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Thread: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

  1. #1
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    Default Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Yikes! We're going to Spain in two months. Yes, I know many, if not most people there speak some English. BUT- The parents of the groom for the wedding we're going to do not speak English, and worse, the proprietor of the remote Airbnb we're staying at also no hablo englais. I know a handful of words from high school, but that was long time ago. I know enough to order beer or wine, and how to find a bathroom. I'm looking at a program called Pimsleur that's supposed to get you speaking a foreign language pretty quickly. I've also heard that there are translator apps. Do these work without cell signal? There may not be cell service where we're going, and I know that there isn't wifi. Maybe I learn differently than most people, but I can usually read basic Spanish, but speaking it, or listening to a speaker and I'm lost. The good news is that I'm retired, so I can devote a fair amount of time to learning. The downside is that I'm old, so most of what I learn is forgotten in minutes.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Couple of things. Listen to spanish radio. It hurts the head after a while but keep at it. All day. Tv as well.

    Write down 25 phrases you want to learn. 50 if ambitious. Just memorize them. Many are multipurpose. “Let’s go to the ___.”

    Try autoplay youtube on some topic like “basic spanish” and let it play all day.

    Find a spanish speaker to help you with the basic everyday spanish stuff like “nice to meet you”. How people really say it is often different than the books.

    about 10-15 years ago, everything went to a pay as you go subscription on the internet. I hate it. Find a half price books and pick up a basic spanish on cassette or cd. Or try ebay. Very cheap.

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Some praise, some criticize duolingo.

    I'll just say two things:
    - it's as time flexible as it gets
    - I like it

    Regarding translators, google translate for those two works great. It is and will remain mediocre for combinations where english is not one of selected options, as google translates from X to english to Y. Heavily inflected languages still suffer, but spanish <-> english is ok. Dictate to your smartphone, it will listen, think and speak in spanish. Show it a bottle label and get it translated and placed in relevant place on the label. You know, the hyped AR tech. One of few cases where it actually works and is already very useful.
    Last edited by WszystekPoTrochu; 06-29-2022 at 07:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Google translate real-life samples for Ukrainian, which I happened to already have installed (real time translation requires a ~50 MB download)




    The ultimate litmus test of retranslating from english to ukrainian and then back to english, with doubled screen raster difficulty:

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Where in Spain? In some places folks have an accent VERY different from what one normally hears in the US (Mexican, Puerto Rican, and the more northerly parts of Latin America); sort of like if you'd learned English in Alabama and then went to a small town north of Glasgow.

    I can't help much with a course, but one useful tip: spelling in Spanish is just about 100% phonetic and takes a few minutes to learn, very few exceptions. If you can read it, you can pronounce it correctly; if you can say it you can write it.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 06-29-2022 at 08:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    We're going to be in the Basque region. Yes, I know that they also speak Euskara, a very strange language. Most of my immersion with Spanish has been with Mexican, Cuban, and central American Hispanics that I worked with over the years. Unfortunately, a lot of the words I picked up from co-workers are not appropriate language at a wedding.

    I know what you mean about accents and dialects. wanna have fun? Take your grade-school French and try to get by in Montreal.

    Again- do the phone-based translators require being connected to the internet or cell coverage? We may have neither in the Picos de Europa.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    I year or two ago I got to try out a way cool gadget that instantly translated Mandarin to english and vice versa. It was fairly expensive and very cool.

    You spoke the phrase and it came out right on the speaker in the other language.

    Not sure if they are widely available yet.
    Last edited by bluedog225; 06-29-2022 at 09:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Yeah, Basque is related to Martian, I think. Up there they speak North Castilian Spanish, with the 'th' sounds for Z and C, and actually using vosotros other than in church, sort of the equivalent of thee and thou. Sounds pretty odd to someone who learned Spanish in Latin America.
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Watch Spanish movies from Spain with subtitles on. they are fun, sexy and will get you ready to for your trip. rosetta stone works well too and is pretty cheap to do. local libraries often have it to check out. Pick up phrases you will need using it. Basque Spain will be tough to understand. go with what you can and you will be putting along in 5 days if you try once you get there.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Two months isn't enough time to learn any useful level of Spanish, especial for a tired old brain, apart from tourist level phrase book stuff such as 'Hello, my name is Bob. How much does the hat cost?' And when they tell you how much the hat costs chances are you won't understand the answer. Plenty of one on one online schools through Skype if you can afford it. There's also a ton of free Youtube spanish language instruction channels you can watch. Good luck.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Instituto Cervantes is the Spanish equivalent of Alliance Française or Göethe Haus -- a world-wide cultural organization sponsored by the Spanish government.

    Here are the Seattle and NYC chapters:

    https://seattle.cervantes.es/en/

    https://nyork.cervantes.es/en/

    They might be able help with finding a Spanish tutor or the like near you (Greenville, SC?)

    However, Instituto Cervantes has online Spanish classes available at

    https://ave.cervantes.es/en

    Also, a language exchange, with native Spanish speakers near you, where you meet 1-on-1 or in small groups and teach each other your own native language.

    https://www.mylanguageexchange.com/c...ted_States.asp

    And another language exchange:

    https://lexody.com/hello

    And a Spanish language conversation group in Simpsonville: https://www.meetup.com/Greenville-Sp...Language-Club/

    Upstate International in Greenville offers both Spanish classes and has a weekly conversation club

    https://upstateinternational.org/eve...sation-club-2/

    https://upstateinternational.org/language-classes/
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Also, much of Netflix programming has Spanish dubbing available, with a choice of English or Spanish subtitles. I find the programming originally made in some other language and then dubbed into Spanish to be easier to follow than programming originally made in Spain, because the dubbing is usually a simpler, less slang ridden version of the language.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Two months isn't enough time to learn any useful level of Spanish, especial for a tired old brain, apart from tourist level phrase book stuff such as 'Hello, my name is Bob. How much does the hat cost?' And when they tell you how much the hat costs chances are you won't understand the answer. Plenty of one on one online schools through Skype if you can afford it. There's also a ton of free Youtube spanish language instruction channels you can watch. Good luck.
    2 months of semi immersion of a new language can deliver great results. Watch Spanish movies and TV, read Spanish materials and speak to each other in the house in attempted Spanish, you will be ready enough. learning a language is a test for brain elastically, attempting to do it with commitment will pay wonders in nearly everything else in you life. Your brain can be reawaken and you can learn a new language. plus it is a fun way to get ready and excited for your upcoming holiday.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    2 months of semi immersion of a new language can deliver great results. Watch Spanish movies and TV, read Spanish materials and speak to each other in the house in attempted Spanish, you will be ready enough. learning a language is a test for brain elastically, attempting to do it with commitment will pay wonders in nearly everything else in you life. Your brain can be reawaken and you can learn a new language. plus it is a fun way to get ready and excited for your upcoming holiday.
    You must be a lot smarter than me, Ted. Because I've been studying Spanish seriously for about two years and I can say from my personal experience, the first two months wasn't enough to say boo. Sure, I took an intensive intro course and after two months I could say a lot - that is until the first time I tried to actually have a normal, unrehearsed conversation with an actual native Spanish speaker. Then I realized I couldn't say squat that wasn't right out of the pages of my course book.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    This is a YouTuber I follow, Mary Spender. Her latest vid is relevant

    I practice music just as she describes in this video. My guitar teacher in the 70's did not have a name for it, but now they apparently call it, The Pomodoro Method. I can recommend it highly for structured practice.

    This is not to discount the immersion methods like listening to Spanish radio, or visiting Miami. But a combo of immersion and formal learning may prove to move you ahead better. It does for me, anyway.



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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    You must be a lot smarter than me, Ted. Because I've been studying Spanish seriously for about two years and I can say from my personal experience, the first two months wasn't enough to say boo. Sure, I took an intensive intro course and after two months I could say a lot - that is until the first time I tried to actually have a normal, unrehearsed conversation with an actual native Spanish speaker. Then I realized I couldn't say squat.
    Jim, I think you just froze and got frustrated. I actually believe you may be able to speak some good Spanish. Recently when we rented a house in at Lake Tahoe, I spent a long weekend with a house guest boyfriend of my wife's cousin who only spoke Spanish. It took me 48 hours to begin to get my mind and tongue engaged - once i did some of my vocabulary began to came back quickly. I was not as fast as I used to be nor was I perfect but i felt good that i was able to converse, make jokes and talk about stuff they wanted to talk about. Watch a bit more Spanish TV (but not that rapid fire Telemundo stuff with the gorgeous morning hosts) and constantly try your hand at little phrases even with yourself. Work hard enough to get Spanish to enter your dreams if you can. Once you do that, you are going to be thrilled you tried and can manage.

    I have begun French. I know only a few words and phrases but it is nearly a joke. I have started out with watching movies and music. I watched 400 blows last night and have a few more films for this week. I am very dyslectic so reading French often makes no sense to me. Once I get words and phrases down, I know can associate shapes of words to sounds I know making me like a 2 year old literate. My goal is to be ready to get by with simple things and build from there. The real problem is that folks usually respond to me in English which defeats my attempts and shakes my confidence. Once that happens I stop trying. I cant let me be that guy again. It makes a long night a a dinner table with everyone speaking a language you do not understand but it doesn't have to be that way.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    Jim, I think you just froze and got frustrated. I actually believe you may be able to speak some good Spanish. Recently when we rented a house in at Lake Tahoe, I spent a long weekend with a house guest boyfriend of my wife's cousin who only spoke Spanish. It took me 48 hours to begin to get my mind and tongue engaged - once i did some of my vocabulary began to came back quickly. I was not as fast as I used to be nor was I perfect but i felt good that i was able to converse, make jokes and talk about stuff they wanted to talk about. Watch a bit more Spanish TV (but not that rapid fire Telemundo stuff with the gorgeous morning hosts) and constantly try your hand at little phrases even with yourself. Work hard enough to get Spanish to enter your dreams if you can. Once you do that, you are going to be thrilled you tried and can manage.

    I have begun French. I know only a few words and phrases but it is nearly a joke. I have started out with watching movies and music. I watched 400 blows last night and have a few more films for this week. I am very dyslectic so reading French often makes no sense to me. Once I get words and phrases down, I know can associate shapes of words to sounds I know making me like a 2 year old literate. My goal is to be ready to get by with simple things and build from there. The real problem is that folks usually respond to me in English which defeats my attempts and shakes my confidence. Once that happens I stop trying. I cant let me be that guy again. It makes a long night a a dinner table with everyone speaking a language you do not understand but it doesn't have to be that way.
    Um, Ted, I was there. I'd remember if I froze or got frustrated. Fact is, for me at least, two months isn't enough time to learn anything beyond the Berlitz phrase book. Now French would be much easier for me now, since as a Canadian kid it was mandatory in school for several years. But I don't like French and will likely never go anywhere I would use it. I'm taking some time off Spanish, at least for the summer. Probably start back again in September because I'm hoping to go to Mexico again in January 2023.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    I know a very good Spanish teacher. I took private lessons from her for a couple years and it’s stayed with me. These days she’s teaching online, one on one.
    She is from Chile and teaches a very proper form of Castilian. It served me well in Mexico, Central America and Andalusia.

    https://m.facebook.com/Language-Disc...1866908869988/
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Buenos dias, cerveza, por favor, y donde el baño?

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    Again- do the phone-based translators require being connected to the internet or cell coverage? We may have neither in the Picos de Europa.
    Tested yesterday: downloaded language pack, turned on airplane mode. AR translations via camera and written text work, didn't test audio - audio probably needs internet connection. There's also an option of getting a local SIM card with an internet plan, I see that you'll get one in Spain for around $15

    How much time do you want to invest in learning spanish?
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Google translate. Download the language of choice to your phone before you go, and it works offline - no cell connection required.
    It may not be the prettiest translation, but you're trying to communicate, not write War and Peace.
    Learn enough to personally thank the groom's parents for their hospitality, and everything else will be forgiven!

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Work on the correct pronunciation of Spanish names, and even important places and they will be happy to work through anything else.
    Enjoy!

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    Jim, I think you just froze and got frustrated. I actually believe you may be able to speak some good Spanish. Recently when we rented a house in at Lake Tahoe, I spent a long weekend with a house guest boyfriend of my wife's cousin who only spoke Spanish. It took me 48 hours to begin to get my mind and tongue engaged - once i did some of my vocabulary began to came back quickly. I was not as fast as I used to be nor was I perfect but i felt good that i was able to converse, make jokes and talk about stuff they wanted to talk about. Watch a bit more Spanish TV (but not that rapid fire Telemundo stuff with the gorgeous morning hosts) and constantly try your hand at little phrases even with yourself. Work hard enough to get Spanish to enter your dreams if you can. Once you do that, you are going to be thrilled you tried and can manage.

    I have begun French. I know only a few words and phrases but it is nearly a joke. I have started out with watching movies and music. I watched 400 blows last night and have a few more films for this week. I am very dyslectic so reading French often makes no sense to me. Once I get words and phrases down, I know can associate shapes of words to sounds I know making me like a 2 year old literate. My goal is to be ready to get by with simple things and build from there. The real problem is that folks usually respond to me in English which defeats my attempts and shakes my confidence. Once that happens I stop trying. I cant let me be that guy again. It makes a long night a a dinner table with everyone speaking a language you do not understand but it doesn't have to be that way.
    Spanish is a walk in the park compared to French.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by bob winter View Post
    Spanish is a walk in the park compared to French.
    Both dialects of Latin, and the grammar is similar. But Spanish is a lot easier for a native English-speaker to pronounce correctly, and phonetic spelling helps a lot. It certainly makes you understand how tenuous the connection is between written English and the spoken sounds.

    But again, look into the local accent. Northern Castilian sounds about as much like the ordinary Latin American Spanish you hear in the US as Scottish sounds like Californian.
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Both dialects of Latin, and the grammar is similar. But Spanish is a lot easier for a native English-speaker to pronounce correctly, and phonetic spelling helps a lot. It certainly makes you understand how tenuous the connection is between written English and the spoken sounds.

    But again, look into the local accent. Northern Castilian sounds about as much like the ordinary Latin American Spanish you hear in the US as Scottish sounds like Californian.
    Biggest accent split in the US is a Cuban accent vs. Mexican. You find out quickly in Miami.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Biggest accent split in the US is a Cuban accent vs. Mexican. You find out quickly in Miami.
    True - but have you ever talked to somebody from Argentina?
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    True - but have you ever talked to somebody from Argentina?
    Yes! My buddy told me, “Let’s English, because I don’t understand Mexicano.”

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    SlowNews in Spanish may help with listening comprehension. It’s easier to understand when each word is more carefully and purposely articulated.

    Someone with an accent and rapid fire delivery can always confuse me, though.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    ^ Hey that's really cool Rob - I'd never heard of slow news, but I like the idea. Learning Spanish is a sort of half hearted bucket list thing that I've never put much effort into, and you just don't hear it spoken here in NZ which isn't helpful. And yes, I know there are heaps of online resources, finding something that motivates me to go back is the key, and I confess to being a news junkie. This might actually help.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Happy I could help. I had a dual-immersion education through the 5th grade, where every other day was English/Spanish (Mexicano, really, not Spain Spanish ), so I can make all the proper sounds like a native speaker.

    My fluency comes and goes with usage, but I was able to translate for a bunch of people on my trip home from the east coast. There was a nightmare avalanche of flight cancellations and the cascade effect that causes, and I was able to help some people with my ghastly Spanglish.

    I have a marginal amount of German, as well, from some family friends who spoke nothing but.

    I only recently learned about SlowNews, and I think it’s wonderful. Much better than learning inane phrases, too, I think. Learning language as people speak it is much more useful if the mission is conversation, and immersion is the best way I know to learn.

    Of course, everyone learns differently. Practice and repetition hardly ever miss, though.

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    What is SlowNews?


    I get it though. I use the controls on youtube to slowdown playback so I can more readily learn to play certain songs

    Kevin


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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    We just had a zoom meeting with the bride, groom, and all of the Americans that are going to the wedding. The groom's mother jumped in, greeting us all in Spanish. Her son explained that the people in the meeting didn't speak Spanish, but she just kept chattering away in very rapid Spanish. I realized that two months isn't going to help in cases like that. I'll learn a few pleasantries, and smile and nod a lot. I am going to try to learn more, though.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    What is SlowNews?


    I get it though. I use the controls on youtube to slowdown playback so I can more readily learn to play certain songs

    Kevin


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    Oops! It’s actually called “News in Slow”, I think. They do news in various languages, but at less than rapid fire pace.

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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Most effective way to learn is emersion. The teacher i mentioned above didn’t allow any English in our 1 on 1 sessions.
    Think about how you learned English.
    I know several people that traveled to Antigua, Guatemala for emersion courses. Lived with a family there. In 2 months they were practically fluent. You obviously can’t to this, but you could certainly get a good grasp and vocabulary from 1 on 1 classes in that amount of time.
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    Default Re: Crash course in Spanish, or a translator app?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Yes! My buddy told me, “Let’s English, because I don’t understand Mexicano.”
    True story: many years ago, my wife (well, she wasn't my wife then, but anyway . . .) was in Santander, NW Spain, sharing a taxi with a guy from Venezuela, the driver being a local Gallego. (Gallego, for those who don't know, is another dialect of Latin, from the Roman province of Galicia, sort of halfway between Spanish and Portuguese.) Everybody was speaking Spanish, but the local taxi driver and the Venezuelan couldn't understand each other at all, and Ann ended up translating back and forth from Spanish into Spanish.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
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