How to deal with the language barrier abroad

How to deal with the language barrier abroad


Imagine being amidst a sea of humanity, but being unable to communicate with anyone. Few things induce more fear in would-be travellers than this.

Once they get past irrational worries about crime, language barriers are the next hurdle to clear. Fortunately, there are constructive steps one can take to alleviate this issue.

In today’s blog, we’ll share five tips that will allow you to smash through this fear.  

(1) Use A Language Translator

Technology is a beautiful thing. Thanks to dramatic enhancements in computing technology, gadgets exist that can bridge language gaps in an instant.

Devices like the Travis Touch Go use top-of-the-line mics to record conversation. Then, they reproduce what you/they said in the target language. Accuracy has improved dramatically over the 2010s, allowing you to be understood clearer than ever.

Multiple devices on the market can accommodate any budget. To get a better idea of what is out there, check out these language translator device reviews.

(2) Improve Your Language Skills With A Learning App

As convenient as pocket translators can be, it can be awkward to rely on them regularly. If you want to make genuine connections with locals, you need to learn their language.

Downloading a language learning app like Duolingo can be an easy and cheap way to do this. Well-structured lessons, when done daily, can speed up comprehension. Don’t forget to do your lessons, though. If you’ve seen the memes, you know what happens if you don’t!

(3) Take Local Lessons

As impressive as language-learning apps are for quick, easy gains, there’s no replacement for conversational lessons. Soon after arriving at your destination abroad, sign up for regular, in-person lessons with a local.

By conversing with an actual person, you’ll quickly pick up everyday expressions, colloquialisms, and local slang. They’ll also correct common mistakes you’re making, and best of all, provide a social component to your learning.  

(4) Attempt To Translate Signs

Just like at home, your destination will be full of signs in the local language. A great way to continue breaking down the linguistic wall is forcing yourself to translate them.

Some cues make this task easy. For example, the word arret on a red octagonal sign at intersections likely means “stop.” Learn the different words for food by heading into a supermarket. Within 30 minutes, you’ll know how to say tomatoes, pork, chocolate, etc. in the local language.

Up the ante by buying a local newspaper. As you learn more words, you’ll often learn others by their context in various sentences. What’s more, you’ll learn about current events in your destinations, which will give you something to talk to residents about. 

(5) Get A Traveller’s Picture Book

What if you aren’t in a destination for long, or the language is too tough? At the end of the day, it’s essential to enjoy your travels. Regardless, you may still end up in situations where language barriers could prove problematic.

When you need to be understood, nothing gets the message across like a picture book. Seated in a restaurant with no English menu? Point at a picture of a cooked chicken if you want chicken. Need to go to the bathroom – and fast? Point at a toilet, and someone will show you where it’s at.

The post How to deal with the language barrier abroad appeared first on Pommie Travels.



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