My most recent job in France consisted of me driving to various businesses and giving English lessons to the people who worked there. The actual teaching part was 36 times better then when I was working with the French public school system, because my adult students were interested in learning English and I didn’t have any discipline problems.
What I didn’t like about the job was the getting to and from the various offices, scattered throughout the region.
While they did provide me with a car, I had never driven in France before. I thought this wouldn’t be a problem, as my cell phone has a GPS device on it.
I was wrong.
I got lost regardless of where I went, at least the first three times I went there.
I blame it on the French GPS constantly giving me the following bad directions:
“Prenez la sortie.”
Translated as: Take the exit.
To me, an exit is where one actually turns off the freeway and finds oneself upon roads with stoplights (or in France, with roundabouts).
When presented with the option of merging onto a new freeway, or taking an actual exit, I took the exit.
The problem? To my GPS, une sortie was not always an exit. Sometimes it was, and sometimes it meant merge onto a different freeway.
“Turner à droite/à gauche.”
Translated as: Turn right/left.
To me, turning right/left involves turning onto a new road, going perpendicular to where I was going before.
When at a stoplight where one could turn left, turn right, or veer to the right, I took “turn right” to mean turn right.
My GPS, however, often told me to turner à droite/à gauche when she really wanted me to continue on the same road I was already on, which happened to be veering to the left/right.
Translated as: Exit imminent.
To me, an exit being imminent implies it is the very next exit.
My GPS liked to tell me "sortie imminent" when there were still 2-4 exits off the freeway before mine.
Clearly my GPS is a drama queen.