get featured!

Tips travel language tips

Published on September 6th, 2012 | by Business Authors


How to Communicate When You Can’t Speak the Language

If you’re in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language then sometimes doing the simplest thing can be difficult. Something as simple as looking for a train station or a toilet can become impossible as you can’t read the directions and sign posts and as you can’t communicate with the people who might be able to point you in the right direction.

As such then you need to find ways around this language barrier and use what methods you can to communicate in more creative ways. Here we will look at a few ways you can accomplish this…


One way that you can communicate without relying on your grammar and vocabulary is to simply gesture and re-enact what it is you’re trying to say.

This can sometimes go wrong with hilarious consequences and it can be a little embarrassing pretending to be a chicken in a restaurant – but still it’s a generally universal language that requires no extra tools and can formulate basic requests and queries.


One thing you should always carry with you when travelling – and the rest of the time for that matter – is a notepad and pen. This way you can make notes and doodles to illustrate your point which will be effective in many situations. At the same time the notepad is useful because you can pass it to the other person to communicate their response – give them the notepad for instance and they can draw directions to somewhere you want to visit which is useful in many scenarios.


There are a large range of apps out there on iPhone and Android that are designed to help you in just these situations. You can even just use your browser in order to get online in an internet café and this way find the translation feature in Google – and if you can’t pronounce what it is that comes up, then you can always have it read out for you by clicking the speaker icon. Other apps will provide phrases for common words, or just convert sentences for you while you’re out there and having them ready on your phone before you leave can save time.


If you don’t have a notepad and your best impression of a toilet isn’t working, then you should still attempt to simply say what it is you want to say as much as possible. The point is that even if you don’t know the correct word, they might still be able to pick up on similarities in the language. For this same reason it’s a good idea to say it in as many different ways, and in as many different languages as you can muster – because there might just be a similarity there that could help you and that you or they might stumble upon. Don’t give up – keep talking and eventually they may be able to help you.

Look for Help:

If you can’t communicate with the person you’re trying to talk to, then you should try to find someone who you can communicate with – and if they can’t help you then they will at least still be able to translate for you.

About the Author: Jennifer Dallas is one of the few persons who has travelled many places across the globe. Currently she shares her experiences with which is known to provide TN Visa for those Canadian citizens seeking ways to get a US work visa.

Blog post cover image by Aislinn Ritchie

Tags: ,

About the Author

Back to Top ↑