Red Dwarf - Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, by Grant Naylor, 1990
Guild America Books, 1990
'Mi esporas ke kiam vi venos la vetero estos milda,' said the language instructor on the vid-screen, and left a pause for the translation.
'Errm... uhhhh... uhmmmm... Wait a minute... I know this... Ooooh... hang on... don't tell me... Urrh...'
Without looking up from the jet manifold he was fervently greasing, Lister chimed: 'I hope when you come the weather will be clement.'
'I hope when you come the weather will be clement,' the woman on the vid-disc concurred.
'Don't tell me. I would have got that.'
'Bonvolu direkti min al kvinsela hotelo?' the recorded instructor prompted.
'Ahhh, yes... this is one from last time... I remember this... Ooooh...'
Lister took the screwdriver out of his mouth. 'Please could you direct me to a five-star hotel?'
'Wrong, actually. Totally, completely and utterly, totally wrong.'
Although technically Esperanto wasn't an official requirement for promotion, officers were generally expected to be reasonably fluent in the international language.
'La mango estis bonega! Dlej korajn gratulojn al la kuiristo.'
Rimmer snapped his fingers. 'I would like to purchase the orange inflatable beach ball, and that small bucket and spade.'
'The meal was splendid!' the woman translated. 'My heartiest congratulations to the chef.'
Rimmer squeaked. 'Is it??' He asked the vid to pause.
'La menuo aspektas bowege—mi provos la kokidajon.'
'Ah, now this one I do know...'
Holly's image replaced the woman's on the monitor, and smoothly delivered the correct reply.
'The menu looks excellent; I'll try the chicken.'
'Holly, as the Esperantinos would say,' Rimmer made the Ionian sign for 'Smeg off' with his two thumbs: '"Bonvolu alsendi la pordiston—lausajne estas rano en mia bideo", and I think we all know what that means.'
'Yes,' said Holly, 'it means: "Could you send up the Hall Porter—there appears to be a frog in my bidet?"'
'Does it?' Rimmer was genuinely surprised...