Do you need to learn a language before you travel to a foreign country? Absolutely not. But it is helpful to learn a few phrases and here's why:
- It's respectful to at least learn how to say hello, please, and thank you to the people who are serving you (waiters, front desk staff, bus drivers etc). People really appreciate it if you make an effort.
- Taking the time to learn a few phrases in anticipation of your trip will build excitement and enhance your experience.
- Learning a few phrases will help you to communicate your basic needs, help avoid misunderstandings, and enrich your cultural experience.
In Japan I was faced with an indecipherable menu. Not a word of English. Fair enough. Google translate rescued me. By merely scanning the menu I was able to understand what I was ordering.
Google Translate is an app that you can upload to your phone for free. It instantly translates words, phrases, and web pages between English and over 100 other languages.
Translate with your camera
Just point your camera and instantly translate what you see.
Translate speech simultaneously
Turn on Transcribe to understand what’s being said.
Type, say, or handwrite
Use voice input or handwrite characters and words not supported by your keyboard.
I highly recommend uploading this free app to your phone and then you will have your own personal translator wherever you travel.