Common Phrases in Different Languages

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This section to the book is a selection of useful survival words and phrases, intended for when there are no available tourist phrase books. By necessity this must be short and kept to a small number of languages. Language inclusions are in the following order: English, Spanish, French and German. Alternatively, the reader could pencil in the local translations to these important words when he has access to a local translator, wherever he is.

Military pilots used to be given a book called a pointy-talkie with pictures and useful phrases in both English and the local language for use if they had to escape. Modern world travelers also often are seen carrying a general purpose phrase book in preference to a dictionary. Any phrase "cheat sheet" is infinitely less useful than basic knowledge of the local language and instantly points you out as both an American and a potential naive robbery victim new onto the streets. A major problem with phrase books is that unless the answer is a yes or no you might never find the exact phrase that the local has just said. This section is not to be a substitute for learning a language or even a phrase book but rather a survival tool used with some gestures until either a guide or larger book can be obtained.

It is important that if you find someone who speaks some English to use only clear statements. For example "restroom" might be interpreted as a "resting room", a room for sleeping; instead be blunt and ask for a toilet. Always be simple and clear using the least amount of words possible. Never use slang, your pop slang words just don't translate into anything useful and might cause trouble. If you change your mind during a conversation be sure the other party understands clearly that you have changed your intent. Get your guide to repeat back what you said at the end of a conversation to ensure he has the right idea. It is a good idea to use drawings or write out what you are saying if this improves understanding. Don't worry too much if you confuse the gender of a word, people will almost always understand unless you are speaking about people, when in doubt just use masculine form.

Remember what we said in Get the Hell Out of Dodge don't flame too radical when visiting outside your home nation or if you are on the run until you get to know the cultural expectations.


English Spanish French German
directions direcciones directions Richtungen
left izquierda gauche links
right derecha droite rechts
forward adelante vers l'avant vorne
continue continúe continuez weiter
to the end al extremo à l'extrémité bis zum Ende
intersection intersección intersection Kreuzung
traffic signal señal de tráfico feux de signalisation Ampel
railroad track pista del ferrocarril voie de chemin de fer (Eisenbahn-) Schienen
river río fleuve Fluss
bridge puente pont Brücke
overpass paso superior Passage supérieur Überführung
north norte du nord Nord
south sur sud Süden
east este est Ost
west oeste occidental West
yes oui Ja
no no non Nein
I don't understand No entiendo je ne comprends pas Ich verstehe nicht
please repeat Repita por favor Se il vous plaît répéter Bitte wiederholen
speak slowly hable lentamente parlez lentement Langsam sprechen


English Spanish French German
Where is the - ¿Donde está - où est la - Wo ist der/die/das -
food store tienda magasin de nourriture Lebensmittelladen
toilet labavo toilette Toilette
hotel hotel hôtel Hotel
youth hostel albergue juvenil pension de la jeunesse Jugendherberge
hospital hospital hôpital Krankenhaus
embassy embajada ambassade Botschaft
building edificio bâtiment Gebäude
office oficina bureau büro
airport aeropuerto aéroport Flughafen
rail station estación del tren station de rail Bahnhof
automated teller machine cajero automático guichet automatique Geldautomat
postal office oficina postal bureau postal Post
bus station estación de autobuses gare routière Bushaltestelle
doctor doctor docteur Arzt
telephone teléfono téléphone Telefon
Internet cafe cibercafé cybercafé Internetcafe
English bookstore Librería inglesa Librairie anglaise Englisches buchhandlung
bookstore librería librairie buchhandlung
hardware store ferretería magasin de matériel Baumarkt
bank banco banque Bank
police station comisaría de policía commissariat de police Polizeirevier
government ministry of - el ministerio de - ministère du gouvernement du - Staatsministerium -
car rental shop tienda del alquiler de coches magasin de location de voiture Autovermietung
bicycle shop tienda de bicicletas magasin de bicyclette Fahrradgeschäft
camping area área de camping secteur campant Campingplatz


Body parts[edit]

English Spanish French German
My - feels bad Mi - se siente mal Mon - sent le mauvais Mein/meine - tut weh
head cabeza tête Kopf
eye ojo oeil Auge
ear oído oreille Ohr
nose nariz nez Nase
stomach estómago estomac Bauch
abdomen abdomen abdomen Bauch
lower abdomen bajo vientre abaissez l'abdomen Unterer Bauch
chest pecho coffre Brust
lungs pulmones poumons Lungen
throat garganta gorge Rachen
teeth, tooth dientes, diente dents, dent Zähnung
arm brazo bras Arm
hand mano main Hand
leg pierna jambe Bein
foot pie pied Fuß
lower back espalda lombes unterer Rücken
spine espina dorsal colonne vertébrale Rücken
kidney, kidneys riñón, riñónes rein, reins Niere, Nieren
bladder vejiga réservoir souple Blase
vagina vagina vagin Vagina
penis pene pénis Penis
testicle, testicles testículo, testículos testicules, testicule Hoden, Hoden
wound herida blessure Wunde
injury lésion dommages Verletzung
bone hueso os Knochen


English Spanish French German
types of Pain tipos de dolor types de douleur Schmerzarten
sharp pain dolor agudo douleur pointue stechender Schmerz
ache dolor mal Schmerz
pressure presión pression Druck
sore dolorido endolori Schmerz


English Spanish French German
Treatment Tratamiento Traitement Behandlung
I do not want a transfusion No deseo una transfusión Je ne veux pas une transfusion Ich möchte keine Transfusion
My blood type is (A B AB O) Mi tipo de la sangre es (A B AB O) Mon type de sang est (A B AB O) Meine Blutgruppe ist (A B AB null)
Only use new needles Utilice solamente las agujas nuevas Employez seulement les nouvelles aiguilles Verwenden Sie nur neue Nadeln
I will pay for a new needle Pagaré una aguja nueva Je payerai une nouvelle aiguille Ich bezahle eine neue Nadel
Call an ambulance Llame una ambulancia Appelez une ambulance Rufen Sie einen Krankenwagen
I have American insurance Tengo seguro americano J'ai l'assurance américaine Ich habe eine amerikanische Krankenversicherung
Would a larger hospital be able to help? ¿Un hospital más grande podría ayudar? Est-ce que un plus grand hôpital pourrait aider ? Könnte ein grö߸eres Krankenhaus helfen?
I am diabetic Soy diabético Je suis diabétique Ich bin zuckerkrank
I am allergic to - Soy alérgico a - Je suis allergique à - Ich bin auf - allergisch
I am taking - Estoy tomando - Je prends - Ich nehme -


English Spanish French German
People Gente Les gens Leute
me, I yo je mir, ich
wife esposa épouse Ehefrau
girlfriend novia petite amie Freundin with definite article: die Freundin, meine Freundin
husband marido mari Ehemann
boyfriend novio petit ami Freund with definite article: der Freund, mein Freund
friend (male) amigo ami Freund
friend (female) amiga amie Freundin
father padre père Vater
mother madre mère Mutter
daughter hija fille Tochter
son hijo fils Sohn
relative pariente relatif Verwandter (male)/Verwandte (female or plural)
soldier soldado soldat Soldat (male)/Soldatin (female)
police officer oficial de policía officier de police Polizist (male)/Polizistin (female)
man hombre homme Mann
woman mujer femme Frau
boy niño garçon Junge
girl niña fille Mädchen
sir/mister señor monsieur Herr
madam/Mrs. señora madame Frau
miss señorita manque Frau


English Spanish French German
Verbs Verbes Verbes Verben
came vino soyez venu kam
went fue est allé ging
is coming está viniendo vient kommt
is going va va geht
fell cayó est tombé fiel
hit golpeó coup traf (sb. hit sth.)/stieß (sb. hurt a bodypart)
drove condujo a conduit fuhr
rode montó est monté fuhr (anything with wheels)/ritt (anything with legs)
ran funcionó a couru rannte
took tomó a pris nahm
stole robó étole stahl
collision (vehicular) colisión (de vehículos) collision (véhiculaire) Kollision, Autounfall
drank bebió a bu trank
ate comió a mangé
repair reparar réparation repariere (requesting, informal)/reparieren Sie (requesting, formal)
broke roto cassé hat kaputtgemacht (sb. broke sth.)/ging kaputt (sth. broke)

Other Words[edit]

English Spanish French German
Other Words Otras Palabras D'Autres Mots Andere Worte
Who Quién Qui wer
what qué ce qui was
where donde là où wo
when cuando quand wann
why porqué pourquoi warum
how cómo comment wie
forbidden prohibido interdit verboten
allowed/permitted permitido laissé erlaubt
impossible imposible impossible unmöglich
possible posible possible möglich
please por favor svp bitte
thank you gracias merci danke
you're welcome de nada vous êtes bienvenu gern geschehen
sorry lo siento désolé Entschuldigung
excuse me perdón excusez-moi Entschuldigen Sie mich
asylum asilo assylum Asyl


English Spanish French German
Other Words Números Nombres Zahlen
one uno un eins
two dos deux zwei
three tres trois drei
four cuatro quatre vier
five cinco cinq fünf
six seis six sechs
seven siete sept sieben
eight ocho huit acht
nine nueve neuf neun
ten diez dix zehn
twenty veinte vingt zwanzig
thirty treinta trente dreißig
one hundred cien cent hundert, einhundert
two hundred doscientos deux cents zweihundert
three hundred trescientos trois cents dreihundert
one thousand mil mille tausend, eintausend
two thousand dos mil deux mille zweitausend
three thousand tres mil trois mille dreitausend

Other Phrases[edit]

English Spanish French German
Other Phrases Otras Frases D'Autres Expressions Andere Phrasen
Can I pay more to make it happen faster? ¿Puedo pagar más para hacer que sea más rápido? Est-ce que je peux payer plus pour la faire se produire plus rapidement ? Wenn ich mehr bezahle, geht es dann schneller?
I don't have that much money No tengo tanto dinero Je n'ai pas que beaucoup d'argent Ich habe nicht so viel Geld
Is it available cheaper elsewhere? ¿Es más barato en otro lugar? Est-il meilleur marché disponible ailleurs ? Gibt es das irgendwo billiger?
I am not happy No soy feliz Je ne suis pas heureux Ich bin nicht glücklich
I am happy Soy feliz Je suis heureux Ich bin glücklich
I am frightened Estoy asustado Je suis effrayé Ich habe Angst
let's be friends seamos amigos soyons des amis Lass uns Freunde sein
I am not interested No estoy interesado/a Je ne suis pas intéressé Ich bin nicht interessiert
I have no cash No tengo dinero efectivo Je n'ai aucun argent comptant Ich habe kein Geld
Please stop Pare por favor. Se il vous plaît arrêt - faveur de por d'alto Hör auf (informal)/Hören Sie auf (formal)
I am seeking (residency, citizenship, asylum) Estoy buscando (residencia, ciudadanía, asilo) Je cherche (résidence, citoyenneté, asile) Wie bekomme ich eine Aufenthaltsgenehmigung? Wie werde ich Staatsbürger? Wie bekomme ich Asyl?
Can I stay here? ¿Puedo permanecer aquí? Est-ce que je peux rester ici ? Kann ich hier bleiben?
I am lost Estoy perdido Je suis perdu Ich kenne mich nicht mehr aus
I am sick Estoy enfermo/a Je suis malade Ich bin krank (permanently)/Ich fühle mich krank (I feel sick)

"Pointy-Talky" books[edit]

The above-mentioned books that can be used to point at various things are still in print today. The most widely used ones are "Point It: Traveler's Language Kit" by Dieter Graf, "The Wordless Travel Book" by Jonathan Meader and various books and booklets produced by Kwikpoint, Me No Speak and ICOON. Besides bridging language barriers overseas, they can be used for the hearing or vocally impaired.


AltaVista [1], Babelfish [2], and Google Translate can provide quick (if rather basic) translation for many common languages.

The Google Chrome web browser (available for Window$, Mac, and Linux) has a translation feature that can give approximate translations of websites. [3] Alternatively, Chromium offers a similar feature, with some of the proprietary components ripped out.

The BBC offers free online language lessons. [4]

For those with internet access, the website offers an on-line course with free downloadable material for off-line studying.