"Hello" in Italian is … elmeto?

  • The other day I encountered a handheld computer-type translation device that, at a guess, I'd say was ten or maybe even fifteen years old: it had single-line dot matrix-type LCD screen for text output, a QWERTY keyboard with tiny rubber buttons and awkwardly-placed keys for other functionality, and a second LCD screen for a built-in game that turned out to be a Breakout clone with two bats, one at the bottom and the other halfway up the screen. After working out what the Italian-language instructions printed on the inside of the lid said, I decided to try it out by punching the "ENG" key to indicate I wanted to translate an English word; taking it easy for a first attempt, I went for "HELLO". After pressing the "ITA" key to get the Italian translation, the device prompted: "HELMET?" apparently in an attempt to find a match for a word it didn't know. Naturally, pressing the ITA key again produced the translation "ELMETO", but even my rather limited knowledge of Italian told me that probably wasn't quite what I was after.

    The thing also turned out to have built-in standard phrases for a variety of situations, and pressing the button for day-to-day conversations, I discovered it included "HELLO." Quite why it didn't know that word when I typed it in myself, I couldn't really figure out … Might have been cheaper and less frustrating for the original owner to buy a phrasebook instead of this thing, though 🙂

  • FYI: "Elmetto", with two T's, is indeed the Italian translation of "helmet". That's exactly the sort of words that you need to communicate with the locals, isn't it?

  • @fph said:

    That's exactly the sort of words that you need to communicate with the locals, isn't it?
    Given how often they've been invaded throughout the course of history, the phrase "have you seen my helmet?" is probably just as common as "could you tell me the way to a pharmacy?"


  • @fph said:

    FYI: "Elmetto", with two T's

    My mistake, I was doing this from memory.

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