Steve Stirling is having much too much fun writing his alternate-history book about the Cold War in the late twentieth century--and its spillover to an inhabited Mars:
smstirling.com : "I am glad that Your Supremacy is pleased with our fraternal aid," Lin Yu-Pei said, rather obviously translating too-literally from his native speech.
The courtiers tensed very slightly, adopting postures of disassociation, implying that they were not present. The guards reacted in a more unambiguous fashion, touching weapons.
"That is not the most appropriate of phrasing," Sajir said gently.
Sajir sa-Tomond fell into the Terran language called Russian; they had a ridiculous number of them, and used them all simultaneously, but it was an ability he had thought it sufficiently useful to cultivate. Communication beyond the basics required more than translation of words; modes of thought and perception embodied in the underlying syntax must be understood.
"You implied a genetic relationship with myself, the Tollamune," he explained gently. "This is a serious breach of protocol and may not be done even as a matter of metaphor."
"My apologies, your Supremacy,"
"While not forgotten, the offense is allowed to pass without repercussion due to your ignorance of the Real World's usages," Sajir said formally.
Unnoticed by the Terran, the Expediter of Painful Transitions lowered the grub-implanter.
Forthcoming from Tor.