Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Breaking The [Language] Barrier
Me : "Hello sir, is your food halal?"
fast food manager (ffm): "it's about 15 - 20 minutes" (with Vietnamese dialect)
Me : "No..no, No how long but Halal"
ffm : *gave me a puzzled look*
Me : "hmmm do you have pork in your menu?"
ffm : "so...sorry I don't understand"
Me : "pork.. ehmm pork, y'know" *pressed my nose to make it look like a pig*
ffm : "sorry miss i don't know"
Me : "ohh okay then, thank you" *left the resto with empty stomatch*
Have you ever experienced a situation when local people on your travel destination could not understand your language, even it is "English"?
Well, although English has become universal language yet we can't expect everyone in this world understand English, right?
Then what should we do when we travel to places where most of the people don't understand English language there?
Should we avoid that place?
For me, the answer is NO, Hell no!! we can't avoid some places just because that language issue, we have to find a way to break that language barrier. Smartling a translation technology company, removes language barriers and helps companies provide multilingual content to their customers anywhere in the world. As part of their "Breaking the Barrier" project, I want to share some tips that might be useful for other travelers who might be in the same problem
1. Bring Pen and Paper
I always bring pen and paper/notebook during my trips, just simply to take note for something like article idea, places to visit, travel expenses, bus number and many others. It also helpful when someone could not understand your "English" pronunciation because of dialect. It helped me once in Ho Chi Minh when I'm trying to ask for Nha Trang's bus fare. I pronounced Nha Trang with Nha sound like "Nut" without "T" and Trang sound like "Trunk". The hotel staff confused and I quickly wrote down "Nha Trang" on a piece of paper and he finally understood. Well, I just found out that Nha Trang should be pronounced with Nha sound like Net without "T" and Trang with sound like Frank but replace "F" with "T". Hey thank you Luan Vu Hotel Staff :).
2. Bring Smartphone
I always bring cellphone during my trip, well aside from its function as communication tool I know it will help me through most of language issues on the road. Based on my experience, it better and faster to search the image of the place that we want to visit and show it to taxi driver or local people.
3. Learn Some Words
Why don't we try to learn some words in their local language? beside we will get their respect, we also learn something new from our trip, right?
When it's hard to ask street vendor whether they used pork or not in food ingredients, I asked hotel staff to translate pork in Vietnamese. So, when the next day I came to street vendor I can ask them "is this used Heo?" or "Heo on the food?" (Heo is Vietnamese for Pork)
4. Put Smile on Your Face
They still don't get what you talking about? it's OK, put smile on your face and don't forget to say thank you. As far as I know smile is a universal language.
Thanks GOD for the translation
That's all, it works on me and I hope it will work on you too. Wanna share other tips? why don't you tell me your tips on comment box below :)
Meidiana Kusuma / Author & Editor
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