Parlay voo onglaze?
Brits ‘terribles’ at foreign languages, with 19% unable to even translate "bonjour"
While everyone loves going on holiday, research by Hotels.com today reveals that this does not 'translate' for Brits into an ability to understand and speak the local language. Shockingly 64% of us are completely unable to say anything in a foreign tongue, and only a third (34%) of us are willing to give the lingo a go when abroad. Even simple words such as "bonjour" and “goedemorgen” failed to register, with 19% and 63% of us respectively unable to translate “good morning” in French and Dutch.
Despite French, German and Spanish being on the National Curriculum, only 13%, 8% and 6% of Brits respectively consider themselves able to speak the language. Of those in this category, 25% can ask a limited range of everyday questions, 21% can just say “hello” and “goodbye” and a strange 2% claim that they can understand everything that is said to them, but are unable to say anything back.
The majority of Brits (61%) rarely or never try to speak a foreign language, with reasons for their lack of effort being put down to simply not being bothered (16%), being too embarrassed they will make a mistake (35%) or simply assuming that everyone can speak English (23%).
Surprisingly 47% of 18-24 year olds reported that they haven’t spoken the foreign language they learnt at school, since they left. Conversely, those aged over 55 were most likely to try and speak the country’s local language when on holiday, with 45% of respondents claiming to very often or always try.
Putting pints before their Ps & Qs, more people (43%) were able to translate “a beer please” in Spanish (“una cerveza por favor”) than were able to correctly translate “thank you” in Portuguese (“prego”) 29%.
Kate Hopcraft, from Hotels.com, said: “The results of our study seem to put British holiday makers to shame, with even languages typically learnt at school such as German, French and Spanish having incredibly low levels of comprehension. Brits often have a negative image abroad when it comes to languages and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be anything we'll be saying auf wiedersehen to anytime soon.”
Percentage of Brits who could correctly translate these common foreign phrases:
Una cerveza por favor 43%
Danke schoen 57%
Buenas Noches 56%
For more information, please call:
Freyja Phillips at Frank PR on 020 7693 6999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Kate Hopcraft, email@example.com, 020 7019 2165
Notes to Editors
The research was carried out between 12.10.2011 - 14.10.2011
Sample: 2,000 UK adults
As part of the Expedia group which operates in all major markets, Hotels.com offers almost 140,000 quality hotels, B&Bs and serviced apartments worldwide. If a customer can find the same deal for less on a prepaid hotel, Hotels.com will match it. Hotels.com benefits from one of the largest hotel contracting teams in the industry negotiating the best rates for its customers, plus there are more than 2.5 million reviews from users who have actually stayed in the hotels to ensure customers make an informed choice when booking. Travellers can book online or by contacting one of the multilingual call centres in England. During 2011, Hotels.com launched a specially-designed app for the iPad and several smart phone apps, all available to download for free. These allow users to search and book more than 20,000 last minute deals from around the world. Available in more than 30 languages, the apps also allow users to sort and filter hotels, browse user reviews plus find last minute hotel deals close to their location. Hotels.com has recently launched its Welcome Rewards customer loyalty programme worldwide, where customers can earn a free night for every ten nights stayed (subject to Welcome Rewards terms and conditions as set out at www.hotels.com .