Just chill and do not over-analyze. Immerse into dialogue.
We have all been in situations where, in spite of our efforts, we were misunderstood. The recipient of our message just could not decode the message hidden in our words. Um, relationships… right?
The helplessness of such situations is nothing in comparison to those when traveling without knowing the local language and getting caught in a weird situation.
You can comprehend neither context nor words. And the fear that overcomes you is a pure existential one.
Looking for a toilet or petrol station in a foreign country? Got lost? Caught in a fight with a market vendor? Yeah, that’s the real stuff when you often feel incompetent as hell when you do not speak the local language.
How excruciating it is when you cannot use the most useful words in a language because you simply don’t know them!
But maybe you just stop the language fear right now. Because it is like other fears. It is mostly just the story in your head.
Three female travelers interviewed by us can #saymore about their experiences and ease your worries.
Find their tips on how to start and how to survive traveling without knowing the language below.
*Tips for Traveling When You Don’t Speak the Language is a practical summary of all the advice these travelers provided in a concise list.
How to start traveling without knowing the local language
Hanka launched her blog Na Nomádské Stezce (On the nomad journey) when she traveled through 5 continents as a freelance copywriter in the years 2017–2018. She gave up her job as a mobile app tester so she could work alone late at night and see the impact of her work.
Ejmy loves to breathe the energy of her destination — to stay longer, to travel slowly. She launched her GoodCzech blog not only to help her foreign boyfriend find the missing materials for learning Czech. She is a freelance copywriter.
How to get around a country if you don’ t speak the language
To sum it up for you:
- English is not an all-time solution
- Imitating sounds can find you the right person — use interjections
- Language apps and translators can take you somewhere or nowhere
- Whereas intuition and common sense take you EVERYWHERE.
“You don’t need all the dictionaries. If I was able to travel and even work abroad with simple English and a hearing defect that left me with 50% of what was said to me, why shouldn’t you be able to do that?” Hanka asks in her video about language issues while traveling.
Learn basic stuff: Meals and food you want to taste or you are allergic to, numbers, some verbs, thank you, where is… Anyway, gestures with hands and feet can take you anywhere. Ejmy launched her blog GoodCzech to help foreigners in Czechia learn basic Czech words, as she herself knows best how much you sometimes want to know at least the fundamentals of a local language.
All three agree that heavy dictionaries and a stressed head are the last things you need on your journey. Your common sense, body language, and mobile apps will get you there. Or at least somewhere near…
Sometimes English can help you because even the locals know the basics. In other cases, you have to imitate sounds, and that may take you further than any word.
Tips for Traveling When You Don’t Speak the Language is a practical summary of all the advice these travelers provided.
Wanna get more tips and tricks on learning languages, vocabulary apps, and a sneak-peek of the Vocabulary Miner app? Let’s #saymore to you — subscribe for news.