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Monday, January 26, 2015

I Weigh 375 Pounds | Mistranslation Monday

As mentioned in my post last week about German healthcare, I recently went to the doctor in Germany for the first time. The appointment started off just as any appointment would. After checking in with the receptionist, a nurse asked to check my vitals before I went into the waiting room.

"Please take off your shoes and step onto the scale," she said (but in German, of course).

Since it was one of those scales with the sliders, she then asked me, "About how much do you weigh?"

"Ummm..." I had to think for a second, remembering that we were dealing with kilograms, "about 170 kg."

65 kg to 170 kg (140 lbs to 375 lbs)

The woman then fumbled with the sliders for quite a while before finding the correct value (I don't know why, I told her how much I weighed...). Finally, she announced my real weight, a number that is less than half of 170.

I walked back out to the waiting room, sat down next to the German boyfriend, and stared at the wall for a good 5 minutes before I realized what I had said to the woman just moments before.

I told her I weighed 170 kg. That is 375 pounds. I am an idiot.

After relaying the story to Marco, he had a good laugh and told me that all the doctors and nurses in the office already know that I come from the U.S. At least she didn't just think I was completely stupid. Instead, I am just the ignorant American.

Would you be able to say right now (without Google's help) how much you weigh in both pounds and kilograms?


  1. Nope. I visited a doctor this month, too. "How much do you weigh?" "I don't know; haven't been on a scale since I moved here." "How tall are you?" "Uh...five feet, four inches." Blank stare from poor nurse. She had me stand up, compared her height to mine, and wrote something down. I made a mental note to figure these things out before next year. You're not alone! :-)

  2. I have the height thing down since having to have the man in the Ausländeramt measure me with his tape measure thing in his office when I was applying for my visa. It was really embarrassing. 170 cm.


  3. Mandi | No Apathy AllowedJanuary 26, 2015 at 4:15 AM

    The weight thing I have no problem with, since my scale at home is in kilograms. But I couldn't for the life of me tell you how tall I am in meters -- even though I've embarrassingly had to figure it out at the Ausländeramt and a couple of other official offices. Ach ja. :)

  4. I have absolutely no idea how to convert kg into pounds so if anyone asks me about my weight in the US, I would say something stupid as well :D I would however liked to have seen the nurse's face when you told her your weight :D

  5. This is so something I would say! I have a hard enough time saying my birthday here since it is written different than I am use to in the states ha.

  6. Since my doctor's office is in the middle of the Turkish neighborhood, I think her reaction was something like an eye-roll combined with muttering "verdammte Ausländer" under her breath.

  7. Totally! It would be easier if I was born on a day that is 13+, but being born on the 8th, I am always making it look like I was born on August 7th instead of July 8th.

  8. yeah that sounds like a typical German reaction :D

  9. Lovely picture of you at 170 kg

  10. I can tell you my weight in kg and an estimate in pounds.. but I can see where you got confused...


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