Several years ago, my sister’s husband was stationed in Germany with the Air Force. He was born in Austria, so spoke perfect German. They and their 18 month old baby were living off base in a small town, where most of the residents spoke only a little English, so my sister became fluent in German within a very short time.
My mother and I went over to visit one September while they were there. My brother-in-law had to spend a few days on rotation on the base, so the rest of us took a trip to some surrounding areas. These included a small castle that gave several tours each hour. These tours were mostly in German, with one tour per hour given in English. There was a sign posted at the ticket office that explained this and stated that no other tours would be given in English, just the one each hour. We arrived shortly after the English tour had left, and would have had to wait another hour before the next English tour. However, because my sister spoke German rather well, we decided to join one of the regular tours and she would translate for the rest of us.
Another American couple also joined this tour. We assumed, and so did the tour guide, that this couple also spoke German well enough to understand the basics. However, the guide had barely started the tour and was getting ready to move to the next area when the man from the second couple started yelling that she needed to give them the tour in English. The guide explained, in perfect English, that this was not an English tour, she could not give the tour in English because most of the rest of the tour could not understand her, and the couple was invited to wait for the next English tour. But the man continued to yell that he needed the tour in English, that they had paid good money for a tour now. If I remember correctly, my sister even offered to include them in her translation, but that wasn’t good enough for the man, he wanted the information from the guide. The guide then said that she would give them a translation after she had given the German rendition, which the man accepted. However, we soon realized that she was giving the man a very abbreviated version of her German rendition, because she still had to get the tour moving at the proper speed, which didn’t allow for two full renditions. There were still a couple of times when the next tour had to wait for us to finish up with a room and move on before they could come in.
After the tour, we gave the guide her tip, thanked her very much for her patience, and apologized for the actions of the other Americans because we didn’t want her to think that all Americans were like that. She appreciated that, and even gave us a little souvenir in return. 0201-11