Do You Need To Learn The Language?

After my co-worker learned about my travel hobby/obsession/blog, he asked me where I’ve traveled. I rattled off a few places, such as Japan and Austria, and he replied that he’d always wanted to travel overseas but never did because he didn’t speak the language. He asked if it’s possible to visit these places if you are unilingual. I replied with a resounding, “Yes!”

Don’t let the fact that you don’t know the language keep you from visiting a country. Now, I’m not suggesting being a proud idiot and going in expecting everyone in a different nation to speak your language, either. Understand there will be difficulties in communication, which will become greater the farther you explore from the normal tourist areas. These are some of the quaint things you remember about traveling. It’s a good idea to try and learn a few phrases before you go. Things like good morning, good evening, excuse me, please, thank you and the ever important I’m sorry.

Here are a few examples of places we’ve traveled without knowing the language and the memories we have.

Continue reading “Do You Need To Learn The Language?”

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What To Do If You Travel To Another Country & Don’t Speak The Language

There was a time, several decades ago, 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:

Continue reading “What To Do If You Travel To Another Country & Don’t Speak The Language”

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:

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