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Catalan speakers? Translation needed

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I need to email the hotel where we will be staying on our honeymoon but do not speak Catalan and was hoping one of you might be willing to translate some text for me. I realize that Spanish (and probably English) is widely spoken in Catalonia, but I thought I would try to make a good impression by using Catalan.

post #2 of 13
If you write in Spanish you will make a great impression. I have never been anywhere in the world where I was expected to write or speak in dialect. That being said, there are places that will translate things on the cheap.
post #3 of 13
Writing in Castellano should be sufficient.

post #4 of 13
You are walking into a minefield, so I suggest being diplomatic.

Language is a huge issue in both Catalonia and the rest of Spain today. The preamble to the new Catalan statutes state that Catalonia is a "nation", which may seem strange to you given that it forms part of a nation called Spain. Residents, particularly public servants, may be fired for not responding to clients in Catalan. The Catalan government now insists that Hollwood movies be dubbed into Catalan (rather than Spanish); Hollywood has so far refused.

A German friend of mine asked for a cab in Barcelona in spanish. The driver responded that, if he were to address him in a foreign language, it should be in english.

And so on.

Sorry, I can´t help you translate catalan. Like anyone within Spain but outside of Catalonia, I don´t know more than "pan tumaca" (bread with olive oil and tomato, which happens to be great stuff).

An hotel employee will almost certainly be fluent in spanish and have basic english skills. If you want to add a bit of catalan, he/she probably won´t mind (but will probably be surprised).
post #5 of 13
I agree with pinchi22 that language is a huge minefield in Catalunya, but my experience is that it really shouldn't be an issue for a tourist. No one is going to expect you to speak Catalan.

I wouldn't worry about using Castellano - or English for that matter. You are dealing with a hotel in a major tourist destination, so they will speak English.
post #6 of 13
I agree with Trilby and pinchi22. You will probably do just fine speaking English. This saddens me a bit--gone are the days when travel really made a difference. The only time I've felt myself in a seamless linguistic web was my first trip to the Soviet Union back in 1984. Nobody spoke anything but Russian (excepting the spies, of course). English-language media was almost non-existent and the fact that it was relaying Soviet propaganda rendered it strange in any case. It was a great experience. Nowdays the world is too small.
I don't speak Catalan either, but I imagine you'll have no problems reading things if you know some basic Spanish, French, and Latin. One of my long-time non-clothing interests has been the Pernetiana roses which flourished in Catalonia in the 1920's-30's. I've read many documents in Catalan without too much difficulty and I must say I think it's a really cool language.
Congratulations and I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon!
post #7 of 13
I agree that most Catalans will appreciate your attempt to use basic Catalan. However, no one will expect you to converse fluently. Catalans use English when speaking with the rest of the world as this recent incident will demonstrate:

This past weekend, the Catalans played the Basques in a football/soccer game. Each region´s political leader proclaimed it was an "international" match between two "national" teams. Each "national" anthem was played, Spanish flags were duly burned, and a huge "Catalonia is not Spain" poster, in English, was draped from the stadium.

Personally, I´m all in favor of linguistic variety. The problem (IMHO) is when language becomes a device to divide rather than communicate.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice everyone. I wrote out my short email and translated it into spanish (via Google) then found a Spanish-Catalan translator on-line and used that. Then I had a friend who is a linguist and is fluent in Spanish (and French and Italian) check it. She doesn't speak Catalan but was able to use her knowledge as a linguist to fix a couple errors. Email sent.

That was all I needed. We're not going to attempt being fluent in Catalan--but we are bringing a phrase book.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by L'ecureuil
Language aside: it would be more helpful for you to lose some weight, if you are eager to leave a good impression with the residents of Catalonia.

Wow, that was really rude. Is there a particular reason you felt you needed to be such an asshole towards me today?

post #10 of 13
Given "ecureuil" is French for "squirrel", it's probably one of those beloved banned trolls that people are clamoring to let back in. Memories are short.
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by RJman
it's probably one of those beloved banned trolls that people are clamoring to let back in.
Were there several French-speaking ones or just E***** ?
post #12 of 13
The language is too refined for Ernest.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
In hindsight, and diction aside, it does sound a bit E*****-ian.

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