This is a charming roundup of mistranslations from other languages, starting off with the original poster’s Russian wife asking for a tape measure without knowing the name - did he have a roll of inches?
Some of my favorites:
"My Dutch neighbor called the merry go round a horse tornado."
"My Polish friend refers to bean bag chairs as ‘sitting beans.’"
"My Korean friend wanted to ‘give me a hand,’ instead he said ‘Do you need my finger?’ And held it up."
"My Icelandic friend called dimples ‘smile holes.’"
"My husband is from Switzerland, and speaks French. He was eating escargot one day, and went to throw the shells away. One of my dogs was begging for the buttery shells, and I over heard him tell her ‘No Bailey, no snail houses for you.’"
"I work with a woman from Laos. She was trying to find a word for ‘frostbite’ and said to me, ‘You know, cold eat you. Cold eat your body.’"
"A Swedish person I met was trying to use the phrase ‘as the crow flies’ and came up with ‘bird traffic’ instead."
"In Arabic ‘download’ and ‘put down’ share the same word. So a while back my Arabic cousin came to stay with me for a few weeks. Every time he wanted me to drop him off somewhere he would say ‘Download me here’ or ‘Download me there.’ I never corrected him. It was awesome."