Outside the US attitudes toward foreign languages vary widely according to historical relations, perceived difficulty and income level of the country in question and actual need to know the language to get things done. Often enough Americans have positive attitudes toward learning other languages they just have no idea how to go about it.
    IME in Poland, Americans outperform Brits (and lots of other Europeans) by a wide margin in learning Polish. Some of the grammar can make your hair stand on end but they get in there and try and usually get better over time. Many Brits live for years in Poland without making any effort to learn the language whatsoever AFAICT. There are exceptions both ways but those are the averages.

  53. A.J.P. Crown says

    Brits are fat and lazy, Michael. And what’s more they’re ugly. The best person I know at learning Norwegian is American. She’s a lawyer and doesn’t speak any other languages except a bit of French. In general the people who try the hardest I can’t single out by nationality, but I think it’s women married to Norwegian men.

  54. John Emerson says

    Scandinavians learn excellent English without coming to the US. Of course, they have TV. And a motivation.
    How did we let Crum become an American citizen? Who was responsible for that?

  55. Michael Farris says

    Scandinavians (germanic mainlanders at least) like the Dutch also have something that’s more important than TV or motivation – languages that are very closely related to English genetically, typologically and historically.
    I haven’t found anything magic about their ability with other languages. In Poland, in my limited experience, Danes do better than Swedes at learning Polish (I haven’t encountered enough Norwegians to draw any conclusions).

  56. marie-lucie says

    When upper-class Russians emigrated to France in droves after the revolution, French people were amazed at how well they spoke French. Russians had such a gift for languages! They did not realize that those Russians had been speaking French at home with governesses and tutors, if not with their parents. Now Russians are accused of not being very good at learning languages (as if, barring favorable circumstances, entire populations were supposed to be good or bad at it).

  57. John Emerson says

    Aren’t Norwegians just provincial Danes who were discarded as useless?

  58. michael farris says

    Actually they were first fobbed off onto the gullible Swedes who finally decided the picturesque and award-winning coastline wasn’t worth the hassle of dealing with both the Norwegians and that troublesome black goo that kept marring the otherwise picturesque North Sea.

  59. A.J.P. Crown says

    You’re just after a war, Emerson. But we’ve got your number.

  60. A.J.P. Crown says

    Making peace is our business. That and oil.

  61. michael farris says

    Emerson just knows that with that Swedish -o- in his name he’ll be the first up against the wall once the Norwegian revolution comes.

  62. “You called him Roper”
    Did I A.J.P? Sorry, well, that explains your confusion. Guess I should stop being lazy. Sorry if my tone was harsh – 7 hour flights do that to me.
    In my experience Americans do better at learning Russian than Germans, French or English. Maybe that’s not true on average, but the foreigners I met who had truly exceptional Russian tended to be Americans.
    Right now I’m working in Utah – where quite a few people have lived abroad, generally on mission. It’s interesting – in much of the US I feel like people who speak “too many” foreign languages are regarded with suspicion. In Utah people seem to genuinely respect that talent. In fact, the desk clerk at my hotel, a college drop-out, is enthusiastically studying Japanese in her spare time, already knows French and Spanish, and professed undying love for me because I had a Russian-language novel in my carry-on bag (that’s her next language apparently). Never forget America is a gigantic country with all sorts of people in it.

  63. marie-lucie says

    In my experience Americans do better at learning Russian than Germans, French or English.
    That could be because the ones who do learn Russian are highly motivated, good at learning languages, and also have gone through better specialized training.
    In Utah people seem to genuinely respect that talent.
    Since many of the people of Utah need to learn languages for their mission work, which all young men have to undertake, they have both a practical reason to learn and a feeling for the difficulty of the task.

  64. the desk clerk at my hotel…professed undying love for me because I had a Russian-language novel in my carry-on bag
    Do I smell a religious discussion in Vanya’s future? Oooh, run, Vanya, run!
    Americans can be unreligious in the extreme, but when they decide to prosletize, no nationality in the world can overtake them. There’s the Jehovah’s witnesses, the Jews for Jesus, the crusillos, and oh, yes the Mormons, er, LDS, and probably many, many more. What they do is the face to face equivalent of spam. When they whip out that little crumpled up religious tract, just let your eyes glaze over and say “I already have a church (even if all you have is a church key) and I am very happy with it”.

  65. Emerson just knows that with that Swedish -o- in his name
    Good heavens, don’t tell me that’s his real name. I thought he was Italian.
    Vanya, don’t forget to lock your door.

  66. John Emerson says

    My sprezzatura can fool people.

  67. On diplomatic level no mistake is casual. Hillary said what she wanted to say.

  68. A.J.P. Smoke Kools. says

    It’s no accident, huh? No coincidence?

  69. There are no coincidences, only kangaroos that collide in midair.

  70. A.J.P. Smoke Kools. says

    Is that an Australian Marxist saying?

  71. Accident? Are you kidding? She can’t get rid of the “reset” meme because Vice President “Divide-Iraq-into-three-parts” Biden coined the phrase and she can’t really argue with him, right? She’s a team player. If you read the NYT article, she’s got plenty of Russian experts on her staff to play with, so translation is no problem. And you know how lawyers always say “never ask someone a question unless you know the answer”? She never stopped being a lawyer. If you look at the tape she asked the guy if they got the translation right. Practically invited him to express a differing view. And the definition the Russian guy gave was also the wrong one. Oh, they all understand each other all right. Completely.

  72. What is this sprezzatura of which you speak?
    Is it anything like chiaroscuro? How can I obtain it?

  73. I am too lazy to read all the comments at such a late time, but being a native Russian, I would like to mention that if they would write “РЕСЕТ” in Cyrillic it would be really funny AND understood by all Russian geeks and gamers, at least 😉 There is even a modified proverb in Russian: Семь бед, один ресет (Seven wrongs/woes, one reset) instead of the original one : Семь бед, один ответ (Seven wrongs/woes, one justification/response) – not sure if I managed to get the meaning across, but I’ve tried… In any case, this way it would be something to have a good laugh at.
    The best Cyrillic-related bluff to date, for me, is still a glimpse of a “Russian” passport in the first Bourne movie 🙂

  74. Thanks, I’ll have to look for that when I see the movie!

  75. John Cowan says

    What is this sprezzatura of which you speak?

    The sound made by a hen when it has just laid an egg.

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