Ah, March. In some parts of the world this means that the school year is about to close, and that there’s a new batch of people getting ready to graduate and start the “next step” of their lives. Some of these fresh graduates will be going to college and moving out of their childhood homes in order to start living somewhat independently. College graduates, on the other hand will finally have to start facing the harsh realities of the world as they attempt to find their place in the workforce. Now, as much as I would like to give you a great graduation speech and tried-and-tested tips on how you can score yourself a job in Project Management or Translation, I wouldn’t want to skip the fun part – the summer vacation! So. before you proceed with your life changing decisions I’ll go ahead and give you some ideas on how learning languages can help you improve your vacation experience!
Basic Needs.If you’re planning on visiting another region or island where locals speak a different language from your own, I think the minimum requirement is to learn how to get around. What’s the Portuguese word for bathroom and how should you ask someone how to get there? Does that sign mean police station or police-themed restaurant (you never know!)? This is especially true when you are alone. Otherwise, you just might end up entering the washroom for the opposite gender if you do not pay enough attention, and you just might be mistaken for a peeping tom!
It’s important that even before you learn how to construct a sentence or converse that you at least know how to identify ‘Exits’ and ‘Entrances,’ Taxis, Immigration or Tourist Services, Telephones, Banks, ATM’s and Train Stations.
Map it out.Getting a hold of a map is very helpful, but it would mean a lot more if you can actually read it. Map your destinations to make sure you are not wasting time on travel when your locations are just within the proximity. Aside from marking tourist spots, make sure to identify police stations, hospitals and train and bus routes.
Learn a phrase (or two).Speaking other languages can be challenging for some, so instead of forcing yourself to speak with the ‘twang,’ I suggest writing important phrases that just may save you all the trouble. Write your hotel address, your destination, the word “embassy” (your country’s, of course) and other important phrases that you think may be beneficial for you. As for directions and letters, make sure to consult language professionals so you can avoid any misunderstanding, and speaking of which, below is a funny clip showing how frustrating things can be when you are in another country, entirely clueless of their language, enjoy!
Be Polite.Once you have the basics down, you’re finally ready to take it a step further. Try to learn the phrases locals use for greetings like “good morning” or “hello”. It’s not that you’re going to have to greet everyone in that place but it will be helpful to know that the guy manning the store is greeting you, and not telling you to get out. Besides, based on experience, natives tend to be friendlier when you speak a little of their language, -no matter how twisted your pronunciation sounds. I’ve found that people give you a little leeway if you try speak their language as long as you’re sincere. Just the same, you’ll still have to be careful, though, as using the wrong tones can cause lead to major misunderstandings.
Have fun!Of course, since it’s a vacation, numero uno priority should be to cram in as much fun as you can during the time that you’re in the foreign land. Immerse yourself in the culture and the language. I’m sure you’ll find that if you talk with friendly locals enough times, you’ll get a gist of how they communicate with each other. At the very least this will make reading restaurant menus a less daunting task and hey, it might even make you brave enough to try and watch a few plays or movies in the local language.
Well, I hope these tips help you enjoy your vacation more! Next up, we’re going back to our regularly-scheduled programming: Translation and Localization Tips!Read More