Once international travel gets into top gear again, after a suffocating year and a half of the pandemic, travel for travel’s sake will probably be on everyone’s mind. Globetrotting is one of life’s most enjoyable activities. You never know who you might meet and how chance encounters might end up.

Translation & Localization Conferences

Meeting the love of your life is not usually the main reason people travel, but it can certainly happen. Romantic relationships across cultural and language barriers can of course happen at home, too. You may be a student at an institution where there are many international students or your job entails meeting people from many parts of the world. Then, there are migrants to your own country who you meet and one thing leads to another….! 

Just as a bit of fun, we have made up a list of things you can say to someone whose native language isn’t English if it gets to the point where you think you need to show your affection more expressively. This list of how to say “I Love You” is by necessity not exhaustive, but has been prepared to give you a hint that you don’t always have to use English. Showing that you have taken the time to learn something in the language of the target of your affection is part of the mantic effort. 

When in Rome, do as the Romans do…

Europe is a continent of many languages and a likely place to strike up a relationship. Some European languages are international ones, too, like French, Spanish and Portuguese, so making the effort to learn a European language can help you if you travel much further.

The French for “I Love You is “Je t’aime” pronounced “Zhe tame!” That will get you through a developing romance in France, parts of Switzerland, some of the Caribbean islands like Martinique and Guadeloupe, parts of North and Western Africa such as Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, as well as many of the Pacific Islands, from Nouvelle Caledonie in the west to the Marquesas in the East. 

The Spanish for “I Love You” is “Te Amo”/ That will certainly get you by in European Spain, but also across the Atlantic in a vast swathe of countries that stretch from Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America right up to the Mexican/U.S. border along the Rio Grande. Spanish words of affection can be used in many parts of North America, too where it has become the most important second language. The only countries in South America where Spanish is not widely spoken include Brazil, where Portuguese is the official language, Suriname, where Dutch is widely used and Guyenne, where French is used. Luckily, the Portuguese (Brazilian version) for “I love you” is the same as in Spanish, while in Suriname, you might try the Dutch “Ik hou van jou” which of course you can use in the Netherlands as well!

Just to remind you that love isn’t confined to Europe or the Americas, here is a brief smattering of those simple words in some other important languages:

  • Japanese: Try “Ai shiteru” although be warned that there is no straightforward translation and what you say in Japanese depends on why you are expressing your affection and whom to.
  • Chinese (Mandarin): Try “wǒ ài nǐ.” 
  • Korean: “saranghae” is the simplest expression to use.
  • Hindi: the words depend on which gender is using the words, but “main tumse pyar karta hoon” is one variation.
  • Thai: “p̄hm rạk khuṇ” is the expression to use, but it is worth getting a Thai to say it first as Thai is a tonal language and so how you pronounce it could change the meaning!
  • Swahili, or more correctly, Kiswahili is the official language of Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa, but as a lingua franca is spoken more widely. “Ninakupenda” is the expression to use in Kiswahili.