MANILA, Philippines — Thank you, Google Translate.
Unfamiliar with the local language, around 400 Filipino youth delegates to the recent World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations in Rio de Janiero, Brazil resorted to Google Translate, hand gestures, and charades to get their message across to the locals, a Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said Tuesday.
Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive director of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth, said the Filipino delegates who attended the global Catholic youth meeting from July 22 to 29 had to be creative to communicate with Brazilians.
“Because of these (methods), our Filipino pilgrims and the host families were able to understand each other,” Garganta said in a Church forum in Intramuros, Manila.
He said that before leaving the houses of their host families, the Filipino pilgrims already had a list of Portuguese expressions ready after translating useful phrases from Filipino or English to Portuguese using Google Translate.
“So, thanks to this technology. I hope many more would use their knowledge and also use these services on the Internet,” Garganta said.
He said many of the WYD venues had Wi-Fi so the pilgrims were also able to use their smartphones to navigate the Net and find the correct translation of the phrase or sentence they wanted to convey to locals.
“During the WYD, there were many areas that were Wi-Fi zones that provided free access to the Internet,” Garganta said.
He said that before leaving for Brazil, the pilgrims were also taught short phrases like “Good morning” or “What’s your name?” in Portuguese.
But when these and others failed, the pilgrims resorted to hand gestures and charades to get their message across, Garganta said.
“They used body language or if there was an object near to explain what they wanted to say. It’s not really a limitation. It was an opportunity for you to discover ways of communicating,” Garganta said.