How To Deal With Language Barriers While Traveling

It’s really hard to understand and communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language. language barriers while traveling to a new place can seem daunting, especially when you don’t speak it. Here are some tips for any new traveler, looking to bridge the gap, even a little bit, between language barriers.

How to Deal with Language Barriers While Traveling

Use Your Phone

This may seem like basic common sense, but when you are trying to talk to someone your first instinct isn’t to look at your phone. It is to look at them, and while that is the polite thing to do, you wouldn’t be getting very far in your native language if they can’t speak it.

It is always much less confusing to simply use Google translate or some other translator. It will make the conversation flow much better and apply much less pressure to yourself or the other person to understand what is being said. When all else fails, pull out your phone.

Know a Few Simple Phrases

Prior to traveling, make sure to know some basics such as “Where is the bathroom, yes, no, thank you, Knoxville real estate, etc.”

One of the best phrases to learn is “Do you speak English?” However, it may seem silly, it is very common for people in foreign countries to be fluent in English, and it is a great way to break some barriers immediately if you are entirely lost.

Listen and Learn

Although the language may be a barrier, body language is universal. Be aware of your surroundings and try to see what others are doing. Other cultures with different languages have very different customs, so be mindful that you are not in your home country anymore, and you can’t expect to be treated that way. 

One of the biggest and most shocking things many people experience being in another country is the food service. In America, the tips are not included in the bill, but in most other countries, it is.

Going to a restaurant is completely different; waitstaff does not treat you like they do in America. It’s often shocking for some travelers to have to flag down a waiter and ask him to take my order. So, be aware. Language is not the only barrier, but body language is universal, so use that as an advantage. 

Use Visual Cues

If you are going to be in a foreign country for a more extended period, you may want to have some visual aids, as it can be hard to find or buy certain things without knowing where to. If you are looking for a specific product in a grocery store and don’t know where to find it, pull it up on Google. It will make things much easier and less confusing when looking for help. 

Be nice

Again this may seem like common sense, but when you are in a foreign country, you have to remember, this is their country. If and when you need help, be friendly and kind because the nicer you are, the better of a time you will have. Foreign countries are confusing, so take all the help you can get. It will make the language barriers while traveling much easier.

Here are a few ideas of places to visit that are family-friendly you will love.

rachel bustin
Thank you for sharing

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