Jun 13, 2013

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Holiday mimes and translations

When travelling in a non-English speaking country do you struggle to tackle the local dialect? Do you fail to roll your R’s in a suitably authentic manner? Or is it that you fear getting muddled with matters of tense and gender etiquette which just don’t appear to be a stumbling block in our native tongue?

It can be tempting to avoid embarrassment altogether and fall back on the worldwide recognition of our language and see how far you can get with a few carefully selected English words. But when all else fails, the final option is often to mime your request or question.  How many times have you managed to get your message across simply by waving your hands around in a not entirely dignified manner? See if any of the gestures below seem familiar.

Travel Supermarket_Signs_BillHave you ever caught yourself signing an imaginary autograph to the words “Can I have the bill?” when “La cuenta por favor” just doesn’t spring to mind?

Travel Supermarket_Signs_MenuThis well-known charades symbol can prove invaluable when you don’t want to go hungry, possibly followed by the ‘point-and-smile-politely’ ordering technique.

Travel Supermarket_Signs_logo

Acting out will usually get the message across, but it’s probably not the politest way to travel the world. See below our list of the most popular phrases you might need when on holiday.


You can’t be expected to learn a language overnight, but this may help you embrace the local culture a little when you’re abroad.

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