Today we welcome a guest post from Rafia Irfan who will provide 10 tips for overcoming language issues while traveling abroad.
Communication is a vital aspect to consider when you take an international gap or travel for studying abroad. English is an internationally known language, but still, it’s not spoken on every part of the world. Overcoming language barriers is the primary challenge faced by travelers now and then.
How do you expect to grow your brand or communicate with your team members or service in the new land if you aren’t aware of the language spoken in the country you are traveling?
The modern technology has made us smart enough to remain in touch with our friends and family while traveling but have you thought about managing trips to abroad where locals might not speak your language. Learning the local language will make your traveling abroad experience much more enjoyable. Consider the following tips for overcoming language barriers in such cases.
1. Do Your Homework:
Before you set out for the trip, you should be aware of the official language of the country you are visiting. If you intend to go for a trip to a country that has more than one official language, and then make sure you are mindful of the primary language based on the town and cities you desire to visit.
For example, the Belgium country has three official languages which include French, German and Dutch. If you make a trip to the Bruges, you should know the Dutch language that is spoken there. However in the city of Brussels, French is the most commonly used language.
2. Learn Important Phrases of the Local Language:
Before the European Union was established, English wasn’t the most commonly spoken language in Europe. The people of that time used to learn some critical phrase like ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘thank you’ etc. to overcome language barriers to some extent.
No one can be an expert in all 7000+ languages spoken worldwide. However, understanding a few basic phrases of the local language will help you earn the respect of the locals and enhance your experience.
3. Speak Clearly and Slowly:
Talking too fast will make your listeners work too hard, and that’s what you intend not to do. Avoid mumbling, nervousness and listen to those who are good at speaking.
Luckily, if you find anyone who understands and speaks English, always speak using basic vocabulary in a calm tone. Don’t talk louder and never use slangs in an attempt to overcome the language barriers.
4. Make Use of Technology:
This hyper-connected world has brought many amazing comforts to us, and we can use digital tools to have everything on fingertips on our smartphones. Google Translate is a fantastic tool that can help you understand phrases and words in different languages. The main problem in this regard is that connectivity is sometimes nonexistent or unreliable in certain parts of the world.
World Lens is another impressive tool that allows you to take a picture of the printed words and then translate them into another language even without the need of internet connection.
5. Non-Verbal Communications:
Nonverbal communication can cause confusion and misunderstanding even if you have a basic understanding of the local language. This communication category includes various things like facial expressions, hand gestures and personal space that can vary from country to country.
The way of smile and how much we smile also makes a difference. In the US, a smile is a welcoming gesture which is used with everyone we meet while in Japan smiling all the time can cause a bit of confusion.
The Japanese don’t outwardly display their emotions as a smile sometimes conveys embarrassment or anger rather than friendliness.
Smiling at strangers in Russia is considered to be impolite as they smile only when they are happy or meet someone they know personally.
b. When Yes Means No:
Americans indicate yes when nodding their heads up while in Greece, Turkey and other nations nearby a single nod upwards refers to a ‘no.’
6. Use a Language Dictionary to Improve Your Vocabulary:
If you are super nervous with your freshly learned lingual skills, then do bring a dictionary with you on your trips. Although you can use apps for such a purpose, this small pocket dictionary would be much helpful for you if you have no internet connection.
For example, you are on a trip to a Dubai desert safari where finding an active internet connection is difficult then this pocket dictionary will help you to communicate with your mates.
7. Invest in Language Supplies:
Have you got into a situation where no phone service and wifi connection would work, and you forget your dictionary book too?
In such cases when you don’t have any way to communicate with people, then these language supplies would be much helpful. Make a habit of carrying a paper and a written utensil with you in case the need arises for you to write down an address that you can’t communicate with a taxi driver or tell your friend what kind of food you would love to have.
Pick the coolest stationery with you, so you don’t look like a reporter and keep it in your wallet.
8. Language School Overseas:
If you are pretty much serious about learning a foreign language, look into a program abroad that will help you speak to locals with ease and will feed your need for exploration.
Although learning a new language overnight is a difficult task, therefore, you can invest your money and time into immersion in the local culture while exploring the modern foreign language.
9. Leverage Local Friendship:
You can make friends with the locals and learn the language from them quite effectively. Step into the real learning use by comprehending and listening to normal speeds like this. Don’t hesitate and Speak to locals even if you aren’t entirely sure about using the right words and then ask them to correct you.
You will not only learn the language, but the locals will tell you about interacting with other people of that place like taxi drivers, peddlers, and shop owners. It is much fun showing them the cool English words that are similar to the language you learned and sharing the awkward direct translations with them.
Please don’t shy away from meeting new faces overseas as the locals will appreciate your leaning efforts and feel proud in sharing their culture with you.
10. Hire an Interpreter:
Find an interpreter whom you can trust and assign the tasks to prevent any issue in communication. You can take service of different tour companies to accompany you on your tours and enjoy the beautiful sights of the city without having an issue.
Many tour companies are known worldwide for their brilliant reviews, and if you are planning your trip to Dubai, then Happy adventures Tourism is a suitable option to go with.
You will develop a skill of thinking in a variety of ways by learning to overcome the language barriers. In this way, you won’t have any issue surviving in this beautiful place and can enjoy to the fullest. Don’t be shy and you need not embarrassed about not knowing the new language. Keep trying, and you will surely get better at it with the time.