Communication breakdown

By Rune Fich Weischer 

Travelling hunters know this problem only too well. Communication is proving to be awkward and you can’t understand what your hunting guide is saying. To put it simply, you are not speaking the same language. 

This can be a huge challenge if you are on a long tour in, for example, central Asia or Russia, where you can end up spending weeks with one or more guides whose language you can’t understand. But it can also cause confusion, and in the worst case scenario, expensive or even down-right dangerous misunderstandings on a short hunt in Poland, Hungary, or for that matter even in France or Spain. Therefore your travel agency will usually make sure that an interpreter is at hand when the major details of the hunt are being explained, so that the visiting hunters clearly understand the major guidelines they should follow. But when it comes down to explaining and understanding the smaller details, that can be a completely different story….


Speaking without using words…. 

Time and time again I am surprised by how well you can communicate with your guides, even though you don’t share a language. After you have been together for a week or more, you often begin to be able to have short conversations, where both parties can more or less understand what the other is trying to say. You start by learning a few words from each other’s language and then slowly begin being able to use them, slowly building up a way of communicating with each other. 

Of course there is no time to establish a reliable way of communication when you are hunting with your Polish or French guide, who only speaks his own language, for a few days and only spend a few hours stalking together in the early morning and evening. Here a breakdown in communication can easily result, for example, in a missed opportunity to shoot, and frustrations on both sides can quickly arise. However this can easily be avoided.



Personally speaking, a few years ago I began to start looking into the language a little while before travelling to a country where  I don’t speak the native tongue  and English is only spoken to a limited extent. 

Of course you can’t learn a new language every time you re going to travel abroad, but I have come up with a list of 11 words that I know I will use during the hunt, and always learn them in a new language at home before leaving for the hunt. It is quite simple, but with these 11 words you can have some astonishing detailed “conversations” before and during, all helped along the way with hand gestures and facial expressions. 

11 words that are useful to learn before a hunting tour  

Please  Shoot?
Thank you The name of the game animal you are hunting
Yes  No
Big Small
Hunter    Look

A digital solution 

As we are all now living in the digital age, it is of course possible to find a digital solution to this problem. I have come across a phone App called “Speak & Translate”, of course there are many other Apps that will do the same, but it just happens that “Speak & Translate” is the one I have experience with using. The App works in a very simple way. You speak into your phone using short, simple sentences, the App will them write what you have said on the screen, in your own language at the top of the screen (so you can check the phone understood what you said correctly) and in the language you have chosen at the bottom of the screen, which you can then show to your guide. In this way you can get a quick answer to your questions. However it can be difficult to mess around with a mobile phone during the hunt, you will make noise when talking to the phone, and if you are hunting at night, you can destroy any night vision you have built up when looking at the illuminated screen. On top of this is the question of always having your phone fully charged, or even of having a phone signal. Here the method of learning the 12 words has a clear advantage, you always have them “at hand” and they can be used quickly whenever you need them, without resorting to an electronic devices that can make things more difficult.

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