What are your experiences with foreign languages for international sits?

I’m just curious, how easy or difficult has it been for you to do international sits in areas where you aren’t fluent in the language? I’ve seen a number of opportunities in France and Spain, for example, but I suspect my high school level French and Spanish from years ago wouldn’t be sufficient? Has it been an issue for you, or are you able to get by with google translate or Deepl on your phone?

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I speak basic French and we did some sits in France for a few months. But we actually applied to listings in English since I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off completely in French (most listings were written in French). It worked alright, sometimes we would switch back to French during the sit. We also used Google translate once and the result wasn’t too bad! It’s good though to know some basic French to notice mistakes by Google etc. and to avoid misunderstandings.

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In my experience, English seems to be the most widely known and used second language and if you are in a large city with expats and tourists you will have no difficulty finding people who will understand you and provide assistance. You will also find that many welcome it as an opportunity for them to practice their English and some will not.
My recommendations are:
Don’t let that deter you.
There are apps now with voice translation.
Learn simple most commonly used phrases and have a laugh with locals. It’s ok to make mistakes.
If you really want to learn the language, study it. Lots of apps for that as well and in my opinion well worth paying for over the free versions.

Just as commentary from observation, most people in developed countries speak more than one language and learning a different language brings people together.
Have fun.

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We’ve done sits in Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Morocco & Switzerland and we have some of every language between the two of us. The fact we did definitely helped us win the sits. It gives the HO confidence if there are vet visits or plumber issues etc. Morocco would have been tougher with no French & Turkey is tricky if you have none of the local language however, that said, you can almost always manage with English, good signing & Google translate. Some language skills are an advantage rather than an essential and if you’re prepared to try them out that also helps show you’re keen to prospective HOs. We also start the Duolingo lessons going once we know we’re headed somewhere new :clap:

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Just don’t worry. Google is your help. I was 2 months in S Korea. 5 weeks sit next the rest I did solo traveler. Couple cities. No lunguage and no alphabet. Was very funny. I was driving and in one parking lot my cc declined. No human being, only machine. His first question what is letters in your plate???Hahahahaha
People nice, but even In Seoul no English. And I managed and had a great time.

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What languages do the animals speak - unless you are sitting for an English language house, as I did in Korea - learn the basic animal commands in the animal’s native language!
My only non-English sit so far was S Korea, Jeju Island and I know no Korean and did okay with English. Even driving - the Korean map app (Google apparently won’t pay the license fee for the Korean map programs) has an English language version.
I also traveled a lot before sitting and my only foreign language is Russian and not too good anymore, I studied it 50-60 years ago and haven’t used it.
But I’ve done okay all over western and eastern Europe, the Scandinavian countries, the Baltics, Greece, and all over Asia - Vietnam (where young people really do want to practice English), Cambodia, China, and even Japan.
You can even use google translate or similar programs in grocery stores to read package labels and cooking instructions.

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So true…if our language skills run out, find a teenager!

Thank you! For a longer stay, I would definitely brush up on my language skills. And make a list of words I may need (plumber, veterinarian, police etc.). :slight_smile:

Thanks! That gives me hope. I think I could get by with very basic (and slow) French. But with Google, the rest should be OK.

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WOW! S. Korea looks so interesting. But that may be something for us to ease into, a few years and a number of international sits down the road. :slight_smile: How wonderful that you enjoyed it as much as you did though. Thanks for the encouragement!!

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We’ve done international sits in France, Italy and Spain and had no troubles whatsoever. We embrace the culture and the language and try and fit in as much as we can, getting by with basic to a little more advanced language skills as the times go on.

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Interesting conversation although it’s around potential human language issues of international sits … what if the animals are non English speakers?

In fact 44% of dog owners have pups that understand commands in more than one language

My rescue pony who spent her young life in Spain understood Spanish and English commands although since she’s been in England I think she’s forgotten her Spanish :wink:

I’ve sat dogs in France who only understood French commands, cats too although I’m sure that if they were able to understand English they probably wouldn’t. :joy_cat:

Have you had similar experiences with any pets?

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Love this very valid point. Currently my cat and two dogs here understand commands in three languages. Portuguese is primary followed by English and Spanish. It is so much fun.
They do of course understand the universal language of love and edibles but also respond to clicks and human whistles.
One upcoming in South America will be Spanish only. Always a good question to ask anywhere.
What are the commands the animals understand and respond to?
Life is never boring.

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