126

While you will generally experience a strong language barrier, the public transport system should be the least of your worries. With a bit of beforehand knowledge it can be an easy, interesting and safe experience during your stay. Airports (аэропорт) Airports are traditionally the most foreigner-friendly places in any country. You will find most signs and ...


105

I'm English and lived in Glasgow for 4 years. Understanding many (but certainly not all) people will be tricky (even us native speakers struggle), but they'll be very willing to try to help you understand, and it won't cause offence. You probably won't even need to explain: as soon as they see look of blank incomprehension and hear you begin to say "Err, ...


91

Just ask for "a beer". I don't think you'll find a completely universal approach that fits all cultures perfectly. However, in the continental beer cultures I'm the most familiar with (Dutch, German, Czech, Austrian, …), there's typically one dominant "size" of a beer that everyone gets. What exactly that means differs a lot by country or region. Asking for ...


88

Yes, it would be, if not "rude", then at least kind of awkward. Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid are all heavily touristed areas and most restaurant staff are very used to dealing with tourists who do not speak Spanish. You also don't really need any spoken language to convey "table for one" (hold up a finger), "I'll have what he's having" (point at ...


80

Please do not use Google Translate for Japanese without native speaker proofreading. The example sentences you provided are somewhere between comical and borderline offensive and sound rather like a mother scolding an unruly child (or husband). justhungry.com (no affiliation) has a nice series of Japan dining cards that convey various dietary restrictions ...


72

As at most international airports in Europe, all of the passport control officers will speak English. I was there a month ago, speak no German, and had no problem communicating with them.


67

Generally most people respond well when you make an effort, even if you can't speak their language fully. Responding to "Hola" (Spanish for hello) with "Hola", saying "dankie" (Afrikaans for thanks), or whatever - little words. They'll quickly realise you can't speak their language fully, but appreciate the effort. Usually. However, it's those tourists that ...


67

There is no online database lookup when you leave Italy. At the most they will check your passport to make sure it is valid, and stamp it if necessary. Theoretically this could be done if you use the passport e-gates if they're at the airport you're using and you're eligble to use them. However, there is absolutely zero chance that Italian bureaucracy would ...


65

This is a personal experience answer. I am Dutch, so maybe a bit more blunt than you, but my solution works well. I had that same problem last summer. I had arrived in Edinburgh one day, went to visit Glasgow the next and the first person talking to me was hard to understand. I explained to the woman that English is not my first language and I had not ...


63

Absolutely. While you may sometimes have time to look things up, often you won't. I have absent-mindedly arrived overseas without learning "please" and "thank you", and noticed upon fixing that, and using them as appropriate, that everyone was instantly nicer to me, both strangers and the people I was there to interact with. It makes a difference. I ...


54

No, in itself it is not rude. You can do it in a rude way, by just ignoring the signals if the other person is not happy about it. Offer the person you talk with the choice. I would start with a Norwegian hello or good morning/day, and next try out which language sits best. One time in Norway I was asked to speak Dutch rather than English (I speak no ...


48

Just to add to the above guys answers. Маршрутка (Marshrutka) is a slang. It's a shortened version of "Маршрутное такси" (can be roughly translated as "Routed" taxi, essentially a taxi that has a specified route that it always has to take). Usually looks like a minibus/minicab. Therefore can behave like a bus: has a timetable goes through a specific route ...


47

Millions of people per year visit Greece, and I'm willing to bet that a large portion of them do not speak any Greek. It's a very popular holiday destination for English speaking people. I can't imagine you would have much trouble at all1. Immigration and customs should be no problem. Have the name of your hotel written down in the unlikely event you get a ...


40

I have never seen such an icon. The only way to know is to ask for it. Common sense is that in a lot of countries where alcohol is prohibited by religion or not really within the local culture, you won't find it in cooking. Now, in other countries where alcohol is strong in the local culture, it will be used in the cooking and will never be specified as it ...


40

There should be no problem. 99% of city names are the same in French as they are in the native language, and when they're not the same, they're very similar (Moskva/Moscou, London/Londres). Find the gate on the departures board, and sit by it. Pay attention to the time. When people get on the plane follow them and hand your ticket to the gate agent. In ...


40

You can just say 'Hi, I only speak English, sorry.' You can expand that a little to the situation by adding 'good morning' or whatever is right for the time of the day, either in English or if you know it in the local language. And keep your English accent strong for that. Almost everybody in Europe will understand that and for those who don't you made clear ...


39

Not very severe. In Munich as with most of Germany, automated transport ticket machines can be changed easily to a number of different languages. Physical German signs are mostly in German but their alphabet is very similar to English so can be easily memorised when you need to know certain place names. However, Munich is a very walkable city which I would ...


38

Qualifier: I live in Tokyo You will have no problems navigating the train system or shopping in tourist-specific areas like Asakusa. Beyond that, not that many people speak or understand English. Even getting lunch at McDonalds is difficult - I speak reasonable Japanese and they still get my order wrong nearly half the time. The locals are simply not used ...


38

One way you can help these situations is: Start by asking whether they speak English, in Turkish. I don't know any Turkish, but Google Translate says it's "İngilizce biliyor musunuz?" Make sure you get the pronunciation correct enough, so you don't end up asking whether their hovercraft has any eels. If the answer to the first question is no, then learn ...


37

For that list of countries, the answer is none: English is more useful than Chinese in all of them. The only country in Asia outside greater China where Mandarin is an official language or spoken by a majority of the population is Singapore, but even there English is the lingua franca spoken by all. While there are significant Chinese-speaking minorities ...


34

According to the ataf website (which I can transalte for you in the part concerning administrative fines), you have 15 days to pay the fine before getting a written notification. After the notification, you will have to pay the full fine (rather than a reduced one) within the next 60 days. After that term, an additional procedure (possibly via court) will ...


31

Alternatively, you could learn a couple of phrases in German/Dutch/etc. like 'Hello, sorry I do not speak German/Dutch/etc. Do you speak English?' This is my tactics that does not require much effort :)


29

If you're looking for a fully automated way, you can't. Thai romanization is nonstandard and lossy, and Thai script has many redundant letters, so you can't tell if a "kh" is supposed to be ข kho khai or ค kho khwai, much less get the vital tone markings right. However! If you punch in a romanized Thai address into Google Maps (in the mobile app), ...


28

English is widely spoken in Amsterdam, as well as other cities in the Netherlands, and you will have no problem navigating the city. Personally, I only know a few words of Dutch and I never had a problem in the city. You may want to bring a phrase book to help you with greetings and simple phrases. Dutch people, like any other cultures, appreciate when you ...


28

Even when I can read signs, it's not always easy to navigate public transport. [Try the New York subway system, although there may be announcements they are not always intelligible. Add in a few service alterations (The downtown F will be running on the Q) and all kind of fun may ensue ;-] Strategies for buses in general, not just in Bangkok: 1). Research ...


28

You'll manage. I speak from recent experience: I completed last year's Athens Classic Marathon (which incidentally led to this question, but I digress). Unlike you I didn't book via a travel provider but arranged everything myself; I've visited a couple of restaurants outside the city center and all waiters spoke decent English. I haven't spoken more than a ...


27

I am Turkish. Firstly I will say that my English isn’t perfect - if you don't understand me please comment and I’ll try to clarify. It’s a good choice to start with hello (merhaba) or excuse me (affedersiniz) my first suggestion is ask to people whether they can speak english or not: Do you know english? (ingilizce biliyor musunuz?) Do you speak English? (...


26

It varies a lot, largely depending on where you travel to. I have definitely seen some menus with alcohol symbols next to some dishes to indicate that they're cooked with e.g. red wine. Most of these I have seen in France, a country with a long alcohol tradition but also a large Muslim population. However, it is still not the norm, and most places you must ...


26

You'll get along fine with just English. According to Wikipedia: There are a number of languages used in Ireland. Since the late nineteenth century, English has been the predominant first language, displacing Irish. According to the sidebar on the right, 99% of the population speaks English. As a tourist, you're not likely to encounter the other 1%.


26

Many airports don't announce flights at all. I can't remember the last time I was at an airport that does and I can say with confidence that London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Detroit and Minneapolis–Saint Paul don't (yes, I know, none of those is in France). Your friend should use information screens to determine which gate they need to go to, and ...


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