What’s a Cookie in Turkish?

Suleymaniye Mosque and the Bosphorus

Twilight on the Bosphorus

I’ve just returned from teaching digital marketing at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. I was part of a small team despatched by the EACA School to join in the summer program.

All the usual irritations occurred. My flight was delayed. The hotel’s kitchen was closed when I arrived. There was no room service. The fridge contained just two cans of Coke, but Sally and I are British, so we grumbled a lot and then, feeling better, went to sleep.

The next day, 25 students arrived to get the full benefit of my presence, which turned out to be a tough task, since only seven of them spoke English. I do not speak Turkish. So, at lunchtime, the non-English speakers apologised very politely and left. That left seven participants and two others who were going to depend on their friends’ translations.

I gave them a pitch for Little Green Earthlets’ business, were the company to launch in Turkey. Little Green Earthlets is a UK business which sells reusable organic cotton nappies. The owner, Michele Riley, is looking for a reliable source of  organic Turkish cotton.

My group of nine came up with a really great idea for the possible launch of these nappies in Turkey, so that alone made the trip worthwhile. I was delighted.

During the course, the students referred to Michele’s products as diapers.

We don’t use this word in the UK, but we know what it means

In turn, I used three words during the course which none of the fluent English speakers could understand or translate.

They were geek, nerd and cookie.

Equally, I couldn’t think of any alternative English words which might help them. There aren’t any.

In my next blog, which I’ll post tomorrow, I’ll briefly go through The Twelve Big Lessons I’ve learnt during my 2010 European Tour. It’s not over yet, so the list might grow.

The most recent lesson, which occurred at 08.30 yesterday morning, was to be absolutely certain that you know from which airport your flight home is departing.

We were at the wrong one.