15 Ways To Overcome The Language Barriers


Traveling around the world is a fun experience, as long as you accept the multitude of challenges that come with the joy of travelling. One of the most frustrating challenges for an international traveler, has to be the language barrier, and some might make a really big issue out of it. Still, it is not that big of a problem, and it can be overcome, but for this to happen you have to understand precisely how to handle it. Read below, the 15 ways to overcome the language barriers.

# 1.

Always show respect for the local language, no matter where you are. Finding a way to communicate with the locals and making yourself understood, it’s a two way deal, not one way. Usually, locals tend to be suspicious, of a foreign traveler, but if you show them respect, appreciation and admiration for their language and customs, they will be much more friendlier.


# 2.

When arriving in a new country, make sure you know what language is being spoken. In just one country can be spoken more languages, so you have to know exactly what is the language spoken in the area that you are visiting. Try to learn basic phrases from that languages, rather than antagonising local people with a language they may not like.

 # 3.

Learning some words of a new language isn’t that hard, so make an effort to learn some. The most important are the greetings, learn how to say good morning, hello, how are you in the local language of that specific country. Besides that, you have to also learn the correct phrases to ask for help if having an emergency, how to ask for directions, which is the way to the bathroom, etc.


 # 4.

Take advantage of technology, which is at everyone’s disposal. Everybody has a smart phone nowadays, so use it and download a language app, which can articulate local phrases for you. Repeat after those phrases a and start practicing until you learn. If you cant manage to learn properly, use that app to convey what you need to. A good app for this purpose, is Word Lens, that works great for translating from Spanish to English.

 # 5.

You have to know about the local customs of the country you are in. Pay attention on the body language and analyse how the locals behave. For example, in India you don’t point with your feet and in Japan you always take off your shoes before walking into a house.If respecting their customs, local people will notice that you are trying to respect them and they will appreciate the effort.

# 6.

Try no to be too sensitive and keep in mind that you are the foreigner and the weird one. There might be times when the locals will say offensive comments in their language, as many of them think you cant understand them. Even if you do, try not to have negative reactions to different offensive comments on your body, or the way you dress.

# 7.

Carry with you all the time, a common phrase book. Before you put them in use, take the time to practice basic words and only use the book if needed. Show respect for another people’s time, even if they were nice enough to help you, they are not there to help you navigate. You may be forgiven for not knowing their language, but the lack of respect is something completely different.

# 8.

Check before if they know English. Find out if the person you are trying to talk to, knows English, before you start mumbling in their local tongue. The chances are, you ran into someone who can help you in English.

 # 9.

Speak slowly and carefully articulate every word, so that your accent doesn’t interfere in making yourself understood. Avoid to speak loudly, when wanting to by understood, people tend to do this, and is very insulting. Local people aren’t deaf, or idiots. Try expressing yourself in the easiest words you can find, and remember that you don’t have to create full sentences, grammar is not an issue here.


 # 10.

Speak clean English. The English spoken in the United States, has developed many slang words over the years, that are now considered as being part of the language. Don’t forget that people in other countries are not familiar with slang. Try sticking to the basic English, the language you studied in school.

# 11.

Try figuring things out by yourself. You know that all European languages, including English have a Latin base. If you know the smallest amount of Latin, look at street and bus signs and try figuring out the names of things and places. Take a local newspaper and look to see if there are some words you can understand.

# 12.

Carry with you a notebook. If you cant remember how to pronounce a word, and you cant communicate properly, write down the spelling of the words you are trying to communicate. Or, you can even draw pictures of the things you are looking for, for example, the toilet. This should help you get your answers.


Don’t be ashamed to ask for clarification. Even if you think you understood everything perfectly, it doesn’t hurt to ask for clarification in a polite manner to make sure you understood correct. There are many people who feel self conscious and just nod shyly and walk away, even if they haven’t understood a thing.

# 14.

Don’t use idioms. American English has many idioms, that are nowadays something normal in the language. Avoid them, as you might be surprised to see that no one will understand a word you’re saying.

# 15.

Be careful with the gestures you are using. It’s ok to use gestures, to help you on your language, but be sure those gestures are respectful. Uninhibited behaviour and gesturing may be accepted din France or Italy, but in countries like China, India or Japan, they will be considered inappropriate. So, remember to use gestures wisely.

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