Ticino: Italian Language & Life
Emergency Language Hacks:
What do you do when you are in a situation where you need to speak the local language, but you do not????
This topic recently came up in our Italian Language & Life course. In our class, we focus primarily on acquiring conversational Italian. Naturally, there is an emphasis on Italian grammar as it presents itself in the transcripts. However, the need to communicate is paramount as families integrate themselves into a new culture. This becomes apparent, especially in an emergency or upon the request for medical information.
For example, a doctor's office visit: You are trying to communicate important medical facts and information that could impact your health or that of your loved ones. However, the administrative assistant needs to speak your language. What do you do? Try google translate or DeepL for starters. Naturally, this is easier on an iPad or laptop. However, it can also work on your phone if you are in the office. You're set to go by downloading the app on your phone. With the app, you can take a picture of the document (if it is on paper or another device) and select the text you want to translate, and in a matter of seconds, it will translate for you. If the document is directly on your phone, copy and paste the text and put it in the translator.
If you are at home, you can translate the content into your language and search google translate or DeepL on your browser to do the work for you. Naturally, you will receive the answer in Italian (in Ticino). First, however, you can translate the content into your native language. This process will take more time, but it is effective for setting up medical records. Be sure to ask for a pdf of the required medical forms, so you can copy and paste those into google translate or DeepL to be aware of what is being asked of you before going to the doctor's office. If you regularly take prescription drugs, make sure you at least know how to say their names in French or German. Do you need a medical alert bracelet? If so, be sure to wear it. You can keep track of medicine by taking a picture with your phone and keeping it in your phone photo album.
In an emergency medical situation, you should rely on the app to translate from your phone your information into the target language. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance in your native language or ask the nurses or doctors if someone in the hospital speaks your language. You can also ask them to use their translators for vital information.
Emergency numbers Switzerland:
Emergency number Switzerland Europe: 112. 112 works from any mobile phone ANYWHERE in the world.
Fire service: 118
Swiss helpline: 0800 247 365 or 584 653 333 for consular services.
Inquiries about Switzerland: 1811
International Operator: 1141
National operator for cellular phones: 1144
Austrian inquiries: 1151
Italian inquiries: 1154
International inquiries for other countries:1159