10 Easy Tricks for Travelers to Avoid Language Barrier

by Fiza kazmi
Learn phrases before hand

The language barrier is stopping your way to fun and thrill? Don’t tell me “YES” because I am not going to believe this. If you are a fearless and adventurous traveler, do not let the language barrier stop you from exploring new destinations. According to the findings of the Booking.com survey, the language barrier causes the biggest anxiety among travelers and they avoid traveling to unfamiliar places. As a passionate and limitless traveler, you should know how important it is for you to overcome these language barriers. For this purpose, here are some easy tricks and hacks you can adapt to deal with the language barrier.

Use advanced technology

Traveling nowadays is becoming more easy and more comfortable than it used to be. This is because the world is quickly changing into a global village. Modern and advanced technologies are there to help in each and every field. Travelers get equal benefits from digital aids when they encounter any problem most probably language barriers.

Use advance technology to avoid language barrierHow advanced technology helps you in communication?

For this purpose, there are many apps available for you to communicate and understand an unfamiliar language more easily. You can find and choose different languages and their translation through the options. All you need to do is to install these apps beforehand to avoid any issues. Google Translate can also be used if you encounter any language barrier but the availability of WiFi is a must for this. So don’t forget to charge your phone whenever you go outside because it is your companion if you face a tough situation.

Try to learn some basic and important phrases beforehand

If you are planning to visit an exotic place, you need to do some work beforehand. A surprisingly useful way to overcome the language barrier is to learn some of the basic and short phrases of that language.

Learn phrases before handWhat kind of phrases you can learn?

The phrases like

  • I am grateful
  • My apologies or I’m sorry
  • Can I get some?
  • I need some (water, food etc.)
  • I need to go
  • Can I get a ticket?
  • Let me check this
  • What’s on the menu?

There are some other common and basic phrases you can learn according to the place where you are going. These phrases can be used as quick responses and minimize the chance of facing any language barrier. Remember, you are an explorer and learning some easy phrases should not be a massive problem for you. It is the way you can make your journey more smooth and more refreshing. Simply use Google to get some know-how of the culture and background of that language and learn the words accordingly. Isn’t it simple?

Focus more on visual cues

Another quick trick to deal with the language barriers is the use of visual cues. This is something you need to be careful about. Visual cues are related to your body language like shaping your hand in a way that there is an invisible glass of water in it. This will symbolize that you are asking for some water. But these signs and visual cues vary from culture to culture so you need to understand them more attentively. For example, the thumbs up sign in some cultures is to encourage someone but the same sign is used to mock someone in other cultures. Also, keep in mind that pointing at someone is a big NO in certain countries.

Visual cues to avoid language barrierTake help from the phrasebook

Keeping an old phrasebook with you is an ultimate way to avoid any language barrier. You can keep a small phrasebook in your bag. Travelers can also use the Travel Phrasebook app if they want. It contains so many words and phrases that are commonly used and understood by native people. While traveling abroad, these small and useful phrasebooks are your best friends. There is no existence of language barrier if you are wise enough to carry a phrasebook with you.

Phrasebook to avoid language barrierLearn to communicate with gestures

Non-verbal communication is the way of communicating and understanding the language with the use of your body parts. This also includes your facial expressions and what you deliver with your eyes. Most travelers use non-verbal communication to overcome language barriers according to different surveys.

gesture communication to avoid language barrierHow to communicate with gestures?

For example, a frown is used to deliver your doubt or question on something like “what and why”. You can also use your hands to deliver your dialogue without uttering a single word. Actually, you can surprisingly cover a big part of your journey with these simple gestures.


 Speak clearly and slowly

If you are trying to communicate in another language while traveling abroad. Do not try to learn complex and highly sophisticated words. This will make things more complicated and you will get confused. Try to learn easy and simple words. Avoid giving too many explanations of things rather than making a plain and understandable statement. This will help both you and the person you are communicating with. Learning short and clear words is also easy. Take pauses when you utter a phrase. For Example if you should not utter “gotcha”  for the word “got it” in other countries. You should avoid speaking too quickly because then the natives will not understand your accent properly.

Be confident and avoid shyness

Do you get nervous when you face a language barrier? It is so natural to feel a little awkward or uncomfortable when you can not communicate properly. The important thing to remember in this situation is to boost your confidence. It is okay if you are not understanding other languages and it is okay if you can not make your point clear. A little homework beforehand can help you to overcome any kind of language barrier. Remember, loosing confidence is more problematic. So be confident about what you say because you are not an expert. The outcome is that you will learn from your mistakes. Otherwise, you will never get to know if it was right or wrong. Don’t feel shy in expressing yourself and try to learn well from it.

Be confident to avoid language barrierUse the pictures

Although advanced technology helps you to interpret other languages. There are some areas that have no wifi or internet availability. What to do Now? The answer is you can save some pictures of some of the areas on your phone. You can Google the things that you need and download the pictures beforehand. Now if you encounter any language barrier, you can simply show the picture to the other person and things are all easy. For example, if you are taking a cab to reach a destination and the driver is not getting your instructions properly. You can simply show him the picture of that destination.

Use picture to avoid language barrierBe polite and respectful

No matter what country you are traveling to, the use of polite and respectful words is always encouraged. There are times when any mishap occurs, it is your behavior and speaking style that works here. Language barriers can be avoided if you politely make people understand your words. If someone is not getting your point, don’t use harsh or annoying words with frustration. Remember if you are having a problem with the other language, your listener is also facing the same language barrier. So try to behave respectfully. This thing also shows your ethics and integrity. Last but not the least, avoid any slang or abusive word even if you at peak of anger.

Be polite to avoid language barrierHire a translator

If you are a routine traveler, is the best option for you to hire a skillful translator. The translator must be a person who knows a variety of languages. It will make your traveling life easier. You Now you don’t have to take stress about language barriers if you have a good translator with you. There are a lot of agencies from which you can hire a good translator. Always try to check the ratings and budget before hiring him/her.

Translator to avoid language barrierFinal thoughts

I personally use these useful tips and tricks during my trips to unfamiliar destinations. Exploring new cultures, interacting with new people, and experiencing new adventures all is spiced up if you handle the issue of language easily. To do so, you just need a little practice and learn to understand the context before speaking. So take this as a challenge because adventure lovers love challenging tasks. This is not something you should worry about as a traveler because it is a practice that makes you perfect, Right?




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