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McElroy invited people to join in our recent International Translation Day celebrations by sending in cultural questions to try to “Stump the Experts.” All those who sent in questions were entered into a drawing for a chance to win a handsome gift box, Around the World in 12 Coffees. We got a kick out of the questions posed and more than one was clever enough to trip someone up if they weren’t on the ball! We are sharing them with you here. The answers are at the bottom of the newsletter, but see how many you can get without peeking! Don’t feel bad if some of these Stump You Too, there were a couple that we didn’t know the answers to either.

With our panel of experts all having their own idea of which was the most challenging question, we finally resorted to picking the winner out of a hat. Our lucky winner (and we hope thirsty person) is Linda Peterson of John Deere, but we think everyone who sent in questions earned bragging rights. You should pass this around to all your buddies and coworkers, proudly pointing out your question(s).

1. Como estas frijole cabrito?

2. Name one culture that is Matriarchal.

3. Recently, The Economist magazine had a cover headline of “The Meaning of Lula.” It was an unintended insult to President Lula of Brazil. Why?

4. What is “Euskera” and where does one find it? What is “choclo” What are “porotos”? What is “chispeando”? What is an “ojota”?

5. Why do English speakers say bless you after some one sneezes? ( opposed to the imminently more logical gesundheit (good health to you) of our teutonic brethren and “sistren”)

6. What candy do Germans really like and cannot get?

7. What do many foreigners think Americans smell like?

8. What is this quote and what language is it: “Jag vill hellre vara fattig i en stuga full med böcker än Kung utan lust att läsa.”

9. When you are serving guests at your home in Iran, who would you serve first?

10. What’s a common nickname in Chile for young girls and what’s its origin?


  1. A Spanglish pun — How have you been (bean) kid? — John Hamlet

  2. The Nakhi of southern China — Tim Altanero

  3. "Lula" means "penis" in Urdu. — Tim Altanero

  4. Basque language (the Basque provinces of Spain), corn, beans, sparkling or slang for being tipsy, a sandal — Ron Walker, Director of Legal Affairs, Texas Association of Realtors, "Honestly," I had some help from my mother (Norah Walker) and cousin (Alejandra Jordan).

  5. Because in the middle ages, it was thought that sneezing was an expulsion of evil spirits and that a person needed to be blessed so the evil spirits would not return to that person. — Catherine L. Bell

  6. Jelly beans — Linda Peterson, Deere & Company

  7. Butter — Linda Peterson, Deere & Company

  8. Thomas Macauly quote in Swedish — "I would rather be a poor man in a garret with plenty of books than a king who did not love reading." — Yara Z. Lott, Healthpoint

  9. Really really old people first, then women and among the women, you go with age, then similarly with men. At dinner, the host typically never eats! Honestly. He/she (more often with the older generation SHE serves and runs back and forth to the kitchen while he ATTENDS the table and most often EATS). Generally again, older folks are guided to the table first and served first and then everyone else … — Sandy Harris, KerrMcGee

  10. Lolita or Lola, from "Lolita," the novel by Nabokov — Anonymous

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