Tips for overcoming the language barrier

Limiting your travel only to countries where you know the language puts a dampener on your fun. On the other hand, it’s not always easy to navigate cultures when you can’t speak a word. Here are a few tips to help you overcome the language barrier.

Learn a few phrases

Knowing how to ask for the bathroom, along with saying “thank you,” “please,” ­“excuse me” and even “I am allergic to…” will be greatly appreciated and help break the ice. 

Listen and learn

We all take our cues from how the locals act and this can be ­extended to how they communicate. It’s fairly easy to pick up how people say “ok” or “two more” simply through observation. 

Pen and paper

It may sound silly, but carrying a pen and paper with which you can draw a reasonable image of what you’re looking for or need, is far better than waving your arms about and speaking loudly – which will only amuse the locals. 

Technology is your friend

There are plenty of apps out there that don’t just translate but also help you with pronunciation, so download one or two before you go – and maybe even ­practice before you hop on the plane. 

Last edited: August 14, 2017

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