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Skipping the language barrier issue while travelling

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By Evelyn Masaba

A wandering soul is never limited by how far the place is or how hard it is for them to get there. A tag on their spirit to go there will make them leave wherever they call home to see new things.

When you travel to new places, you have this huge excitement to learn and see new things that you might have just read or seen on the Internet. The overwhelming excitement to experience a new culture, traditions and learn a new language is always something to look forward to while travelling and, yet, the biggest huddle is part of the excitement.

Languages spoken vary all over the world. No matter how many people speak English away from America and Britain, you will still find that the biggest majority have a native tongue that is well spoken and used to communicate throughout the rest of the country.

One big example would be when you travel throughout Africa; not all states adopted their colonial masters’ language as the official one, and, if they did, it is not spoken all over or it has a mix of pidgin in it that will make it hard for a foreigner to understand. Away from Africa, Europe has different languages spoken by the natives of different countries you travel to and not everyone will be able to help you just because you speak English.

Of course we all know that; you need to learn some of the basic words that will help you navigate through and not make a complete fool of yourself whilst trying to describe what you need.
Can these basic words help you in any way though? Will you be able to sufficiently navigate your way through everything just by learning the “how, where, what, when, why and who?”

In most cases, when you are not staying for too long in the new environment, it helps especially if you only came for business. Most people in urban areas can easily speak a bit of English depending on what section of town they are in. So you will be able to get away with knowing very little about their native language just because you are breezing through for a few days and spending more time in boardrooms than on the streets.

If you are staying for long, it is a different issue; you need to find a way to adopt so that things do not get a little harder. You can start off with a couple of these tips.

Hire a translator
Probably one of the easiest things for most people in foreign countries to do, a translator makes communication a little less complicated since they can speak your language and fluently project what you wanted to say. However, sometimes it becomes quite expensive to do that and keep it up when some meanings get lost in the translation. Unless you can afford to have a translator on retainer all through your trip, this should be the last resort.

Take classes
This needs to be done while you are still in your country, especially if you are going for a long-term contract out of your country. It might take a month or two to grasp some of the pronunciations but this makes it easy for you to fall into habit of speaking the language when you finally move.

Translation apps
With the advancement in technology comes so many easier ways to do things; you can now download apps such as Google Translate, iTranslate, S Translate and Jibbigo, among others, to help you communicate and skip over the language barrier issue like a boss.

About The Author

The writer is the public relations manager at Jumia Travel in Uganda. Travel.jumia.com is Africa’s No.1 hotel booking website, allowing you to get the best prices for more than 25,000 hotels in Africa and more than 200,000 hotels around the world.

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