Traveling to a country where a different native language is spoken provides a unique set of challenges, particularly for people who only speak one language. According to the Pew Research Center, European students learn multiple foreign languages in the classroom beginning between ages 6 and 9. The U.S., on the other hand, does not have a national requirement for students to learn a foreign language. Plenty of people educated in the United States do speak a foreign language, but the practical application of two years of high school second language training is challenging at best. Learning a new language has never been more convenient with online resources and even free language-learning apps like Duolingo, plus endless free tutorials on YouTube.
Traveling internationally is always an opportunity to expand one’s knowledge of the world around them and conversing at even an elementary level not only enhances the experience, but communicates respect to the people of the country you’re visiting.
What Are the Dangers of Not Knowing the Language?
There are several difficulties that can occur when a traveler lacks basic language skills, no matter where you are. Minor inconveniences, such as ordering the wrong food, could easily happen. Getting on the wrong train or bus, at the very least, could be a major waste of time and money. Not making it to the airport in time or having a health problem that is misinterpreted could prove disastrous.
What Are the Benefits of Knowing the Language?
When travelers know even a few simple phrases, it will make time spent abroad easier and less stressful. Learning part of the language will help a traveler understand and appreciate the culture. It's a good idea to memorize words and phrases instead of using a phone. When a person makes an effort to learn the local language, they are more likely to gain the respect of the locals.
What Are the Most Important Words and Phrases?
There are six words and phrases that are the most important to know when traveling in a non-English speaking country. Knowing just these six words and phrases can potentially save a traveler time and money.
Before You Go
Now that you know the basics, there are a few other preparations that should be made before you go. We recommend that the following documents be translated as necessary into the native language of the country you are visiting:
- Medical Documents – Travelers should be sure to have a professional translation of all medical documents in the language of the country they'll be visiting. This is especially important if you have a medical condition or allergies that medical professionals should know about.
- Business Material –If a person is traveling on business, items like business cards, data sheets, one-pagers, etc. should be translated into the native language.
- Important Travel Information – When traveling in another country, it's smart to stay organized and have the relevant information about your trip on-hand. U.S. News recommends writing down hotel and phone information in the native language so locals can help provide guidance.
When preparing to travel to a foreign country, it's important to take the time to learn a few key phrases and to prepare important documents. Dynamic Language has years of translation and localization experience working with major industries and businesses. They can translate business materials and medical documents for travelers in over 150 languages. Contact Dynamic Language today for more information.