SCQ83
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Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:09 am

I was reading this thread about Dutch passengers in DUS or French passengers in FRA German Media: SQ To Start SIN - DUS (by vfw614 Nov 6 2015 in Civil Aviation) and it made me thought about the use of foreign languages in airports.

It is globally extended that English is the 2nd language for signage (for countries where English is not the first language), but how common are other languages in airport signage?

For instance, in Spain many airports have signage in German and the regional language. So in Mallorca you end up with signage in 4 languages (Spanish, Catalan, English and German). Which is the record and which "odd languages" are used in other locations (i.e. the use of German in Spain might seem "out of place" at first; of course it is because of tourism).
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:44 am

If my memory serves me correctly, signage in CHC is predominantly in English, but many signs also have Chinese, Japanese, and Korean translations, despite currently having no direct links to Japan or Korea (CZ introduces direct flights to China from December)
 
KWI
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:52 am

Prague Airport's signage also includes Korean - I'm guessing for the transit passengers using OK and KE's route from ICN to PRG
 
EK773
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:09 am

MEL has all signage in the international terminal in English and mandarin.
 
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Finn350
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:20 am

In HEL, all the signs are in Finnish and Swedish (official languages of Finland) and English. Some signs are additionally in Chinese/Japanese, Korean and Russian due to a large number of transferring passengers.

]

[Edited 2015-11-08 02:21:53]
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:35 am

How is it in the US, btw? English only, or Spanish, too? Are signs in English-speaking parts of Canada bilingual, too?
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:45 am

It seems (as I expected) that central Europe is the least foreign-language friendly area of all, even if countries and major cities are really close to each other (for instance, the "European banana" with Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland and even Northern Italy).

Quoting Finn350 (Reply 4):

We have a new record here... 6 languages.

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 5):
MIA is definitely bilingual English/Spanish. But some people would argue MIA is hardly the US; I have encountered workers at food outlets at the airport that could hardly speak English... to the anger of "gringos". I guess that is one of the reasons MIA is so unliked in this forum.

[Edited 2015-11-08 02:51:35]
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:56 am

Quoting SCQ83 (Thread starter):

In SIN, the signs are in English, Malay, Mandarin and JAPANESE. Of course Japanese is because we have a lot of visitors from Japan. Otherwise Singapore's 4 official languages are English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, with English being our First language
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:02 am

In MIA city I saw some shops with a sign on the door: "We speak English" (or "se habla inglés").
In Russia all signs are in Russian and English, though in some cities you can find it in its official language, like Kazan (where Tatar is also displayed in all its signs). Barcelona offers signs in three languages (Catalonian, English and Spanish). PMI has four languages (German is also included).
In all Latin American Airports, signs are Spanish and English, but in Brazil where they have Portuguese and English (maybe Spanish is available at GRU, though not sure)..
In the UK they are only in English.


How is it countries with many official languages as in Switzerland? Is it all displayed in French, German, Italian? Or in Belgium? Someone could enlighten us?
Paraguay (with two official languages, and with Guaraní spoken widely) has only signs in Spanish and English, nothing is written in Guaraní...
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:06 am

Quoting eielef (Reply 8):
Or in Belgium? Someone could enlighten us?

Given the fact that Brussels airport is in the Flamish part, I would not be surprised to only find English and Dutch . But as far as I know, its also French.

Edit: As can be seen on this Vid, it is even in German, which is also an official language:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTxPBTWBnzE

[Edited 2015-11-08 03:08:19]
 
LGAviation
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:35 am

German in Spain is hardly out of place, btw there are more German native speakers than native speakers of any other language in the EU.

Quoting eielef (Reply 8):
How is it countries with many official languages as in Switzerland?

If I remember correctly, ZRH is wherever possible English only (Germans and German-speaking Swiss are a people quite prone to use anglicisms). Otherwise, it's mostly German English bilingual.
And as for JNB and CPT in SA, the county with as many as 11 official languages, I remember to them to be English only

Quoting SCQ83 (Thread starter):
he use of German in Spain might seem "out of place" at first; of course it is because of tourism

German is still has the most native speakers of any language in the EU and PMI where it is fairly easy to find German-speaking businesses outside the airport as well and quite a few Germans live there.

Aren't Candian airports also multilinugal (English, French, Chinese etc.)?
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SCQ83
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:53 am

Quoting LGAviation (Reply 10):
German in Spain is hardly out of place, btw there are more German native speakers than native speakers of any other language in the EU.

Interestingly, I can't recall French signs in any Spanish airport. It is worth mentioning that Germans are now the 3rd nationality of visitors in Spain, not only behind the UK (as it has been always the case) but now also behind France (French tourism to Spain is booming among other things because of the situation in the Magreb). Of course places like Mallorca are overwhelming German, not without a reason it is the 17th lander.  

So there are probably today more French speakers visiting Spain than German speakers.

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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:20 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 11):

So there are probably today more French speakers visiting Spain than German speakers.

No doubt about that, but since you already have that in-depth knowledge of European languages, you should also be aware of how closely French and Spanish are related (at least in writing) when compared to German and Spanish. Don't forget what PMI is famous for in Germany 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:01 pm

In the US it varies from airport to airport. Some are English only. Many are English/Spanish. Others cater to their passengers, for example DTW has Chinese and Japanese in addition to English due to DL's many DTW-Asia passengers.

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SCQ83
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:13 pm

Quoting LGAviation (Reply 12):
No doubt about that, but since you already have that in-depth knowledge of European languages, you should also be aware of how closely French and Spanish are related (at least in writing) when compared to German and Spanish. Don't forget what PMI is famous for in Germany

Obviously. Also more visitors do not mean more air passengers. Many French visit Spain by car. And now even by high-speed train; there are two daily services Paris-Lyon-Marseille-Barcelona and one daily Marseille-Barcelona-Madrid.

I doubt many people travel by train from Germany to Spain.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:21 pm

PVD has some signs in German and Portuguese, obviously related to their international service, prior to that, I don't recall any bilingual signs.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:26 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 11):
So there are probably today more French speakers visiting Spain than German speakers.

But how do this French speakers arrive, train, car? How difficult is it for French speakers to understand Spanish signs?

I think that an airport can not have signs in al needed languages. But there should be well placed information booths with foreign language speakers, or computer terminals, or language telephones.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:29 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 14):
there are two daily services Paris-Lyon-Marseille-Barcelona

The two times I have taken the Paris-Barcelona HSR service, it did not stop in Lyon, and it certainly didn't go anywhere near Marseille.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:53 pm

All the above touch on signage in the airport. What about audio?

In Brussels, it went through a delightful period of being a silent airport, with exception-only audio messages

Now, there are 3 or 4 idiotic broadcasts for each departing flight - the messages are spoken in French, Dutch, English, and the language (the main one?) of the destination city!! At busy times, the loudspeakers are on continuously!

For those of you who have been there recently, you will shudder at "We are now closing the gate" or "Nous sommes en train de fermer la porte", etc - when you have heard all that 50 times while in the departure terminal, GRRRRRR!   

In HKG, everywhere you go when you encounter technology, like an escalator or walkway, there are audios telling you "Hold onto the handrail, and mind your step". By the time you get from distant arrival gate to the exit, these are driving me mad as well! And in at least 2 languages here, although it might be 3 (English, Cantonese and/or Mandarin)

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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:00 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 5):
How is it in the US, btw? English only, or Spanish, too? Are signs in English-speaking parts of Canada bilingual, too?

usually English, MIA and probably FLL (haven't been there in a while) Eng and Spanish. I am assuming my local NY area airports are English and Spanish but frankly, like everyone and their home airposts, b/c I know the layout, I actually don't even notice the signs. they could be in Klingon now for all I know.

Used to fly to MEM a lot in the 90s on Northwest and they had English and Japanese. Don't know if that is still true now.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:00 pm

I'm still waiting to find a sign in Esperanto.
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sassiciai
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:30 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 20):
I'm still waiting to find a sign in Esperanto.

Keep hoping!!  
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:42 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 5):
Are signs in English-speaking parts of Canada bilingual, too?

Every airport in Canada has English/French signage. I'm pretty sure YVR has signage in Chinese as well. While YYZ only has signage in English/French, it won't be difficult to find employees there able to speak any of very popular world languages.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:59 pm

New Orleans strikes me as odd: English, Spanish, French, Chinese. Someone was trying to be forward-looking.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:12 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 23):
New Orleans strikes me as odd: English, Spanish, French, Chinese. Someone was trying to be forward-looking.

Spanish makes sense as it is the second language of the US, and French is historic to MSY, and I believe there are some French speakers living in Louisiana.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:15 pm

BLR, and probably all other Indian airports, has signs in the native language (Kannada), the national language Hindi, and lastly English.

Quoting KWI (Reply 2):

Also because KE took a large stake in the airport. http://www.praguepost.com/world-news...transit-passenger-numbers-take-off
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:23 pm

What I find even more interesting is the unilingual, English-only signs at AMS. I guess it's practical, and the Dutch speak perfect English. But just seems a bit strange that the native language doesn't even show up on some of the signs.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:24 pm

I know MEX and SJO use Spanish and English. No idea about SYQ and LIR, but I presume it's the same in LIR, while SYQ, being a domestic airport, probably has only Spanish signage. DFW also has bilingual signage in English and Spanish, HAM and FRA definitely German and English.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:29 pm

After we've heard about all those 'odd' combinations, is there any major airport in the world that doesn't include English in its signage?
Having recently travelled to Central Asia and other post-soviet states as well as LatAmerica, I run out of the usual anglophobe suspects to check
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:37 pm

I vaguely remember that in Paris I could hear audio announcements in about 7-8 different languages, though not sure if specifically in the airport. Maybe in the underground/metro.
 
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ro1960
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:08 pm

Quoting eielef (Reply 8):
Catalonian

I'm pretty sure it's called "catalan"  
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ro1960
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:22 pm

Quoting LGAviation (Reply 12):
you should also be aware of how closely French and Spanish are related (at least in writing) when compared to German and Spanish

When it comes to aviation terminology, it's a land mine filled with "false friends" !

Spanish : Facturación (Check-in) // French : Facturation (Billing)
Spanish : Tripulación (Crew) // French : Tribulation (Tribulation)
Spanish : Equipaje (Luggage) // French : Équipage (Crew)

Not aviation-related :

Spanish : Constipado (have a cold) // French : Constipé (Constipated)   
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SCQ83
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:24 pm

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 26):
What I find even more interesting is the unilingual, English-only signs at AMS. I guess it's practical, and the Dutch speak perfect English. But just seems a bit strange that the native language doesn't even show up on some of the signs.

That is odd. Even in DUB signs are in English and Irish. And I am sure more people speak don't speak English in the Netherlands than in Ireland.

Quoting LGAviation (Reply 28):
After we've heard about all those 'odd' combinations, is there any major airport in the world that doesn't include English in its signage?
Having recently travelled to Central Asia and other post-soviet states as well as LatAmerica, I run out of the usual anglophobe suspects to check

I doubt there is a single one. English is the imperial language of our time and everybody has got to accept it. Even in FNJ signs are in Korean and English http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-07/02/c_134373647.htm

Quoting Airbus747 (Reply 29):
I vaguely remember that in Paris I could hear audio announcements in about 7-8 different languages, though not sure if specifically in the airport. Maybe in the underground/metro.

Probably the metro or RER. Recorded announcements are usually in French, English, Spanish and German. In some lines (for instance L1) sometimes they use Asian languages (I think Chinese and Japanese at least) to warn about pickpockets  

But in Paris airports is not uncommon either than the announcements are made as well in the language of the destination airport, at least for Spanish and Italian. Maybe they don't trust the linguistic skills of those Eurodisney tourists.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:26 pm

I'd say most airports in the US have signage in English and Spanish. I always found it cool how Detroit has English and Japanese.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:27 pm

Quoting Airbus747 (Reply 29):
I vaguely remember that in Paris I could hear audio announcements in about 7-8 different languages, though not sure if specifically in the airport. Maybe in the underground/metro.

The Orlyval has announcements in French/English/Spanish in relation with the main nationalities using ORY. I can't remember if Italian is included. It is in the Orlybus, though.

In the underground there are warnings about pickpockets in more languages including Japanese I believe.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:27 pm

Signage and announcements at Stuttgart Airport (STR) are in German , English and Turkish.
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:39 pm

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 26):
What I find even more interesting is the unilingual, English-only signs at AMS. I guess it's practical, and the Dutch speak perfect English.

It could be true, I even didn't notice the quite many times I was there, I remember "mind your steps" at the end of the "rolling carpet" but that is hardly essential.
What maybe of help is that not many terms have a Dutch translation. Gate is gate, Check-in is the same.

For the rest: the pictogram´s are self explanatory
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:59 pm

Quoting Airontario (Reply 22):
Every airport in Canada has English/French signage. I'm pretty sure YVR has signage in Chinese as well. While YYZ only has signage in English/French, it won't be difficult to find employees there able to speak any of very popular world languages.

YXY is an oddball. Minimal French signage, but comprehensive German signage. There are 2xweekly seasonal flights from FRA. YXY locals tell me the pax are divided between tree-huggers and hunters/fisherman. I can just imagine them sitting on opposite sides of the plane and glaring at each other the whole flight.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:25 pm

Quoting ro1960 (Reply 31):
Spanish : Facturación (Check-in) // French : Facturation (Billing)

Never heard of facturación as translation for check-in in Spanish. I only know factura as bill, and facturación as billing. I don't even recall the term they use in SJO for check-in in Spanish.

Quoting ro1960 (Reply 31):
Spanish : Constipado (have a cold) // French : Constipé (Constipated)

Judging by those terms, I presume those terms you mentioned are from the Castillian spoken from Spain. In Latin America (at least in Costa Rica), having a cold is a resfriado.

I presume the differences in terminology in the same language should be similar between e.g. the French spoken in CDG and the French spoken in Canada. On the other hand, something tells me the German aviation terms used in Austria shouldn't differ that much from those used in Germany.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:27 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Thread starter):

In some countries, the primary language is the official national language (obviously) and the second language is the language of the previous colonizing country. For instance, BEY has Arabic as the primary signage language, and French the secondary. I heard that LHR had a range of languages including some far eastern ones and Arabic. So there is no fixed rule I guess ?
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:31 pm

Quoting RJ321 (Reply 39):
I heard that LHR had a range of languages including some far eastern ones and Arabic. So there is no fixed rule I guess ?

I didn't see any of that. In both T3 and T5A in LHR, I remember seeing only English.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:41 pm

What about my beloved Findel Airport (LUX) in Luxembourg? Do they use luxembourgish or french? Also English? German maybe? Dutch?
Their official website is in French, German and English. What about the national language? What a pitty, as I was planing to learn Lëtzebuergesch as it looks so easy!
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:45 pm

Quoting sassiciai (Reply 18):
All the above touch on signage in the airport. What about audio?

As far as FRA is concerned I always noticed that the audio flight announcement messages were in 3 languages: German, English and the language of the destination if it was different than the first 2. Generic airport announcements were just in German and English. Or that's what it was like the last time I was at FRA 5 years ago.
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:51 pm

Quoting ytraveller (Reply 25):
BLR, and probably all other Indian airports, has signs in the native language (Kannada), the national language Hindi, and lastly English.

AFAIK both Hindi and English are the national languages. There are 22 recognized languages in India so I would expect a local airport to have signs also in one of the local languages?
 
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:18 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 38):
Never heard of facturación as translation for check-in in Spanish. I only know factura as bill, and facturación as billing. I don't even recall the term they use in SJO for check-in in Spanish.

LGAviation was talking about Spain, not Latin America.

http://www.acostociudadano.com/image.../posts/690x450/p588_1441221124.jpg


Judging by those terms, I presume those terms you mentioned are from the Castillian spoken from Spain. In Latin America (at least in Costa Rica), having a cold is a resfriado.

Again, we're talking about the country Spain where Castilian (single L) is the official language. Regional lexical and pronunciation variations exist in many languages like French and English. Apparently Spanish signage in Latin America use a different term for "Check-in" which seems to be... "Check-in"!
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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:21 pm

In POS signs are in both English and Spanish. Announcements are in English with Spanish announcements made for flights headed to PTY, CCS and PMV. I was very impressed when I first experienced this a few years back. In TAB English is the sole language.

Quoting ro1960 (Reply 30):

I'm pretty sure it's called "catalan"  

Indeed, it is Catalan.

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 38):
Never heard of facturación as translation for check-in in Spanish. I only know factura as bill, and facturación as billing. I don't even recall the term they use in SJO for check-in in Spanish.

Facturación is the Spanish word for check-in.

On a related front, in TFS and LPA I noticed that departure announcements were given in Spanish and the language(s) of the destination of the flight; thus UK flights were given in English (as were domestic flights), Russian flights in Russian, Belgian flights in Dutch and French and so on. Interestingly flights to Italy were given in Spanish and English but not Italian; I thought that was a bit unusual. Perhaps the similarity of Spanish and Italian accounts for this.

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RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:26 pm

Slightly off-topic :

I recently flew on Vueling between ORY and AGP. They have recorded audio safety instructions. They were in Spanish/English and French. I guess they play them accordingly. Although the French version was spoken in a perfect French accent by a French native, there was one mistake that caught my attention. "Cet avion a huit Zissues" (this aircraft has eight exits). It was the wrong liaison between "huit" and "issues". A common mistake even by French native. Numbers referring to plural in people's mind, they add a non-existing "S" and make the "Z" sound.
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UALWN
Posts: 2186
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:27 pm

RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:31 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 38):
Never heard of facturación as translation for check-in in Spanish.

Then you haven't been much to Spain. "Facturar equipaje" is indeed to check luggage. "Mostradores de facturación" are check-in counters, etc.
AT7/111/146/Avro/CRJ/CR9/EMB/ERJ/E75/F50/100/L15/DC9/D10/M8X/717/727/737/747/757/767/777/787/AB6/310/32X/330/340/350/380
 
IWASEYEWITNESS
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:05 pm

RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:17 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 5):
How is it in the US, btw? English only, or Spanish, too? Are signs in English-speaking parts of Canada bilingual, too?

Unlike Spanish in the U.S., French is the other official langugage of Canada. As such, all sectors of activity relevant to federal jurisdiction (i.e. aviation, maritime transport, defense, telecommunications, post) have bilingual obligations.

That being said, my grandmother who speaks absolutely no English could talk about the lack of French-speaking FA's on AC when she would make her way to visit her grandkids at YXT...

A little surprising though for YUL-YTZ...

http://www.lapresse.ca/le-droit/actu...milie-a-laeroport-billy-bishop.php
 
OB1504
Posts: 3762
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

RE: Foreign Languages In Airports

Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:51 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 6):
MIA is definitely bilingual English/Spanish. But some people would argue MIA is hardly the US; I have encountered workers at food outlets at the airport that could hardly speak English... to the anger of "gringos". I guess that is one of the reasons MIA is so unliked in this forum.

The new bilingual signage installed in 2005 is actually a step back. Until 2005, the signs were in English, Spanish, German, and two more languages that escape me at the moment.

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