Translating word for word
One routine job for me every morning is to issue admission slips for returning students who were absent the day before and students who came in late for the day. Sounds boring, right? - - Actually, it is. But sometimes you do get to smile now and then at the letters you get and far out excuses coming from students why they were late. The most used excuse are: “Woke up late” “Had to wait for my brother/sister” and the perennial “Sir, traffic, e.”
At any rate, me and my partner had a blast one morning when a freshman student came to the office with a note. Just by looking at the letter’s handwriting, I knew it did not come from any of his parents. So, I was prepared to confront him to say that I knew for a fact that neither his father nor his mother wrote the note. However, I was surprised to see that it was signed by him. Since this was a new encounter, I immediately read the content of the letter thinking it might be a different request. Well, it was an excuse letter alright. You’ll get to know the content of the letter as you read along.
Me: “Hijo, first of all, an excuse letter should be done by either your father or mother to attest that you were indeed sick so that we can excuse you. You cannot write me a personal note and tell me to excuse you for your absence, okay?”
He just nodded and kept quiet. My partner was inside our room doing something and was smiling. I was at the receiving area.
Me: “You should also be careful with your subject-verb agreement, ha? When the subject is plural, you don’t add s to the verb, okay?
He nodded again.
I let out a sigh and then asked, “And hijo, what do you mean when you wrote, ‘I was already feeling hot?'” He paused and thought about it then responded…
Him: “Sir, feeling ko, lalagnatin ako. Mainit ang pakiramdam ko, sir.” My partner was not just smiling by this time. She already had a huge grin on her face but pretended to be busy writing something.
Me: “ah okay. You know what, you don’t say it like that because it means something else in English, ha.”
No response. Just looked blankly on the wall as if thinking about something.
Finally he said, “Sir, may scientific calculator ka ba?” (Sir, do you have a scientific calculator I can borrow?) It turned out he was about to take a test in Stats. So, all the while I was preaching him, he was thinking about his pending exams and where he can get a scientific calculator. That sent my partner to the floor. O di ba, masaya? (Take note, hindi siguro samin nag elementary yun. hehehe)