Phrases to know before you go

Getting around overseas can be particularly difficult if they speak a language you’re unfamiliar with. Knowing some basic phrases in your destinations local language can make it easier and safer to get around. If you’re not the type that can pick up languages try to have a translator app on your phone (although be aware that these often require an active internet connection), or carrying a phrase book in your destinations local language. If you’re travelling to numerous destinations, it might be worth making a translation list before you go. Translate some basic phrases you think you’ll need into all the languages you’re likely to encounter in your travels. Below are some phrases travellers should know before leaving. This of course is a very short list, and the phrases most useful to a traveller will differ depending on your destination and circumstances.

  1. Do you speak English?
  2. My name is _____
  3. How much does this cost?
  4. Where is the bathroom? (Will save you some very awkward miming)
  5. Hello/Goodbye
  6. Please/Thank you
  7. Where is the nearest train station/bus stop/taxi?
  8. Numbers 1-10
  9. I am from _____
  10. Sorry I don’t speak _____

How phrases translate according to a translator, and how the locals actually speak can often be quite different. Here’s the list above translated into Brazilian Portuguese, as Brazilians would speak it. Remember Brazil is the only country in South America that doesn’t speak Spanish, and Brazilians don’t often respond well when spoken to in Spanish.

  1. Você fala Inglês?
  2. Meu nome _____
  3. Cuanto custa?
  4. Onde banherio aqui?
  5. Olá/Ciao
  6. Por favor/Obrigado/a
  7. Onde pertao estasao trem/omibus/taxi aqui?
  8. Um, dois, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, sete, oito, nove, des
  9. Eu sou ______
  10. Desculpe mas eu não falo Português

2 responses to “Phrases to know before you go

  1. This is some good advice! I was in Cinque terra in Italy ( which is fabulous) and I found myself not being able to communicate with my hotel staff as they were from a remote Italian village that was new to the tourist industry. Knowing a few helpful phrases saved my life there and meant I was able to eat 🙂

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