A Soundmans Phrase Book

Sound Recording has taken me right across the world, from America to Zanzibar, and I always count myself entirely privileged to have seen many things that tourists will never get a chance to, especially in some of the more distant backwaters.

I place myself ambassador and observer in equal parts and since courtesy costs nothing I always make sure to learn how to be nice in all languages, mostly because I have always met such nice people in every corner of the world and sometimes to make getting through customs easier, as my gear always rings alarms when x-rayed due to looking something like a time-bomb and gun assortment.

On documentaries you often find yourself being pulled around cities as if by a large dog and as the cameraman is desperately trying to do his bit, I find myself in the practical position of apologising for all the barging and general getting in the way that the cameraman is managing and that’s why it’s always good to know a short form of sorry and thanks rather than just a full formal version as you could be using it every few steps.

Most of this list is phonetic from my scribbled notes.

Arabic  
Anna mo-handez Sawrt I am a Soundman
Anna assa-gil Sawrt mo film I am recording for a film
Momkin assa-gil sawrt an-ma-kan? Do you mind if I record here?
Tasweer! Rolling!
Sho-kran Thank you
Ye-sla-moo! Thanks!
Assef Sorry
Assef Jedden I’m really sorry
Bulgarian  
The national drink here is Rakia, a fruit brandy, flavours vary but best found made from an elderly relative rather than off the shelf.
There is also Mastika, a bit like Ouzo, that is good on it’s own, with creme de menthe or slyly added to the summertime served cold cucumber soup: Tarator. Note that not immediately having and enjoying tarator when offered it causes confusion.
Blaga-darya Thank you
Mnogo Very much (always means many or a lot)
Mersee Thanks (Yes, they’ve borrowed from the French)
Molja Please
Sazaljavam Sorry
Nyama problem (There is) no problem
Ezze-ve-netteh Excuse me
Az pravya Zvuk I do Sound
Az zapisvam Zvuk I record Sound
Az sni-ma I’m filming
Sni-ma meh We’re filming
Eema problem There is a problem
Tikho Quiet!
Mnogo-eh Shumun-noh It’s too noisey
Hi-deh (or even just: I-deh) Let’s go!
Doh Skoro See you soon
Ciao Hello/Bye (Yes, they’ve adopted a bit of Italian too)
Nasdraveh Cheers lit. Good health so also good for: Bless you
Oshte Ed-Noh One more (m) (for wine etc)
Oshte Ed-Na One more (f) (for beer and soft drinks)
Oshte B-Veh Two more (f) (for beer and soft drinks)
Sersh-tia the same (so oshte bveh sershtia for two more of the same)
Tazi Hrraneh mnogo who-ba-va This food is very good
Tozi Produzent ste plaati za veCherta This Producer will pay for everything
Cantonese  
Ne-how Hello
Shay shay Thank you
Czech  
De-ku-ye Thank you
Deke Thanks
Nasdravee Cheers
Danish  
Lewd Technika Sound Engineer
Onn Skuud Mai Excuse me
Tak Thanks
French  
Je suis un enrigestre du son I am a Sound Recordist
Est ce que je peux enregistrer ce que vous faites? Can I record what you’re doing?
Il est trop bruyant It’s too noisy
German  
Tone Engineer Sound Engineer
Enschulegunze bitter Sorry (long form)
Schuleghun Sorry
Knock eins bitter One more please (beer)
Knock einen bitter One more wine/cocktail please
Greek  
Emme icholiptis I am a Soundman
Pa-Meh Let’s go
Endaxi Ok
Ne Yes
Oche No
Issi-he-aa Shhh
Ichos Sound (lit. Echoes)
Sinhor-Rest-e-ton, eena malakass Forgive him, he’s a wanker
Hungarian  
E-gen Yes
Nem No
Kurs-son-um Thank you
Kursee Thanks
Hodge vodge? How are you?
Hong Sound
Hong foylog Sound turning
Tasheg Action
Parminter Rolling
EggyShegga-dRaa Cheers
Ninch meat Don’t mention it
Lesarom I don’t care (Lit. I shit on it)
Italian  
Scusa Excuse me/Sorry
Swan-no Sound
Velo-chi-ta Speed
Axe-ioni! Action!
Yo sono engineery del swan-no I am a Sound Engineer
Porco registrairey cosa fatch-endo? May I record what you are doing?
Cosa posa farey? What are you to do? (Lit: Pfffft)
Nonte arabiali Calm down
Latvian  
Ja Yes
Ne No
Sveiki Hello
Loodzu Please
Loodzu Rekinu The bill please
Pri-eka Cheers
Lithuanian  
Achoo Thank you
At-see-pra-sure Sorry
Ee-zvee-catta Cheers
Polish  
Yeden One
Yesh-chay-ras Another
Yesh-chay-yeden One more
Na-droo-gee Next one
Shay-prashum Sorry
Prom-in-te Excuse me
Chin-quayer Thank you
Wan-chige Sound Speed (lit: Connected)
Yestem zhvenc-coftem I am soundman
Uganda Luo dialect (Gulu region)  
A tia Ma-Tek I am a Sound Engineer
E ree mah-beh Hello everyone
E tia ma-beh? Are you well?
E tia ma-beh I am well
Tee Mah Que cha Excuse me/sorry
Beytam Don’t worry about it
A foy-oh Thank you
A foy-oh mah-tek Thank you very much
Dirka meat meat moh This food is very nice
Wa-goy Cheers
Kel beer moh kenneh Bring another beer
Kel beer a rio moh kenneh Bring 2 more beers
Spainish
Y soy a Sonido I am a Soundman
PerMiso Excuse me
Por favor Please
Pweydoh grabbaar lowkey estass atheeEndoh? Can I record what you’re doing?
Una mas One more
Swahili
Me-me Ne-na Foondi wah sah-ooti I am a sound Engineer
Mambo Hello
SaWah OK
Nzuri Good
Nzuri sana Very Good
Mbye-ya Bad
Asan-te Thank you
Tafad-hali Please
Kwah helli Goodbye
Tu-enDeh Let’s go
Na-Taka… I want…
Si-Taka… I don’t want…
Hee it/that
Wali Rice
Nyama Meat/Beef
Kuku Chicken
Duvi Prawns
Maji Water
Koowah Big
Maji Koowah Big bottle of water
Nyen-geni Another one
Tamashek (Saharan Toureg)
This was learned in Mali during my first foreign doc.  My bad French got me by mostly but we spent a month following the Toureg band Tinawrien to the Festival in the Desert.  We spent a week in Timbuktu and was disappointed not to find the Mr.Men there.
Ta-rel-ad-zhet Hello, how are you?
Al-ha-Rass Fine thank you
My-Zjahn Are you well?
My-zjahn I’m fine (like ca va)
Iss seermin… My name is…
Nuk-ug-a-leah We’re going
Ag Far-hed amun Give me water
Ear ziden The food is good
Tin sid darell herr Good night
Akka-lie-he! Watch out!
Daz-adum Scorpion
Eela bass-en He is a bad man
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