Se habla Espanol? Polska? Italiano?

I’ve taken a substitute Librarian gig at a local library with a large Spanish speaking population.  You know what I didn’t learn in Library School?  How to say “You can only have five videos at a time” in Spanish.  It would come in handy.

I’m wondering if there is a resource librarians can go to if they are on desk and someone who doesn’t speak English comes in?  It’s great if you have a native speaker on staff, but let’s face it, we are an increasingly globalized culture and our patrons reflect that.  There’s no way we can be prepared to face every possible language that can come in on any given day.  Is there a place where librarians can go and choose a language and then select common library phrases or terms to use?

Babelfish and other services don’t always translate quiet right, and it would be nice to have a resource like that on hand.  I might just make it if no suggestions come up…


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