Oranges, Apples and Pears go Bananas

My post yesterday about Data Quality Evangelism included the fruit oranges and a comment from Jim Harris added apples to the analogies by using the idiom about comparing apples and oranges.

There are a lot of linguistic musings around the words apples and oranges.

In many languages we use the similar idiom as comparing apples and pears. But it may be geographic depended as in European French it is apples and pears but in Quebec French it is apples and oranges.

In some Germanic languages the fruit orange can be translated as “Chinese apple”. For example the Dutch word is “sinaasappel”  and the Danish/Norwegian word is “appelsin”. In Germany it is “Apfelsine” in the North and “Orange” in the South. The linguistic line across Germany is by the way called the apple-line, but for the opposite reason.

In English a “Chinese apple” is a pomegranate.

The word orange has two meanings in English: A fruit and the color (as they write in American English) or a colour (as they write on the British English).

The two meanings make Google Translate go bananas. When Google translates between languages it does it via English. So if I translate “appelsin” from Danish to Dutch I don’t get “sinaasappel”. Instead I get “oranje”, the Dutch national color.

No wonder Data Quality Evangelism most often isn’t fruitful.

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