- Education and Science
How to Ask for the Toilet in Several Foreign Languages
Bathroom or Toilet?
I traveled to England with a friend several years ago. It was her first visit outside the United States. I had been to England a number of times. We had rented a self-catering service flat—a small apartment with cooking facilities and some maid service. We were in the middle of checking in and signing some papers when my friend Joanne needed to use a restroom.
Joanne interrupted the building manager and asked “Where is the bathroom?” The building manager had a look of horror on her face, which caused Joanne to have a look of puzzlement on hers. I found myself serving as an interpreter, translating American English and British English. In the middle of our renting the apartment (flat), my friend had asked where the room in which one took a bath was located.
To clarify what had happened…
In the United Kingdom (UK), there are usually two separate rooms—one room contains the bathtub and sometimes a shower, and a second room contains the toilet. In the United States (US), the bathtub, shower, sink, and toilet are almost always in the same room, although many homes have an additional room with just a sink and toilet in it.
I have traveled to more than 30 countries, island nations, and island dependencies. One phrase I find essential to know when traveling is “Where is the toilet?” or “Where are the ‘facilities’?” or “Where is the ladies room?” or “Where is the restroom?” or "Where is the lavatory?" or—when I want to get the dirt and dust and grime of traveling off me—“Where is the bathroom?”
How to Ask for the Location of the Toilet
Where is the toilet?
I have compiled a list of ways in which one can ask in several foreign languages for the location of the toilet when traveling. If you have any translations to add to my list, please post them in the Comments section. Thank you.
Where's the loo?
On és el lavabo? *or* On són els serveis?
Cèsuo zài nali?
Gdje se nalazi WC? (phonetically pronounced "Gdyeh seh NAH-lah-zee VEH-TSEH")
Kde je zachod? (phonetically pronounced "Gde ye zaakhot")
Var ar toaaletten? (phonetically pronounced Vahr ay twa-LETT-en)
Waar is het toilet? (phonetically pronounced WAHR is hut twah-LET)
Missä on vessa? (phonetically pronounced "MEES-sa ohn VEHS-sah")
Où sont les toilettes? (phonetically pronounced "OOH sohng lay twa-LEHT")
Wo ist die Toilette? (phonetically pronounced "voh ist dee twak-LET-uh")
(phonetically pronounced "poo EE-ne ee too-ah-LEH-tah")
Hol van a mosdó? (phonetically pronounced "hol vån å MOSH-doa")
Dov'è il bagno? (phonetically pronounced "doh-VEH eel BAH-nyoh")
Dimana Toiletnya? (phonetically pronounced "DEE muh-nuh TOY-leht-nyuh")
Hvor er toalettet? (phonetically pronounced "Vor ær toa-lett-et")
Gdzie jest toaleta? (phonetically pronounced "g-jeh yest twa-leta")
Onde é o banheiro?
(phonetically pronounced in Rio de Janeiro "OND-je eh o bahn-YAIR-row")
(phonetically pronounced everywhere in Brazil except Rio de Janeiro "OND-de eh o bahn-YAIR-row")
Onde é a casa-de-banho? (phonetically pronounced "OND eh a KAH-sah de BAH-nyoo"
Dónde está el baño? (phonetically pronounced "DOHN-deh ehss-TAH ehl BAH-nyoh")
Var är toaletten? (phonetically pronounced "Vahr ay twa-LETT-en")
Tuvalet nerede? (phonetically pronounced "Too va let ner eh de")
Many thanks to my readers who were kind enough to provide me with additional translations of Where is the toilet? Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
Mohan Kumar (Docmo), who was born in Tamil Nadu, India, submitted these Tamil translations. Tamil is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Toilet Enge ullathu?
Podhu kalipperai Enge ullathu?
American English Slang
Linda Bilyeu (Sunshine625) has contributed Where's the can, man? to the list of translations.
quicksand has provided the following Thai translations.
Horng Naam Yoo Tee Nai?
You add Khrap at the end if you are a male addressing any gender, and Kha at the end if you are a female addressing any gender.
Kymberly Fergussen (nifwlseirff) from Leipzig, Germany has provided Japanese phonetic translations.
The simplest translation is Toire wa doko desu ka?
A more polite translation is Otearai wa doko desu ka?
(The 'o' makes 'teari' more polite.)
Miss Mimi has provided Where's the washroom? as what one says in Canadian English.
James (Jimmy the Jock) Paterson has provided four Scottish English versions of this important question.
- Where's the the bog?
- Where's the cludgie?
- Where's the crapper?
- Where's the pee hoose (house)?
Thelma Alberts submitted two translations in Tagalog, the the Philippine language.
Saan ang inidoro? ... Where is the toilet?
Saan ang kasilyas? ... Where is the restroom?