Many of us have exotic places and islands on our travel bucket list. So, what is stopping us from actually getting that plane ticket other than COVID-19 or work commitments could be none other than language barrier.
Even though many of us could be bilingual and English is a commonly spoken language, many countries have not adopted English as a conversational language. Instead, the locals are more comfortable with the dialect or language is spoken in their home country. Some may even refuse to adopt English as the spoken language to prevent the loss of their local culture.
So how can we circumvent this situation and still go on our dream vacation? Here are some tips to help you break that language barrier.
Use body language and visual cues
Even though body language is not our go-to form of communication, it plays a somewhat important role, no matter the language. It is known that up to 93% of communication is made via non-verbal cues, so even without knowing the right words, we can still get the message across.
However, we do need to note that not all signs or gestures mean the same thing in all parts of the world. Thus, to avoid any miscommunication, you could mentally note the commonly used gestures by locals, so you can replicate them if the situation calls for it.
If you are stuck, you could always turn to pictures and other visual cues you can find around you. Road signs make excellent mediums to get others to understand you, as many are universally known.
Learn commonly used phrases
Communication is not rocket science. Picking up a few key phrases that you might need could suffice as a survival guide in a foreign country. These phrases could include “hello”, “thank you”, and some others that allow you to seek help in the form of directions. In addition, learning phrases to ask for medical assistance services could come in handy during emergencies.
Before going onto your flight, it could be helpful to grab a manual containing such phrases so you will not feel lost once you reach your destination. You could also learn through other forms, like watching a movie or listening to music sung in a foreign language. Being armed and prepared with these phrases could also provide you with the confidence needed to walk up to the locals and ask for help if you need it.
Be eager to partake in local conversations
The best and most effective way to pick up a language is usually direct immersion. Travelling and staying in the area provides you with a prime opportunity to communicate with the locals and discover the meanings of popular, well-used phrases.
Talking to them also allows you to catch the lilts and nuances they use when they pronounce each word. Conversing with them could help you improve your pronunciation accuracy.
Adapt to the situation with the use of technology
There are just some phrases that could be hard to put across with either visual or body language cues. In this case, we turn to our last resort and good friend, the translator. You could consider downloading a translation application on your phone or device so you can whip it up when you need it. Even though translation may not always be 100% accurate, it still provides locals with a rough gauge of what you might say.
Aside from translation, your handy mobile device could serve as an excellent tool for emergencies when you’re in need of immediate medical assistance services. There are companies offering global medical assistance regardless of where you are. Be it a team of professional medical escorts, experienced pilot, or medical ambulance – such services are only one call away with your phone.
Learning the language within the span of a few short months right before your trip is virtually impossible if you do not have the time and resources. However, we hope that the tips above can help you navigate your way through the local scene in your dream destination.