One of the most difficult thing when travelling to a foreign country is to overcome the language barrier. Here are a few simple tricks to help you communicate effectively!
If you are fond of visiting different parts of the world or if you are planning to visit a foreign land, then one thing that would come to your mind is language.
Do you speak their language?
If not, how will you be able to communicate with them? The difference in languages may lead to communication barriers. And the difficulty of understanding too.
But you don’t have to worry about it. These days, language barriers are no longer a hindrance. You are sure to overcome it with proper preparation and right approaches.
One thing that you need to bear in mind when talking to local people is that there are many things you have in common. They may not speak your language but you do have similarities.
Being humans, you do the same things like eating, sleeping and others. Which means that these people can understand your needs as a human too.
Do not worry about the language. Because aside from words, there are other ways to communicate with them.
To help you with this, we have here 10 tips that would let you overcome language barriers when you are travelling on foreign land.
Table of Contents
- Use technology when overcoming language barrier.
- Bring a phrase book.
- Buy a picture dictionary.
- Learn a few words before your trip.
- Speak slowly and clearly when you talk to locals.
- Be specific when you ask questions and giving statements.
- Use gestures when communicating.
- Avoid using idioms and jargons.
- Bring a notebook and pen with you.
- Know if they speak English.
Use technology when overcoming language barrier.
Unlike before, it is much easier to translate different languages because if technology.
There is an application for that which you can download for your smartphone, iPad and other gadgets. Or if you don’t have the time to look for apps, you can translate it using Google translate.
With that, you will not find it hard to understand different languages for you have a translator that goes anywhere with you.
Bring a phrase book.
Phrasebooks are also a good option. Buy one from a bookstore and bring it with you all the time.
You will be able to use some of the words in conversing with people.
You can also look it up in the book if there are words that you want to check while talking to someone you cannot understand.
Buy a picture dictionary.
Aside from a phrase book, a picture dictionary can also help you to communicate with the locals.
You can just show that to them if you want to tell them something. It would surely be very helpful to you.
But choose picture dictionaries that are small and handy. Something that wouldn’t take up a lot of space in your bag.
Check it also before buying to make sure that the illustrations look clear and can be easily understood.
Learn a few words before your trip.
It would be best if you try to learn a few words before you go to your destination.
Study usual words that you would most probably be using like “please”, “thank you”, “hello”, “goodbye” and others.
Learning these words would show your interest in their culture. For sure, the people would be more willing to help you once they see that interest in you.
People to be more friendly when they notice that you took the time to learn a few of their phrases.
Speak slowly and clearly when you talk to locals.
Since you are not good at speaking a language that is new to you, you need to speak slowly and clearly. Doing this will make it easier for them to understand what you mean.
Clearly pronounce all the words to avoid misunderstanding. Articulate the words well. And remember not to shout because local people are not deaf. They might take offence if you go about shouting while asking them questions.
Do not worry about creating sentences, just utter the words that you need and they will be able to get it.
Be specific when you ask questions and giving statements.
We have mentioned that you need to be clear in what you will say. This includes being specific.
So instead of leaving hanging sentences, be sure that you will make it all clear. Instead of saying “later”, you have to say “later at 3pm today”.
This way, you will be assured that there won’t be any misunderstanding.
Use gestures when communicating.
Another good way of relaying a message is by using gestures. You can use gestures while talking.
Or you can also use it to demonstrate something. That would make your message clearer.
Parts of the gesture are your hand’s movement and also your facial expression.
We are all one if we speak of actions that is why it would be easier to understand that.
Avoid using idioms and jargons.
You would get blank stares if you use idioms and jargon because they will not be able to understand anything. So, do not use any of them.
Idioms include words like “butterflies in my stomach”, which might make them think you have eaten butterflies!
Jargon is terms that require knowledge on a certain field in order to understand it. It also includes three-letter abbreviations like GTG (Got to Go) and others.
Bring a notebook and pen with you.
Wonder why you need this?
There are instances that you will be left with no choice but to write something on paper. You might need to draw or illustrate something.
This is to help the person you are talking to understand. So, bring a notebook and pen because it can surely save you.
Know if they speak English.
It would also be wise to ask if the local people or the person whom you are speaking with knows English. If he does, then it would be a lot easier for you to communicate with him.
Or you can also ask him if he speaks a certain language that you know. It would also be helpful if you research about what languages are spoken in their area.
Well, who says communication is hard? With the technology we have today and the variety of ways to communicate, overcoming language barrier is easier. You will surely be able to relay the message to other people even if they do not speak the same language as you do.
Do not be hesitant to approach local people in the area you are visiting. Most of them are actually glad to see foreigners.
They are pleased that people of different blood and culture is interested to know their own culture and language as well.
Have you ever got into a situation where the language barrier was too hard to overcome?
Or maybe you have a funny story of communicating with people who did not understand you and you did not understand them too?
Share it with us on the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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