I don’t know about you, but it’s a daily challenge for me to speak my native language. And now we’re going to be in countries that speak French, Dutch, German, Czech, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. I haven’t been this screwed when it comes to language since I stood in that restaurant in Kuwait City 13 years ago with my hands in my armpits flapping my “wings” trying to order chicken. I’ve also learned that if you speak really loud and really slow, that doesn’t do a bit of good either.
So what and the hell is a traveler to do? Number one, most places that host tourists have someone who can speak at least minimal English. Find that person!!! My strategy through the years has been to learn the phrase “Do you speak English?” in the language of the country I’m visiting. Number two, get an app. And there are good apps for translating languages. Probably the best app I’ve seen is Google Translate. You can either say or type in the word or phrase to translate. It even has an option where you can point your camera at a word and it will translate it for you live. Check this video out to see that feature in action. The problem with most of the language apps is that you have to have data connectivity for them to work. Either Wifi or a foreign data plan.
But what do you do if you don’t have data connectivity? We are going with an app called Translate Pro. It is geared to work with wifi or data but has thousands of commonly used phrases pre-translated for you to use in a pinch.
If none of the above works? Stay calm and use hand gestures or draw something out on paper. Hahaha. Let the adventure begin.
By the way. If you are ever in Belgium and you gotta pee, know that H means men (hombre) and D means women (damas). Trust me, it could save you some embarrassment.