Overcoming language barriers is one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face when traveling to another country. It may seem as if knowing how to speak English is enough, but truth be told, 80% of the world population can’t speak the English language. But worry not, we’ll give you some language barrier solutions to prepare you for your next trip!
Overcoming Language Barriers: Tips When Going Abroad
1. Learn the Basics
Pack your bags, book your hotel, check your itinerary – these things are sure to be on your to-do list right before a vacation. But if you’re going on a trip to a country that speaks a different language, you should add learning basic phrases to your list.
You don’t have to take lessons and all that. Just research on simple phrases you feel you’d need to use such as “where is the toilet,” “how do I go to…”, or “thank you” and “please.”
2. Download a Language App
I totally recommend trying this app out if ur looking to learn a bit of another language, it’s so helpful, it’s free, and it’s fun af pic.twitter.com/xBZ3mBQNqu
— tabbie (@_leeanng) August 25, 2017
Thanks to the power of smartphone applications, you can learn a new language while on the go! Language learning apps such as Duolingo can help you determine a language without disrupting your day-to-day activities.
You can do it every day while you’re on the road, or even during your flight! So there’s no excuse not to try overcoming language barriers and learn a few phrases before you go on your trip.
3. Use Google Translate
At the passport office getting Isla a Chinese passport so she can travel in country to Guangzhou. Google Translate is so nice to have pic.twitter.com/epzs8bi2iI
— TeamIsla (@r0adrunnr) November 14, 2017
For times when it’s difficult to express what you want to say to the locals because it uses words beyond the basics, there’s always Google Translate.
Sure, it won’t give the exact translation of what you’re trying to say, but its interpretation comes close enough for the person to have an idea of what you’re asking or what you’re talking about. If it feels awkward to say the phrases out loud, you can just show your phone to the person you’re talking to.
4. Carry a Notebook and a Pen
We, often, underestimate the traditional notebook and pen since we already have smartphones to take our notes down. But what happens when the phone’s battery drains?
To avoid the feeling of hopelessness when your smartphone lets you down, always bring a notebook and pen with you. This way, it can help in overcoming language barriers, especially when you have to tell a cab driver where to go or ask locals for directions.
5. Use Pictures
When it becomes too complicated to express with words, use pictures! Take screenshots of important landmarks you want to ask about, so you don’t have to rely on data or wifi. You can also use images of food you’re allergic to, so you can communicate it with ease to the restaurant staff.
For more tips on how to overcome language barrier while traveling, check out these tips from Gamelia Johnson:
While being in a completely different place with an unfamiliar culture and language may seem scary, it can also be a lot of fun! It can open your eyes to a fresh new perspective and teach you things you wouldn’t have known if you stayed in your comfort zone. So double check your things to bring and practice the basic phrases that can help you communicate in a foreign land.
Do you have an upcoming vacation abroad? Where to? Let us know in the comments!