Other languages


hey guys
Are there any architects here that have to speak
different languages on the job? If so how is that
goin? Are they the languages the are common
in school (spanish french german)?

Feb 20, 07 12:54 pm

Italian is my mothe tongue.
More than half of our clients are english, so I need to speak and understand english.

Feb 20, 07 1:40 pm  · 

where do you practice matteo?

Feb 20, 07 2:11 pm  · 

i studied one semester of introduction to spanish a few months ago to use with the spanish speaking guys at the job expected from an introductory course, i'm still choppy but i've used it a couple of times to translate for my boss, who doesn't speak any spanish except for the greetings and the good byes, and the worker at the is much more difficult for me to speak it (i find myself with long pauses searching for the proper words) than to listen to someone and understand what the person is saying...and when a person i'm speaking with knows a little bit of english i speak the spanglish...

it's frustrating though when you start a conversation with a worker in spanish and they bust out with super fast tongue..."damn, homie! can't you tell with my accent that this is not my most comfortable language?, slow down"

and construction terms are another thing...

Feb 20, 07 2:21 pm  · 

Yo hablo y escribo un pocito de espanol, pero no necessito para mi trabajar.

Feb 20, 07 2:29 pm  · 
liberty bell

Hey, rationalist, my high school Spanish actually allowed me to totally comprende that sentence, yay for me!

Honestly, I think I could make a million finding someone to teach a "construction Spanish" course for architects. Some words I think we need to know:

1/16" grout joint
no shoe moulding

Also, doing residential work you need to know a bit of the language of psychology, to interpret what a husband and wife are really saying when they talk about their relative closet sizes.

Feb 20, 07 3:15 pm  · 

though spanish is my second language -english my third- I think I could try with lb's list:

· flush (as in making two things 'flush') - nivelar (nivelar dos cosas)
· flush (flushing the toilet) - tirar de la cadena
· align - alinear
· 1/16'' grout joint (between tiles) - junta de mortero de centímetro y medio (de 1,5 cm)
· no shoe moulding - that's a tough one, I guess if you're talking about that piece of wood glued or nailed to the baseboard, I don't even know what name it has in catalan (my mother tongue).. the whole baseboard in spanish however would be - zócalo

but then I guess north american spanish (like central- and south american) may have its own particular slang and words which can be, sometimes, quite different from Spain's spanish (castilian)

Feb 20, 07 4:26 pm  · 

i speak spanish and french pretty well, but don't really NEED either of them at work. pity too, because i could use some more practise.

i do lot of work with an architect who's from guatemala. been living in the states for 25 years, but the spanish is sure handy on the job-site.

Feb 20, 07 4:36 pm  · 

"1/16'' grout joint (between tiles) - junta de mortero de centímetro y medio (de 1,5 cm)"

Medit- didn't you just say that the grout joint should be 1.5 centimeters? Isn't that way bigger than 1/16"?

My boyfriends father (a contractor), would call that "una junta de mortero de dos torillas." = )

Feb 20, 07 4:59 pm  · 

me, that's "de dos tortillas", not "torillas". I type just as crappy in Spanish as I do in English.

Feb 20, 07 5:00 pm  · 

spanish,'s texas after all

in chicago, though, we spoke whatever language the client spoke. korean, chinese (mandarin & cantonese), japanese, portuguese, spanish, polish...there were multiple speakers of all of these languages in the office. it was neat, except when i futzed up an excel spreadsheet that was written in japanese...couldn't tell where i'd messed up

Feb 20, 07 5:07 pm  · 

oops.., yes rationalist...!
an inch is 2,54 cm so 1/16 would be "de milímetro y medio" (de 1,5 mm or 0,15 cm)

una junta muy pequeña, no? las baldosas tendrían problemas para dilatarse y contraerse si hubiera temperaturas muy altas... got it? :)

Feb 20, 07 5:13 pm  · 

"una junta muy pequeña, no?" si, prefioro una junta de cuatro o cinco tortillas, porque una junta do dos tortillas esta muy dificil para los trabajadores. Y estas problemas con la temperatura que usted escribe.

"las baldosas tendrían problemas para dilatarse y contraerse si hubiera temperaturas muy altas" I get the general idea, but wouldn't get the literal translation of each of these words separately. And if you said this to me, the words would likely go by too fast for me to separate and translate them mentally.

Feb 20, 07 5:22 pm  · 

refer to the wiseman on another thread who said that the only spanish you need to know is the word "chingalera"

Feb 20, 07 5:34 pm  · 

"ponga las chingaleras aqui, guey"...i use that to tell the framers where to put the 2x4's...

i'm gonna try the tortilla as a form of measurement next time i'm at the job site (the guys should get a kick out of that)...they already laugh when i come in and greet them with "que onda, compa, donde 'sta las chicas?"...

Feb 20, 07 6:04 pm  · 

monolingual here

but I speak and understand the dialects of the workmen, "yah man gwaan bun yuh spliff"

Feb 20, 07 6:23 pm  · 

I speak spanish, but rarely use it at the jobsite. The architect isn't supposed to talk to the workers, thats the contractor's job. The only time I've found it necessary is when my cape gets snagged...then I might need to ask for some help. !Muchacho...desangancha mi capa...andale!

Feb 20, 07 6:44 pm  · 
Ms Beary

4 years of high school spanish and 1.5 years of college italian isn't near enough to be fluent in either, but I find it helpful cause so many words in architecture are latin based, gives me more background and is mentally satisfying. plus I can laugh at all the ceramic tile reps who mispronounce their product line!

i have downloaded some audio language stuff into my i-tunes and they come up every once in a while whilst working away under my headphones. good refreshers.

Feb 20, 07 7:15 pm  · 

my mother language is Arabic ... but english is a must.

Feb 21, 07 3:22 am  · 

never needed to until i started working in spain...god that was a pain for the first several mo. i was pretty psyched though after maybe year and a half i was mistaken for a polish person when talking to some glass manufacturer over the phone...but now i have a feeling my castellano is in poor shape. any native castilian speakers in l.a. here?

Feb 21, 07 3:56 am  · 

matteo u go to the gsd?

Feb 21, 07 3:58 am  · 

bhe diciamo che anche io sono di gran lunga un italiano parlante di nascita, aber muss ich jeden tag auf Deutsch reden, and work is mainly in english, in the atelier we are 10 and spoken languages are italian, german, english, indi, greek, polish, bulgarian, spanish, cantonese, mandarin, it's a mess if we speak at the same time on the phone

Feb 21, 07 4:33 am  · 

i worked for a month and i had to use filipino (i'm from the philippines), chinese (talking to the head boss since he sometimes doesn't want people to understand him) and english for presentation purposes. and chinese too for the chinese businessmen

Feb 21, 07 11:18 am  · 
liberty bell

Thanks for all the help, Medit - and yes I did mean flush as in aligning things within the same plane - not flushing to toilet - but thanks for your help on that one too!

I said "1/16th grout joint" and instead got them at about 1/4" - yes, 1/16 is a difficult grout joint, but I think they just forgot that I had asked for a small one (a day or two before the actual installation) and they did a standard joint size. It's ok, because the tile is all white and the grout joints just disappear anyway. But I bet that if I had said "una junta de dos tortillas" they would have remembered - I will have to try that one! With nothing but respect, of course - I honestly just want to be able to communicate clearly and think it's incumbent on me to take on that responsibility too.

mightylittle I will look for that book. It seems perfect.

chingalera...I have to go look that one up now.

Feb 21, 07 11:37 am  · 

Kellynsee...Hoy! Filipino Ako!...too bad that's the extent of my tagalog.

I'm also slowly learning a small bit of Japanese for my upcoming trip.

Feb 21, 07 11:43 am  · 

luck THe aquino.

i studied (and used every day) spanish a long time ago. but have been working in japanese for the last 10+ years. i spoke not a damn word really when i started job as intern in office (i still don't know why they hired me)...but learned to speak and do dwgs in japanese on the job. Fast (zero english environment). first thing i learned, was "what the HELL is this crap you've done now, jump?!"...but in a friendly partner speaks english so that is our common tongue (partner speaks 4 languages), but we both need and use japanese every day. it is nice to have to do it this way...sometimes frustrating, but usually a nice kind of challenge. certainly taught me to respect all of those immigrants who move to canada or the states and start a new life in english...

Feb 21, 07 5:51 pm  · 

theaquino: haha! i sort of figured it out from your name :) my mom told me that when she lived in LA for awhile they all thought that she was speaking spanish when she was talking in Filipino. but... i dont know. haha spanish seems hard.

goodluck with the japanese! heard it's as hard as chinese with all those characters and pronunciations that can mean the same thing but don't.

Feb 22, 07 11:21 am  · 

But Filipino is a Spanish influenced
language isnt it?
i know a few folks at busch gardens (my summer job)
that speak filipino and i swear i hear a few spanish

Feb 22, 07 11:46 am  · 

When your country is ruled by another for almost 300 years, it'll have an effect on the language. There many dialects spoken but the national language Tagalog (Filippino) is heavily influenced by Spanish.

I like Japanese because it's phonetic ALL the time. The vocab and structure of the language aren't that much harder than learning any other language. What I'm having problems with is the 3 alphabets, so I think reading anything is out. Also, counting is good times.

Sayonara, toire wa doko desu ka?

Feb 22, 07 12:09 pm  · 

Are there any firms that do business
with the japanese?

Feb 22, 07 12:11 pm  · 

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