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Oops! How To Say You’re Sorry in 12 Languages

Being a tourist has its benefits. You get to see and do things you might never have imagined. You wine and dine on some of the best cuisines in the world. And then again, being a traveler can have its downfalls, like when you offend someone in another language and have no idea how to apologize. To avoid offending those as you travel or to make up for a mistake, here’s how to properly say, “I’m sorry” in 12 different languages. Manners can go a long way in any language.

Italian: Should you offend an Italian, be sure to utter, “Mi dispiace,” or “Scusi.”

Spanish: If you need to apologize in Spanish, say, “Lo siento.”

French: In French, you can say, “Pardon,” or “Je suis désolé.”

German: When you don’t want to offend a German, blurt out, “Es tut mir Leid.”

Icelandic: To avoid things getting icy with an Icelander, say, “Fyrirgefðu.”

Japanese: While there are many different ways to say I’m sorry in Japanese, one of the most common words is “Sumimasen.”

Portuguese: To apologize in Portuguese, say,  “Es sinto muito.” To utter more of a phrase like, “Excuse me,” say, “Desculpe.”

Dutch: If you went Dutch on the bill and you weren’t supposed to, say, “Het spijt me.”

Chinese: Just like with Japanese, there are many ways to say, “I’m sorry.” One of the most common phrases used for an apology is “Duí bu qǐ.”

Greek: To avoid offending the Greeks, say, “Signómi.”

Finnish: To apologize in Finnish, be sure to say, “Anteeksi.”

Polish: Should you make a mistake in Poland, say, “Przepraszam.”


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