Anyone who has been following the Sochi Olympic Games on social media has seen the hashtags, the cheap jokes, and the insensitive jabbing surrounding a pretty clear mishandling of such a large and public event by Russia. But, as with most things on the internet, our berating may be saying more about our ignorance and aloofness than about Russia's incompetencies.
“When Western writers point out Sochi Olympic blunders while also mocking the way Russians speak English, they only diminish their own street cred and fuel backlash. If Americans focus on shallow cultural differences, like what they think are funny sounds that Russians make, they'll continue to believe all Russians are like Boris and Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle.”
While I'm not above laughing at a mistranslated sign, we should be sure to keep in mind that these are real conditions in a real place where real people live.