I myself am based in the states. I often hear people saying to others, “You’re in American learn the language,” but then I often see many Americans traveling overseas who don’t even know how to ask for help, and thus will sometimes get comparable reactions to “You’re in American learn the language.” I am not suggestion you fluently speak the native language for every city you go to. But what I can say is you should learn a few key phrases.
I speak a little *insert country’s native language.*
Do you speak English?
Where is the *insert name of what your are looking for*?
Where is the bathroom?
How much is this?
United States Embassy
Please take me to *insert location*
If you have a smart phone I suggest you download the google translate app. The google translate app is my favorite translation app. Not only can you type in what you want to say and have it typed in the language you want it translated to, you can also flip flop it, so it can be typed in the native tongue and translated to your native language. But at least in the droid addition for the Samsung Galaxy Note phones (I have the Edge) there are 3 extra buttons.On the left is my favorite, it comes in especially handy in restaurants. You click the camera icon and hold it over the text you want translated and it will translate it into your native tongue. The middle button is the mic which allows you to speak the text to be translated. And the final on the write that looks like a squiggle brings up a little pad to actual write what you want to say and have it translated.
If you click to see more of the options (On the droid it’s the 3 little dots under each other near the top right) you can see phrasebooks, SMS translation, and settings. With phrase book you can write particular phrases and star them and they will all show up in your phrase book. I suggest you save a lot of those ones I list above into your phrase book in the native tongue of the country you are visiting. With SMS translation it will bring up your text messages and you can translate those, so you can make friends with locals and be able to chat with them. The final one is settings. In settings you will see offline languages. I suggest you download the native language of the country you are visiting so that you can you your google translate app without WiFi or data.
Like everything, it’s a computer, so it may not always get the translation exactly, but I feel 90 % of the time it does, and the rest of the time it’s close enough that continuing in a discussion you and the person you are speaking to can usually figure out what you are trying to say. I suggestion you don’t use contractions (like I just did) and spell out words like do not.
Have you used google translate? What did you think? How about a different translation app? Which is your favorite? Why?
Download google translate here: Android, Iphone, Windows Phone, or you can just type google translate into google and you can translate right from there. However you will need data or WiFi.