Harwich to Esbjerg (Monday 8th – Wednesday 10th September 2008)
They say it’s all in the translation. It’s not my fault I didn’t know the Danish word for porpoise had two meanings.
With a change in destination comes a change in the language. Norwegian and Danish are extremely similar but still there are one or two differences. Therefore one of the first things I had to do when I got onboard the Dana Sirena was to go through my presentation on the Wildlife of the North Sea and change all the Norwegian words into Danish. Using an English / Danish dictionary on a colleagues’ computer the job took no time at all and so I was ready to do my first presentation on this ship, or so I thought.
With my equipment set up and my audience in place I started my presentation. It was all going swimmingly until I showed a picture of a porpoise with both the English and Danish word next to it. I noticed a few puzzled looks on the faces of some people in the audience and then I heard giggling. Straight away I knew the word ‘marsvin’ was causing me problems.
Who would have thought that ‘marsvin’ is a little known word for porpoise, but more familiarly to most of the Danish population it is also the word for guinea pig. When a member of the audience enlightened me of this fact, images of scuba diving guinea pigs popped into my head. This is not helpful at all when trying to do a presentation, so I clung on to the last bit of professionalism I could muster as I stifled my own giggles at the guinea pigs that were now swimming around in my head with tiny little scuba fins on their tiny little feet (my world is a wonderful place).
Anyway, I have done the presentation a number of times now and know to look for those questioning gazes. I then explain to the audience exactly what I am going to explain to you. In my professional capacity as a Wildlife Officer I would like to dispel any rumours you may have heard (from said Wildlife Officer) and confirm that Guinea pigs are definitely not cetaceans!