Do you plan on traveling to a foreign country where English is not the native spoken language? Have you given any thought as to whether or not you should learn a few phrases before you leave? Perhaps you would like to bring some type of translation resource or device with you on your travels? Do not let the idea of trying to communicate with someone in another language intimidate you. A little effort goes a long way, and it shows the people of the country you are visiting that you respect their culture enough to have taken the time to learn how to say a few basic phrases, such as yes, no, how are you? and thank you. Read on to discover some excellent pre-travel language study choices and several handy, pocketsize tools to aid in translation.
Before you leave‚Ä¶
Beginner‚Äôs Level Language Courses
Keep it simple if the main goal of attending a class is to learn some language basics before your trip. Unless you are presently in school and need to fulfill specific course credits towards a degree, you do not need to enroll in a college/university foreign language class. Enroll in a local community course. They are more affordable, night sessions are available, generally they average about six weeks in length and your classmates will most likely have similar aspirations as you. Most likely the class will not be graded, and this is another plus, as you do not want this to feel like a chore. The class is solely for your own benefit, and you will learn a few key terms before your travels.
Free Online Foreign Language Tutorials
For starters, the price is right! A website called livemocha offers free basic language course material for 38 languages. It allows you to choose the level of language learning intensity you desire. When you register, the site will ask you whether you are looking for long-term study assistance or do you need a quick overview? Pick the urgent selection if you are traveling out of the country in a week. It also allows you to choose whether you prefer to learn through conversation or through a more textbook like approach. As you complete the lessons and assignments, you earn Mochapoints, and these can add up to earn you cyber medals, such as Bronze, Silver and Gold. The points are a good way to measure the amount of time and work you have given to learning a new language.
While you are Abroad‚Ä¶
For about $5 to $10 you can purchase a pocketsize foreign language dictionary from your local bookstore. These are great if you are only visiting one country, as each little book gives you phrases and words in the specific language you need. You will be able to look words up alphabetically in English for their translation or vice versa to find the English meaning of a word. There is absolutely no technology involved; simply flip through the pages in search of a translation.
Talking Electronic Pocket Translator
The Nyrius LT12 has consistently received high consumer reviews, and the $40 (approximate) price tag is a bargain considering what this tiny handheld device can do. It will translate 12 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Swedish. There are 8,400 common travel phrases that can be accessed through its user friendly menu. Not only does the Nyrius LT12 display a written translation on its screen for you to read, but it also reads the term or phrase aloud so that you know how to pronounce the word(s).
I have saved one of the most ingenious translator tools on the market for last. It is called Jibbigo, and it is a speech translator app which you can download into your Android, iPhone, iPod or iPad. Unlike using other similar apps that need to connect to a server in order to operate, Jibbigo does not use any data, and therefore you will not have to worry about international roaming charges racking up while you are away. Most European language downloads cost $4.99 each. You simply speak into the phone, and it responds back to you with the translation. There is also a display on your screen that shows you exactly what has been translated, so that you can be assured accuracy. It is almost like having your own personal interpreter at your side, as you can use Jibbigo to exchange conversation back and forth between yourself and another person.
As you can see, there are an abundance of foreign language gadgets and resources available, and they are all very reasonably priced. Whether you learn best in a formal classroom setting or you prefer to use the latest advanced technology as your language guide, one of these options should fit your needs nicely. Keep these ideas in mind when you are booking flights to Barcelona, Paris, or any other exciting destination. Go ahead and impress your business partners, family and/or friends with your language skills on your next trip. Remember that in the event something gets lost in translation, a smile is universally understood.