We are often quick to believe that English is commonly spoken in most parts of the world but isn’t the case. Travellers are often surprised to find that there are many places where English isn’t spoken or even understood. In such moments, it becomes important to have a way to communicate and overcome the language barrier.
Here are 5 important tips that can help you in overcoming the language difficulty while travelling abroad.
Tip 1- Learn a Few Important Phrases in the Local Language
Learning a few important phrases such as “hello”, “yes”, “no”, “thank you”, “sorry”, “how are you doing?” and “where is the restroom?” in the local language comes in handy. This will show the locals that you are trying to embrace their culture and will also make the locals more willing to help you. Using a couple of phrases in the local language will enhance your travelling experience and also help you in earning the respect of the locals.
Tip 2- Use Technology
One of the good things about having our worlds so intricately connected by technology is that you can now use this technology to help you with communicating with someone who doesn’t know English. Digital tools like Google Translate, Voice Translator, iTranslate, etc. can help you in understanding the local language. These digital tools may not be able to give you perfect results but they will get your job done.
Tip 3- Speak clearly and slowly
If you come across someone who speaks or understands English, always make sure that you speak clearly and slowly using simple and basic English words from your vocabulary. Refrain from using slangs and don’t speak in a louder voice in an attempt to make the person understand what you are saying.
Tip 4- Go back to Old-School Ways
We tend to rely on technology overtly in our routine life but there is always a risk of technology failing you. In such a scenario, it is necessary to have pen and paper with you. You can use them to note down important names and addresses but also use them to draw an image or a rough map to show it to the locals if you are not able to pronounce the names. Another handy thing to keep with you while travelling is a dictionary of the local language. If you know the basics of the local language, a dictionary can help you to improve your vocabulary. You can also use the dictionary to understand the local words while visiting the tourist spots.
Tip 5- Use Body Language and Gestures
A big part of communication is in the body language and the gestures that we use. Hand gestures and miming both works well to get your point across to the other person. Don’t be embarrassed of flapping your arms or pointing; instead, make a fun game out of it while trying to communicate with the other person. This will not only help you to get your point across but will also put the other person at ease and more willing to help you. While using gestures, do not forget to display etiquette and courtesy as courtesy can always help in diffusing tense situations.
Travelling is the best way to gain experience. Don’t let the fear of not speaking the language or the fear of making a mistake while speaking a language hold you back from gaining beautiful experiences.
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