If you’re heading out for vacation or business to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, why not take the time to learn? There are many excuses for not learning the local lingo … “it’s too hard,” “I don’t want to feel embarrassed,” or “I don’t want to make a mistake.” Before you sign up at the local community college, know that you don’t need to be fluent. Even in a foreign locale where basic English is spoken, it doesn’t hurt to learn at least a few basic words and phrases, such as please, thank you, how much is this? and where’s the rest room? There are a number of phone apps that can play a big role in your quest to speak a few words in the local language. Fodor’s Travel Phrases and Duolingo are just a couple.
The locals may be amused by your attempts at communication, but they will also considerate a sign of respect. They will be impressed that you took the time to care, and they will respond better than if you communicated using your own makeshift form of sign language.