One of the “helpful” sentences I once came across in a Spanish-English phrase book was “My father was a submarine captain”. I used to laugh at the idea that the book’s author (and, presumably, its publisher) thought this might come up in an average conversation of a British holidaymaker on the Costa del Sol.
Ever since, I have been on the lookout for similarly amusing and bizarre (and apparently unlikely to be used) phrases offered by translation aids. Today, while copy-editing a manuscript written in English by a native German speaker, I turned to Reverso.net – an excellent online multilingual dictionary – in search of an alternative to “seduced”, which my author had used in the context of one company being attracted to use the services of another. Reverso gave more than a dozen sentences putting verführte in context. The winner, for me, was Er verführte sie mit seinem Didgeridoo – “He seduced her with his didgeridoo”.