Raymond Ricci recalled that when he was General Manager of a Russian-American radio station in Moscow, they sometimes had to record bilingual commercials for advertisers. Once, when Billy Graham brought his crusade to Russia, he had an ad script that included the phrase, “The body is weak, but the spirit is strong.”
Raymond wrote the commercial out in English, and his secretary translated it into Russian. Later he asked his program director, Vasily, to review it. “We have a slight problem,” Vasily said, chuckling when he came to that phrase. “In Russian, it says, ‘He can’t stand up, but he has good vodka.'”
The communication principle here is that we have to communicate in the language of the hearer, but we have to listen in the language of the speaker. How many have innocently hurt another’s feelings by a poor choice of words. Let’s be careful with how we say things.