Best ways to deal ​with language barriers while traveling

Augustine Tours > Blog > Best ways to deal ​with language barriers while traveling
Musanze Cultural Village

Last Updated on April 16, 2023 by Augustine Tours

Traveling to a foreign country is exciting and immersing oneself in a different culture is something that is extremely rewarding, and for some travelers, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After arriving in a different country, the first thing you will come into contact with is the language. Communication in a foreign country is vital, and a little understanding of the language will enhance your staying experience in a chosen destination.

Language barrier to a foreign destination

Though it is mostly glamorous, traveling to a foreign country can be daunting if you do not know the language. Some people fear that they might get lost or be taken advantage of, while others do not want to deal with the frustration of trying to get around a new place without being able to accurately communicate. But not knowing the language should never be the reason for turning down a good opportunity to travel. There are plenty of things that you can do to prepare yourself for your trip and eliminate some of the language barriers between you and the people in your destination.

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Technology has provided us with an easy opportunity to communicate in languages that we do not know. Before traveling, it is advisable to go through the internet or search and buy a book that teaches you common words and phrases in the native language of your destination. Learn some basic phrases, such as saying hello, and thank you, and how to ask for directions. When you have some understanding of the most important basics, you will be able to get around without a bulk of difficulties.

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Overcoming language stress

Airports have the potential of being stressful, regardless if you are familiar with the destination or not. Immediately after disembarking from the airplane will most likely be put in front of a number of directional signs that in most cases are not well understood. Making your way to baggage claim, exchanging currency, and locating the taxi terminal are all situations where language assistance is definitely needed. An interpreter, mostly a local, would lend their understanding of the language to direct you through the airport, eliminating stress. It is advisable to communicate with the interpreter/guide before travel so that they can be waiting for you upon arrival. This allows one to start their adventure in their destination full of energy and enthusiasm with the hope to have a fabulous trip.

Karera Waterfalls

After long flights, we expect to get to our accommodation almost immediately after arrival. We also want to get to the destinations without getting lost and this contributes to making our vacation a memorable one. Being able to communicate to a taxi driver exactly where to go will deliver you in an efficient time frame, and having a local guide helping with the navigation also ensures you are arriving at the correct destination. In addition, anything you would like to know about the destination can be well explained by the local guide.

Cultural immersion

In some foreign countries, food and commodities are most likely to be purchased at places where your native spoken language is not translated on the menu or on the catalogs in shopping outlets.  Some countries are famous for outdoor markets and food stands, completely immersing you in a different and probably strange language and also the menu could be strange too depending on the extent one is willing to indulge themselves in the different culture.  This can make ordering meals and drinks a challenge. By inquiring and knowing about what is in the delicacy you are about to eat, you will have total confidence while enjoying the meal.

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The best part about visiting a foreign country is coming into contact with people and enjoying the company of the local community. Having the extra advantage of being able to communicate in their native language will allow you to experience at a high level, their way of life and their culture and heritage practices.  A local professional guide is able to perform consecutive translations, listen to several complete sentences, and deliver a culturally right and confident response that both you and the person you are speaking to are bound to understand.

A professional guide is very vital when traveling to any destination not only for direction guidance but also for language assistance.

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