What is Meant vs What is Said (or the Dangers of Literal Translation)

Because my name looks French, people assume that I am French (which could be a mistake since names can be misleading, especially in the case of a woman). So when I send a thank-you e-mail to someone, I sometimes get a reply saying “Mon plaisir!”, a literal translation of the English “my pleasure”.

Unfortunately, literal translation rarely works. In this case, “mon plaisir” is suggestive of something personal that I’d rather not think about… Why do people randomly mention their pleasure to me? That’s not the sort of e-mails I want to see in my inbox.

PS: The right phrase is “(Tout) le plaisir est pour moi”. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.


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