Getting Lost in Languages on your overseas travels

One of the most common problems and apprehensions about travelling to foreign lands is a person’s inability to communicate in the local language. It is something that is a shock to many people and particularly to Anglophiles that are travelling for the first time. This is certainly true if you are hoping to work in a country where you don’t speak the local language.

You can get working holiday visas to a number of countries where you don’t speak the local language and really that means you won’t be able to get work in many industries and might mean you either will work in a tourist area or work as a laborer possibly working on a farm. Working holiday visas are the most likely type of visa that you will get if you are younger than 30 but if you have specialised skills you maybe able to get a work visa if you already have an employer willing to sponsor your application.

There are a number of different types of technologies that are available to you which can help you be understood in the local language. The easiest but the most basic of these is Google translate where you can write in English “Where is the toilet please” and the reply in Khmer is del chea kanleng del bangkon nih saum. Whether you pronounce that correctly is an issue but it does write it in Khmer script so you can show the person you are wanting to speak to (if they can read). A really good feature of Google Translate is the amount of languages it covers so if you’d like to speak in Esperanto, Welsh or Hmong you can have a crack at it.

Samsung phones have access to S translator where you can speak a phrase and your phone will repeat the phrase in the language you choose. This great feature however is only available in following languages Brazillian Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Spanish. This will help you in most of the world but not all.

There are a number of other apps that you can download that can help you. Some of them are iTranslate, Waygo, iHandy, Voice translator.

You can also learn the language proper on websites such as duolingo or if you’d like to do it old school Berlitz and Lonely Planet still publish phrase books in many languages.

For more complex translation services Cultures Connection has a great service for translating documents in a wide range of specialist areas. When I was living in Poland I helped a local university translate their prospectus into English and translating technical terms can be quite difficult.

Cultures Connect services range from Financial, Medical, Scientific, Technical, Legal and Marketing plus Interpreting Services in a number of different languages.