I did think about adding this to Unit 2: Misunderstandings, colloquailisms, wrong words and false friends as the 'washing machine' cartoon is in the book and it is a very similar situation, but this is a good example of a literal translation which I believe comes from most Slavic languages. This one, is of course, based on what I heard in Poland: 'robot kuchenny' (literally: robot kitchen, and as we usually put the adjective before the noun - kitchen robot!) is in fact a food processor.
I am aware that robot also means 'a machine which is programmed to move and perform certain tasks automatically', but the perception of many native speakers is still an image of some kind of mechanical man whose job it is to perform these tasks, even a mechanical man that is independant and is capable of thinking for itself.
The word 'robot' in English does in fact come from a 1921 play by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek, who wrote about a fictional humanoid. These days robots have replaced humans in many tasks, particularly in those that we would prefer not to do because they are too repetitive, dangerous, or able to do tasks that humans are simply unable to carry out. Science fiction, of course, has plenty of robots in fiction and movies, often being shown in a negative way: The Terminator in popular movies, I, Robot in movies and fiction, Judge Dredd in comic strips. It is this than in any other way that the word has become linked with mechanical men in popular English culture, and so a 'kitchen robot' is very likely to bring the image in the cartoon to the mind of the native English speaker.
Examples of typical errors index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Home page
Misunderstandings Word order Cultural differences Grammar Confusing words Intonation and pronunciation Translations