Speak Like A Local On Your Next Travel With This Guide To Common Foreign Phrases

Exploring the sights and sounds of a country surrounded by foreign-speaking locals surely adds to the charm of traveling to an international destination.

If you availed of a package tour, you can relax, follow the lead of the tour guide, and worry less about getting lost in translation.

For most travelers, however, communication can pose a real challenge especially when navigating around town, making friends, or trying to make a bargain.

While Google translate can save you any time of the day, learning a few foreign words can get you a long way.

Pack yourself with key words and phrases to help you get around. Here’s a guide to common greetings and conversational essentials, sorted according to region. Take them to heart and travel like a true local. Who knows, you might even score great deals when shopping abroad.

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437 million Spanish speakers worldwide; spoken majorly in 31 countries

Official countries that speak the Spanish language: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela

English phrase Say it in Spanish
Good morning! Buenos días!
Good afternoon! Buenas tardes!
Good evening! Buenas noches!
Hello! Hola!
How are you? ¿Cómo está?
Thank you very much Muchos gracias
You’re welcome! De nada
Excuse me Con permiso / perdon
I’m sorry Perdon
I don’t understand No entiendo
I don’t speak Spanish. No hablo Español.
What’s your name? ¿Cómo te llamas?
Do you speak English? ¿Habla inglés?
Can you help me? ¿Me puedes ayudar?
How much does that cost? ¿Cuanto cuesta?
Yes Si
No No
Please Por favor


128 million speakers worldwide; spoken majorly in two countries

Official countries that speak the Japanese language: Japan, Angaur

English phrase Say it in Japanese
Good morning Ohayōgozaimasu
Good afternoon Kon’nichiwa
Good evening Konbanwa
Hello Kon’nichiwa
How are you? Ogenkidesuka?
Thank you very much Domo arigatoo gozaimasu
You’re welcome Dōitashimashite
Excuse me Sumimasen
I’m sorry Gomen’nasai
I don’t understand Wakarimasen
I don’t speak Japanese Nihongo ga wakarimasen
What’s your name? Onamae wa nandesu ka?
Do you speak English? Eigo o hanashimasu ka?
Can you help me? Tetsudatte itadakemasu ka?
How much does that cost? Kore wa ikura desu ka?
Yes Hai
No Iie
Please Onegaishimasu


76.1 million speakers worldwide; spoken majorly in 53 countries

Official countries that speak the French language: Belgium, Benin, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Luxemburg, Madagascar, Mali, Moncao, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Vanuatu, Vietnam

English phrase Say it in French
Good morning Bonjour
Good afternoon Bonne apres-midi
Good evening Bonsoir
Hello Bonjour
How are you? Comment vas-tu?
Thank you very much Merci beaucoup
You’re welcome De rien
Excuse me Excusez-moi
I’m sorry Excusez-moi!
I don’t understand Je ne comprends pas
I don’t speak French Je ne parle pas Français
What’s your name? Vous appelez-vous?
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais?
Can you help me? Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît?
How much does that cost? Combien ça coûte?
Yes. Oui.
No. Non.
Please. s’il vous plaît


295 million speakers worldwide; spoken majorly in 57 countries

Official countries that speak the Arabic language: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

English phrase Say it in Arabic
Good morning Sabah alkhir
Good afternoon Tab masayik
Good evening Masa’ alkhir
Hello Marhabaan
How are you? Kayfa Haaluka? (m.) (kayfa Haaluki? (f.))
Thank you very much Shukran jaziilan
You’re welcome ’Ahlan wa sahlan
Excuse me Xafwan
I’m sorry ’anaa ’aasif
I don’t understand La ’afham
I don’t speak Arabic Anaa la ’atakallam al- xarabiyya
What’s your name? Ma ’ismuk?
Do you speak English? Hal tatakallam ’ingilizi?
Can you help me? Hal tastaTiixa ’an tusaaxidani?
How much does that cost? Kam huwa th- thaman?
Yes Ajal
No Kalla
Please Rajaa’an

Chinese (Mandarin)

1,284 million speakers worldwide; spoken majorly in 37 countries

Official countries that speak the Chinese language: People’s Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau

English phrase Say it in Chinese
Good morning ZÇŽoshang hÇŽo
Good afternoon Xiàwǔ hǎo
Good evening Wǎnshàng hǎo
Hello Ni hao
How are you? Nǐ hǎo ma?
Thank you very much Fēicháng gǎnxiè
You’re welcome Búyòng kèqì
Excuse me Duìbuqǐ
I’m sorry HÄ›n bàoqiàn
I don’t understand Wǒ tīng bù dǒng
I don’t speak Chinese Wǒ bú huì jiǎng Zhōngwén
What’s your name? Qǐngwèn nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
Do you speak English? Nǐ huì shuō Yīngyǔ ma?
Can you help me? Nǐ néng bāngbāngmáng ma?
How much does that cost? Zhè shì duōshǎo qián?
Yes Shì
No Búshì
Please Qǐng


77.2 million speakers worldwide; spoken majorly in seven countries

Official countries that speak the Korean language: Republic of Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China

English Phrase Say it in Korean
Good morning Joh-eun achim
Good afternoon Annyeonghaseyo
Good evening Annyeonghaseyo
Hello Annyeonghaseyo
How are you? Jal jinaess-eoyo?
Thank you very much Gomabseubnida
You’re welcome Cheonman-eyo
Excuse me Sillyehabnida
I’m sorry Joesong haeyo
I don’t understand Naneun ihaehaji moshanda
I don’t speak Korean Naneun hangug-eul malhaji anhneunda
What’s your name? Neo ileum-i mwoni?
Do you speak English? Dangsin-eun yeong-eoleulhasibnikka?
Can you help me? Na jom dowa jul su-iss-eo?
How much does that cost? Geu biyong-eun eolmaibnikka?
Yes Ye
No Ani
Please Budi

**Statistics from ethnologue.com