I can totally understand how hard and sometimes frustrating it can be when you are in a foreign country and can’t find anyone who shares a language with you. Especially in specific occasions such as asking something as simple as where is a hotel, where you can find a taxi or where is a famous landmark or restaurant. This is why we have put together some Farsi tips on how to ask for directions.
English to Farsi: Tips on how to ask for directions in the Persian language
Farsi language is spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and by minority groups of few other countries, so it wouldn’t hurt to learn some Farsi phrases and Persian words if you are thinking about traveling to any of these countries.
When we arrive in a new country, one of the first things we do is to seek local’s help to get by and around. Knowing how to do it in the local language makes life much easier. We can’t possibly know every single language, and this should not prevent us from traveling to far-flung destinations. But since Iran is now high on many travelers’ list, we thought some tips in Farsi language are going to be useful for many.
These tips on how to ask for directions in Farsi don’t cover all sorts of information and addresses, but it will help you get from location A to location B. However, to feel more confident and with a bit of more complete glossary, we encourage you to get an English to Farsi dictionary that can help you with basic words and phrases.
Click here to see some offers on handy Farsi (Persian) Phrasebook & Dictionary, English-Persian Dictionary or a Farsi (Persian) for Beginners course to familiarize yourself a little with the language.
Persian pronunciation is very soft, and here, along with the written Farsi, I will include also the translation English to Farsi and the phonetic transcription.
First of all some greetings.
Hello in Farsi is Salam. Greetings in Farsi depend on the time of the day, so you start off by saying Salam and then use one of the below Persian expressions.
“Good morning” in Farsi is sob bekheir.
“Good afternoon” in Farsi is zohr bekheir.
“Good evening” in Farsi is aser bekheir.
“Good night” in Farsi is shab bekheir.
If you want to say “thank you”, you can say mamnoon, kheily mamnoon (thank you very much), or motschakeram.
When you reach out to another person, especially if we are in a foreign country and are hoping to get help, we always use polite expressions. This applies particularly to Iranians as they cherish overly good manners and ceremonial politeness rituals, best known as taarof.
To attract attention and approach someone in Iran, you would say in Farsi:
- Excuse me, could you help me, please?
ببخشید, میتوانید به من کمک کنید لطفا؟
Bebakhshid, mitawanid be man komak konid lotfan?
- I would like to go to the Italian Embassy.
من میخواهم به سفارت ایتالیا بروم.
Man mikhaham be sefarat Italia berewam.
If you are unsure on the way to, say, Azadi Square, you can say
- Is this the right way/path/direction to Azadi square?
آیا این مسیر درست است به به میدان آزادی؟
Aya in massir dorost ast be maydan Azadi?
To generally inquire about how to get to any place, here are some Farsi phrases you can use.
- How can I get there?
چطور می توانم بروم آنجا؟
Chetor mitawanam berawam anja?
- Is it too far? Can I walk or I should go with vehicles?
آیا خیلی از اینجا دور است؟ آیا می توانم پیاده بروم یا باید با وسیله نقلیه بروم؟
Aya kheily az enja door ast? Aya mitawanam peyade berawam ya bayad ba wasileh naqliah berawam?
- Where is the closest metro/bus station?
نزدیک ترین ایستگاه اتوبوس/مترو کجا است؟
Nazdik tarin eestgah autoboos/metero kojast?
- Which line of metro/bus should I take?
کدام خط مترو/اتوبوس را باید انتخاب کنم؟
Kodam khate metero/autoboos ra bayad entekhab konam?
It wouldn’t hurt to learn some of the most frequently used Farsi adverbs. They will help you understand the directions a Farsi speaker will give you.
Right = rast (راست)
Right hand side = samt rast (سمت راست)
Left = chap (چپ)
Left hand side = samt chap (سمت چپ)
Straight ahead = mostaqim (مستقیم)
Next to = kenar (کنار)
Between = beyn (بین)
Near/close = nazdik (نزدیک)
Nearest/closest = nazdik tarin (نزدیک تریم)
To start the conversation and draw a bit of attention you may say “Excuse me?” Bebakhshid? (ببخشید؟), and then briefly introduce yourself to prepare your interlocutor. Here are some sentences English to Farsi on how to do that.
I’m not from Iran.
من ایرانی نیستم.
Man Irani nistam.
I can’t speak Farsi.
من نمی توانم فارسی صحبت کنم.
Man nemitawanam Farsi sohbat konam.
من ایتالیای هستم.
Man Italiaee hastam.
Change the word Italiaee with your nationality. For example, German = Almani, English = Englisi, American = Amricayee, Indian = Hindi, French = Fransavi, Brazilian = Brezili.
For some more direction inquiries, you can say in Persian language:
Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to the Azadi Hotel?
ببخشید. می توانید به من بگویید که چطوری به هتل آزادی بروم
Bebakhshid, mitewanid be man begoeed ke chetori be hotel Azadi beravam?
Sure. Itʼs not far from here. Walk straight ahead until you get to main street.
.البته. خیلی از اینجا دور نیست. مستقیم برو تا زمانی که به خیابان اصلی برسی
Albate, kheily az enja door neest. Mostaqim boro ta zamani ke be kheiaban asli beresi.
Which side of the street is it on?
کدام سمت خیابان است؟
Kodam Samt kheiaban ast?
Going from this direction, it will be on your right side.
اگر از این طرف بروی، سمت راست تو خواهد بود
Agar az een taraf beravid, samt rast to kha had bood.
Thanks a lot.
خواهش می کنم
If you take a taxi, you will need to tell the driver where to take you and in case, where to drop you. Let’s say you are going to Enghelab Square. Some of the Persian phrases you would say can be:
Can you please take me to Enghelab Square?
میتوانید لطفا من را به میدان انقلاب ببرید؟
Mitavanid lotfan man ra be Meidan Enghelab bebarid?
Then, obviously, you will start bargaining with the taxi driver, they all do. Here is the translation English to Farsi of how you can start the conversation:
How much is the fare to Enghelab Square?
کرایه شما چند میشه تا میدان انقلاب؟
Kerayeh taxi shoma chand misha ta Meidan Enghelab?
English to Farsi translation of what the taxi driver might say. It will sound something like:
Private, 10,000 tomans (1 rial=10 tomans, so 10,000 tomans are 100,000 rials. In Iran they always speak in toman)
دربست, 10,000 تومان
Darbast, 10,000 (dah hezar) toman.
In Iran, you can either get a taxi exclusive for yourself or shared. Price vary, usually, on a shared taxi you pay some 10,000/20,000 rials per person.
At the end of the day when you are ready to head to your hotel, you can say:
I’m too tired and I’m going to the hotel.
من خیلی خسته هستم و میروم به هتل.
Man kheily khaste hastam wa mirawam be hotel.
At least for your hotel, since it’s something you will need more often, I suggest you have the address written on a piece of paper (in Persian) to show it to the taxi driver or anyone you are asking for info and the reception phone number.
Now, let’s say you are lost in the metro or, worse, at a big bazaar, and you don’t know how to get to your hotel. If you can’t find a cab or don’t feel confident in bargaining the fare by yourself, call your hotel and ask them to send you a taxi. For this, you will need exact coordinates and address of where you are. In the Persian language, you can say:
Excuse me, what is the name of this place?
ببخشید، نام این محل چی است؟
Bebakhshid, nome in mahal chee ast?
Excuse me, what is the name of this street?
ببخشید، نام این خیابان چی است؟
Bebakhshid, nome een kheyaban chee ast?
Excuse me, can you give the address to the person on the phone?
ببخشید، می توانید آدرس اینجا را به فرد پشت تلفن بدهید؟
Bebakhshid, mitavanid address-e inja ra be fardeh poshte telefon bedahid?
Last but not least, “goodbye” in Farsi is khoda hafez, God protect you.
In Iran, you will find people speaking English in the areas that are more popular with tourists, otherwise, among shopkeepers or taxi drivers, English is seldom spoken.
Like always, the way you approach people with a question can reflect on the answer you are given. Iranians are very friendly and like to chat. They are also very proud of their country and will very likely ask you if you like Iran. I’m sure you will, so here is what you can say:
I like Iran.
من ایران را دوست دارم
Man Iran ra doost daram.