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Writing in Foreign Languages

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Lux's picture
Writing in Foreign Languages

Do any of you write to your PP's in a language other than English?

One of my PP's and I write in Polish (which is amazing) since I miss it so much. Another PP and I have written in some Hebrew.

What about the rest of you? :)

Edited by: Lux on Nov 22 2012 - 11:35pm Reason: Imported from old database.
Franconia's picture

Yeah Bbayer I wondered about that too some prisons obviously don't care and have no control about the content? I have one pp who says he wants to learn another language but it's definitely not allowed to send him anything other than english and he said the mail in foreign languages never gets through. (?) I haven't tried it yet though.

Apart from that I have often written in Spanish with pps in several states and with one also a little in German because he wanted to learn it.

Franconia's picture

My pp's gran is from Germany and he told me he'd love to learn that language. This means I might help him out a little (with my slightly rusty German skills)

Just in case you won't remember everything in German.. :teacher: :)

Maybe, if you wrote your letter in both languages with "Translation" written across the top they would allow it.

Yep maybe, I also thought of sending those tourist leaflets that are in several languages at the same time, as it's obviously not written by me the staff may let it go through.

queenbella's picture

One of my guys is learning Spanish so we often go all Spanish in the letters. And another one of my guys wants to learn Dutch so sometimes I write him entire letters in dutch. I bought him an english-Dutch dictionary. He's making real progress. Another one wants to learn French. My brother teaches French so he gives me coursework to send to him. And we also write in french sometimes. Its really fun. And so far no problem with the prison regarding the different language thing.

Moonlampje's picture

I tend to write dutch to J because he's learning dutch.

Silas Sydenham
Silas Sydenham's picture

One would have thought that the need to write only in English or Spanish would have been repealed. Given that the authorities need only to scan the page and use google translate or wikitranslate to turn it into any other language.

Twenty years ago I wrote to an USA captive penpal almost exclusively in niugini pidgen, and our letters, back-and-forth, always got through. Now in the post 911 world, the threat of terrorism has been used as an excuse to limit prisoners' rights.

Having said that, a couple of my current penpals write in USA street-talk dialect so thick that I can hardly understand it.

bbayer88's picture

I thought you couldn't write in foreign languages, only english and maybe spanish. How does the prison check the letters?

bbayer88's picture

I'm really surprised to hear that the prisons don't mind the foreign languages. I mean, what's all this about them reading the letters?! They certainly aren't reading the foreign languages other than perhaps Spanish and even that would be surprising. So, this makes me think that the whole stink about content is really not very big. Or is this because of the particular people you're writing to and would they even know the person, I mean, the people reading the letters, supposedly reading the letters? Are they perhaps only looking for enclosures? Well, then, I will get my penpals to study Japanese! Hahaha. I actually did write my cats' names in Chinese characters and was worried they wouldn't get through because some dud in Texas would think they were a code. Well.....I don't know yet if they did get through or not.

bbayer88's picture

Well, Franconia, I guess you could always try. It shouldn't hurt, right? I mean, your penpal wouldn't get hurt or penalized if they think you're writing code.
I had a friend arrested here and I visited him when he was being detained (nearly same as jail). He was a Brit, but they wouldn't let us talk to each other in English because they wouldn't understand us. We had to talk to each other in Japanese. Thankfully, his Japanese wasn't bad and mine is very good, but it was stupid. Also, they allowed English books but ONLY if they had Japanese translations on the other side (you know, those dual-language books.)
Maybe, if you wrote your letter in both languages with "Translation" written across the top they would allow it. Then try just whatever non-English language alone. The way I figure it, a lot of people working in prisons probably can't understand proper English anyhow, at least not a vocabulary over say....3rd year elementary school, so maybe this whole "reading" thing is a lot of bull. :rollinglaugh: (and I'm NOT talking about people for whom English is a second language...)

bbayer88's picture

hahahaha, Silas, that's funny about the street-talk! As for Google translate or any of the translation software, I don't think that would help much at all to use. You can't really understand what is being said and it may even make it look more suspicious. That said, I suppose you could tell if it was outright wild stuff, but then, what would that show. It's the stuff they can't figure is code which will be code. Heck, my normal writing when I get hyped on caffeine would probably set off alarms anyhow. Yeah, I'm starting to think it's totally, totally arbitrary. Sounds like most of the prison system...much of the United States...what was that word again.....ah.... "justice?" And then there's "equality" and "freedom"...those wonderful all-American words that grace the stamps of the U.S. Post Office on my letters coming over. hoohah!

bbayer88's picture

Thanks, Lux, do you think the guidelines will state what level of vocabulary I should use? :rollinglaugh: It would seem to be to be about the same as a foreign language. You look up a word if you don't know it. (I admit Japanese would be hard, as this case was.) Just prison staff is certainly more likely to be proud of their ignorance when it's a language other than English. Good thing is, they wouldn't admit not knowing a word that is English, so anything would get through. Which to me means it's basically discriminatory however you look at it. Mentality of the ignorant, don't ask, don't learn, just believe you're right.

inurface's picture

in polish?? lol i wish... my pp told me i must be crazy cause i was learning how to speak polish! x)

Lux's picture

I asked each pen pal before hand if they wanted to communicate in a language other than English. I also checked each prisons website to see if there are restrictions on languages. The US prison system can not limit a prisoners ability to communicate in another language as a whole, only individual prisons can set the standard for communications in foreign languages, so you just have to look up the incoming mail guidelines for the facility your pen pal is in.

Linny's picture

I'm a bit surprised that languages other than English and Spanish are allowed but it's a nice surprise. My pp's gran is from Germany and he told me he'd love to learn that language. This means I might help him out a little (with my slightly rusty German skills) if that's allowed. Nice!

Busiqufr's picture

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Varishe's picture

Thank you very much for sharing the information.

BigBoss32's picture

I usually write in English, but I also use Italian. I used to study Italian in Sanremo in the Italian language school I was taught how to use grammar, apeak and write and I think it was quite useful for me. 

Jackmorthimer's picture

An Internet translator helped me write letters in a foreign language. Yes, the conversation is primitive, but the basic ideas of the proposals are clear. Previously, I used a translator for everything - even when I wrote term paper. It turned out that this is not very good for paper quality. I had to turn to prosessional writing service for help. I had to read the term paper writing service reviews to find the best writer for my paper. Finding them was not easy and I had to read a few reviews. Reviews helped me a lot in this.

Northernyank's picture

I wrote to my husband once in Spanish. He doesn't speak it, so he had to have it translated. He told me afterwards the guy that read it to him, had a hard time making eye contact with him when he was finished. lol

henryallen's picture

I've recently started writing in Spanish. Started learning it a year ago, sometimes used the help of service (quite a useful option, by the way). I'm now trying to improve writing skills, so I'm not gonna stop.