I'm a member of the art site DeviantArt, which as you know is one of the most popular art websites in the world. People from all sorts of countries go there. Because of this, you can't help but interact with a few dozen foreigners, and I have encountered a pitiful problem of a language barrier.
My DA isn't very popular or engaging, so I'm usually on my FA, and I only check back on DA every week or so. Recently I logged on to DA and found out I received a few good comments and notes from a person named Husk. At first I thought he was speaking in text speech, but as I browsed along his words... I simply couldn't understand anything. *derp*
I went to Husk's account and saw that he was born and raised in a country which had its own language. I concluded that he only had English as a second language and didn't practice it too well. I tried to say a little greeting back to Husk (in English), but it seems the poor guy has little idea what I'm saying, and I have little idea in what he's saying too. And it's rude to just tell him directly "I don't know what you're saying" and I don't trust Google Translate to try and talk to him in his native tongue.
So far, he hasn't been commenting anymore, but I don't really know how to respond to his old comments because I don't even know what he means (plus, two of the comments are questions).
What's a guy to do in a situation like this?
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Thanks for your question. Papabear agrees that Google Translate can be rather clunky, though it can do well enough to get the point across. It’s when you try to express difficult, abstract concepts or use too many colloquialisms that Google takes a poop and gives you odd results. My first suggestion, then, would be to send a short, very short, message to your friend. I take it you figured out which language he speaks? There are many online translators out there that can handle simple phrases such as “thank you for the compliment”; “sorry, I don’t speak [insert language]”; and so on.
You could go the extra mile and purchase software. One I know of is called Babylon (http://translation.babylon.com) which, I believe has a free online version. Other good software packages are Power Translator and Promt. If you find yourself dealing more and more with people from other countries, it might be worth getting some software, though in your case you probably don’t deal with foreigners often enough to justify it. Should that change, it is an option.
Going a bit further, perhaps you could locate a friend or acquaintance who speaks the language and he or she could help you out by translating back and forth.
And those are about your only options. Depends on how often you deal with the situation how you might wish to finally resolve it.
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