We’ve all had that moment, haven’t we? That moment when you’re in another country, you don’t speak the language, and suddenly realise you don’t know which loo is the men’s and which is the women’s. Do you guess, and risk getting it wrong? Or do you just cross your legs and convince yourself you didn’t really need to go anyway?
This happened to me several years ago, and it’s still one of my favourite stories (I’ve got a story for every occasion, as anyone at EuroTalk will tell you) – but it came to be the inspiration for a tool that’s helped millions of people learn a language over the past 20 years.
In the pioneer days of EuroTalk I was travelling to Budapest with my business partner Andrew for a meeting. Our plane landed 40 minutes early, so we had nothing to do but sit in the deserted airport and wait for someone to come and get us. During this wait, I went off to use the facilities, but realised when I got there that I had no idea from looking at the Hungarian signs which toilet was for men and which one was for women. After 20 minutes of waiting with crossed legs, I finally resorted to tossing a coin to decide which one I should use. Fortunately, it worked!
But the incident made me realise how important it is to help people make more informed decisions in other languages. That’s why we made toilet talk – or at least the information about how to ask correctly for male and female toilets – an essential part of our Talk Now product and we now give the words for male and female toilets away for free in 120+ languages through our uTalk app. So you’ll never get caught short, wherever you are.