Summary: Five cultural misunderstandings and one evening of enlightenment that shaped Autobot and human relations, for better or worse.
Five Times Humans Confused the Autobots (and One Time They Didn't)
The Autobots began receiving faint radio messages from Earth before they'd even entered the solar system. By the time they passed through Pluto's orbit, the messages were strong enough for them to begin deciphering human languages. By the time they rounded Saturn's rings they had deciphered enough code to be thoroughly confounded.
"Isn't the English word "cool" talkin' 'bout the temperature?"Jazz radioed the others.
"Yes." Optimus replied.
means morally depraved 'n' cruel?"
"and "bad" means, y'know, not good?"
"That was one of the first words we decoded, Jazz." Jazz could hear Ratchet's frustration mounting. He bristled a bit at the implied reprimand; it wasn't his fault.
"I'm jus' tryin'a understand a conversation between two humans I got, goes like this:
-Oh, dude, your new board's totally wicked!
-I know, idn't so bad?
-Way cool, man, way cool."
The link fell silent for a few moments as each of the others (well, maybe not Ironhide) attempted to translate the conversation into cybertronian.
"Perhaps your receiver is malfunctioning." Optimus tentatively said.
"Primus, I hope not. I don't know if I'll be able to repair such an intricate part. If you've gone and damaged such a primary and delicate component…" Ratchet trailed off before the curses could pass through the spacewaves.
"I'm pretty sure it's workin' just fine." Jazz replied as haughtily as he could in this form of communication.
"I see no other reason for composition of that conversation, unless beyond my awareness boards obtained moral characters. The second human also seemed rather…enthusiastic over the immorality of its board."Optimus noted diplomatically.
"I tell ya, that's what it said, loudn'clear."
"I may have found an explanation for that conversation you transmitted to us as we passed by the 6th planet." Optimus said to Jazz as they waited for Bumblebee's signal in orbit. Jazz received an internet address, and quickly uploaded the page.
"Bad: 1. opposite of good 2. opposite of bad 3. taking responsibility for something bad 4. possessing the qualities of badness." What? Jazz thought. He read the first two notes again.
"Bad: 1. Opposite of good 2. Opposite of bad" How can a word be the opposite of itself? Does "bad" mean both good and not good at the same slaggin' time?
Sweet Primus, it'd be a miracle if they could communicate with the humans at all.
Jazz made sure to go through every entry on urbandictionary...just in case.
Notes: Jazz's confusion over the word "bad" was inspired by an actual conversation between my mother and I. I tried to convince her that "bad" meaning "good" made sense, and it didn't work out so well.