How to Survive in Another Country When Conversing with People Who are Difficult to Understand
Language is always a barrier when traveling to a country where people don’t speak your language. You want to ask questions to locate places, but you are not understood. You also want to buy stuff but you have a hard time describing what you want. The worst part is that you might be conversing with someone who speaks English, but you just can’t understand the accent. Here are some tips to overcome your frustration when faced with this type of situation.
When you say something and you are not understood or the other person is saying something you didn’t catch, just relax. There are countries where people to mix English with their local language. Therefore, some words seem to be mixed up. There are others who have a strong accent. Even if they say some words in English, you can barely catch them. Clarify if you did not understand what was said and don’t get angry easily. You need the information coming from this conversation so you have to be patient.
Apologize if you did not catch the words
Even if the other person speaks English fluently but using an accent you are not familiar with, you might have a hard time catching the words. It does not mean that you are not a good English speaker. You are just taught to say the words differently. There is no shame in asking for pardon if you did not understand the word. The point is to have clarity in your conversation and not to decide on who speaks English best.
Try writing things down
You can ask different people for the same information if you are still uncertain. You just have to write the information you have gotten from one person before moving on to another. By then, you can put the pieces together and have a clearer understanding on what was said.
Use images and repetition
These are two techniques that are worth trying. When you did not understand the words said, you can ask the speaker to say them one more time. The message could be a lot clearer the second time around. Using images can also help so you can check if the person is referring to that particular word with what mentioned earlier.
Never be rude
Understanding of the English language is never a testament of how knowledgeable or smart one person is. Therefore, you should never be rude. If you are just asking a question, be kind and say thank you. If you did not get it, still say thank you and move on to the next person. You should even be grateful that they try speaking English- a language which is totally foreign for them. Imagine if the situation was reversed and English is not the most popular language in the world. This could also be frustrating for them.
There are a lot of ways to survive this problem. You just need to be kind and wait until you find the perfect person to answer your queries.
Featured and 1st image from https://www.workitdaily.com/language-barriers-workplace/
2nd image from https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/rude-behavior-other-countries/