What If You’re Traveling To Another Country & Don’t Speak The Language?

There was a time when I had taken Spanish in school for 8 years and could have negotiated my way through a Spanish-speaking country with relative ease. And the first time I went to Japan, in 1994, I studied the basics from a book (Japanese in 10 Minutes A Day – it’s still in print!) for about 6 months before we went so I could converse a little bit. When we went to France back in the day, a friend of ours had a “point to the photo” communication tool that, when not in actual use, we used to play with to make bizarre sentences like, “There is a lobster eating soap in my toilet.” I’ve also been known to bring a small translation book, for excruciating word-by-word translation in the event of an emergency. But that was all back in the 80s and 90s and the electronic age has opened a whole new world in terms of communication in a foreign language. If you’re going to a country where they ¬†generally don’t speak English, here are some of the options that are currently available:

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