Ah, Google Translate. I visit that site more than any other; along side Gmail it is a constantly open tab on my browser day and night. Sometimes I spend hours upon hours on it translating, emails and reports from/to my colleagues, government documents on environmental impact assessments, soil and other environmental data – oh the possibilities are endless! It would be much more efficient for me to just instantaneously become fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, but until then I have Google Translate. I practice my language skills by trying to write all emails and text messages in Bahasa Indo only. And the site apparently translates English to Bahasa with the same success as it translates Bahasa to English thereby getting sentences such as, “Diana names completely spoiled.”

That sentence comes from a song that a staff member at a coffee/noodle shop nearby my place always sings to me. The coffee shop also has free internet, so I frequent it often on the weekends to do work and school, and unlike coffee shops in the U.S. where you get the stink eye for staying all day and just ordering one coffee and nursing it for hours, it is the norm here with no stink eye! Getting back to the point, there is a band called Koes Plus that has a song named “Diana” – the spelling isn’t the same, but the staff doesn’t know that.

Di gunung tinggi kutemui / I met in high mountain
Gadis manis putri paman petani / Sweet girl’s uncle’s daughter farmer
Cantik menarik menawan hati / Pretty interesting captivates
Diana namanya manja sekali / Diana names completely spoiled
Waktu aku mengikat janji / When I tied the knot
Kuberikan cincin bermata jeli / I gave sharp-edged rings
Tapi apa yang kualami / But what happened to me
Paman petani marah ku dibenci / My uncle hated angry farmers

Diana, Diana kekasihku / Diana, Diana’s lover
Bilang pada orang tuamu / Tell your parents
Cincin yang bermata jeli itu / Sharp-edged ring that
Tanda cinta kasih untukmu / A sign of love for you

The song is quite sweet, and of course they love their love songs over here. One of the first phrases I learned from a coworker was from a love song on the radio, “Selalu hatiku,” meaning “Forever my love.” It’s always fun trying to interpret the translation – unless of course you have a report deadline, and you’re left wondering what in the world are they trying to say!

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