Thinking of travelling the world and putting a few stamps on your passport, but not sure how you’ll be able to communicate once you get to your chosen destination? There are more than 6,000 languages in the world today, but the majority of travellers and laypeople alike will only learn two or three in their lifetimes. It’s no wonder, either, considering how intricate and complex most of the languages across the globe are.
When travelling, language barriers can be extremely frustrating, inconvenient, and perhaps even dangerous, especially when you are visiting a country in which English is not a common language. Many travellers experience these difficulties throughout Asia, Scandinavia, Latin America and even Europe, which can make it challenging to gain even basic information like the price of an item or the location of your hotel.
However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel! No matter where you travel to, you can easily bridge the language gap by learning a few essential phrases in some of the world’s most commonly spoken languages. Phrases like ‘What is the time?’ and ‘How much does this cost?’ will be useful no matter where you find yourself, and can help you to navigate a busy city while reducing stress and ensuring that you get to your destination safely.
Below are the 8 most vital phrases for your journeying, translated into popular world languages.
What Is the Time?
This is always an important question if you have a schedule to follow! To ask the time and get a straight response in almost any country you find yourself in, use these translations.
English: What is the time?
French: Quelle heure est-il?
Spanish: ¿Qué hora es?
German: Wie spät ist es?
Please Help Me!
In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial to be able to ask for help no matter where you are. Use these phrases when you are in need of assistance.
English: Please help me!
French: Aidez-moi, s’il vous plait!
Spanish: ¿Puede ayudarme, por favor?
German: Bitte helfen Sie mir!
Being able to ask the location of something you are trying to find is always handy. For example, you might be on the hunt for a casino, and knowing how to ask a bystander where you should go will save you from missing out on some new slot games!
English: Where is the casino?
French: Où est le casino?
Spanish: ¿Dónde está el casino?
German: Wo ist das Casino?
How Much Does It Cost?
If you plan on purchasing things in another country, exchange rates can make some purchases quite pricey. A good rule of thumb is to always ask the price of an item first using these translations.
English: How much does it cost?
French: Combien ça coûte?
Spanish: ¿Dónde está el casino?
German: Wie viel kostet es?
Simple but important, knowing how to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in different languages will allow you to respond to questions when you need to without confusion.
This is a polite way to introduce yourself before asking a question in another country. Luckily, it is one of the easiest phrases to learn in other languages, and will earn you big points for good manners.
English: Excuse me…
German: Entschuldigen Sie bitte…
The importance of these is self-explanatory!
French: Bonjour/au revoir
German: Hallo/Auf Wiedersehen
Manners are essential when you’re away from home, too! You can thank people in other countries for their help, guidance and hospitality like this…
English: Thank you!
French: Merci beaucoup!
If you’re not sure how one of these phrases is pronounced you can also use a source like YouTube, where you’ll find videos of people saying the words so that you can learn them phonetically. Having just a few phrases at hand as you travel will make you feel more confident, and will help you feel that bit more at home.