When one travels to a foreign country, one of the things that can create confusion and frustration is the language barrier.  However, there are many things one can do both before and during a trip to a foreign country to help ameliorate this problem.

 Try to Learn Some Key Foreign Phrases

        There are many good language learning platforms including Busuu, Rosetta Stone, and Babbel, but our favorite is Duolingo.  It is a fast-paced and rewarding way to learn a foreign language.  Whatever platform one chooses, learning key phrases in a foreign language such as “Where is the train station?” or “I need a doctor” can be extremely useful for obvious reasons.

Use a Live Online Translator

        A live online translator can be incredibly handy in a multitude of situations.  You just choose the language you are fluent in and then choose the language you want your words tranlated into and start typing away.  One of the most popular online translators is Google Translate.  You can pull up Google Translate simply by doing a google search for something like “Spanish to English.”  Other online translators include SDL Free Tranlslation, Deep L,, and Babylon Online Translator. 

        Live voice translators are also useful and popular.  Google Translate (again), Microsoft Translator, Speak and Translate and iTranslateVoice are just a handful of many such applications.

Other Options

        What if your smart phone has died, you’re in the middle of a country where no one speaks your language, and you need to get somewhere in a hurry?  One method is to draw a picture of the place you want to go and show it to someone.  We’ve done that with success.  How about charades, that is, acting out what you need, without using words?  We’ve done that with success as well.  Another technique we’ve had success with is to use our smart phones to take screen shots of the addresses we want to go to in the foreign language.  

        In closing, there are many ways to conquer the language barrier.  If you know of another way to do this, we’d love to hear about it!

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