How Much is Lost in Translation When You Travel Abroad

lost in translation

The video below by Holiday Autos Car Hire is hilarious.  It goes to show how much can be lost in translation.  If you don’t get the pronunciation quite right or don’t fully understand their customs and ways it can go wrong! The guy washing his underpants made me chuckle.  I have visions of the poor lady frantically washing out her machine with a toothbrush afterwards!!!

We have just come back from a holiday in Spain.  But fortunately despite it being very Spanish at times we didn’t get into any major muddles like these! It’s amazing how much you can understand with hand gestures!

I had to be a quick learner at the PortAventura theme park when it came to going in which queue and when! My Spanish was limited to thank you, please, no problem, hello and goodbye! It was actually better to use no Spanish at all because once I did they assumed I knew MUCH more than I actually did!

Thinking about it we did have a minor issue in a chemist in Barcelona trying to get my youngest son some treatment for his heat rash.  The lady there almost gave us everything from sun cream to nit lotion before she finally got an English speaking member of staff who gave us the calamine lotion we had wanted!  If I had WIFI there I would have searched the word on google translate before attempting the conversation.  I swear by that to help my boys with their Welsh reading.  It would have sped up matters considerably!

Also my son was a bit apprehensive in the Bird Show as he was picked as a volunteer but it was all quite Spanish.  He had to feed a seed out of his mouth for the parrot but he got the gist of it in the end!

The Holiday Autos poll had one individual who thought he was asking a waiter where the toilet was.  But was actually repeatedly asking where the man’s wife was! Now that could seriously land you in hot water! So I guess if you can rely on your phone to give you pointers or pack a phrase book, like the basic one we had from Lonely Planet Kids so you can produce it in your time of need.

Don’t risk offending anyone

In the majority of cases it’s all quite funny afterwards.  However to avoid the risk of offending anyone it’s probably best to be prepared.  Especially as one holidaymaker in the poll was slapped in the face! It’s not just the risk of physical violence you might do something completely obscure.  One gentleman got an unwelcome surprise in France.  He thought he asked for jam to go with his croissant and got a condom!  Yes pointing at words in a phrase book is probably keeping you on safer ground and with more appetizing food!

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