Questions tagged [language-barrier]

For questions concerning little or no knowledge of the local language.

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47 votes
7 answers
15k views

Why don't American traffic signs use pictograms as much as other countries?

Driving across the United States, I noticed that many signs contain words and actions to do or not to do, rather than pictograms. In many (maybe most) countries, in Europe and also in the neighbor ...
16 votes
9 answers
8k views

Using English in Europe

I'm from the United States (born and raised) and have dual citizenship (Portugal). At some point, I want to spend time (more than just a vacation) in Europe. Linguistically, I feel confined to ...
62 votes
11 answers
24k views

Is it rude to speak Swedish in Norway?

I speak Swedish quite well, but my active Norwegian is very basic, although I can understand most of it if I concentrate. I'm aware Norwegians can usually/always understand Swedish. I'm told ...
3 votes
0 answers
172 views

Translators in Dubai airport immigration

I will be traveling to Dubai and am trying to arrange for my wife to meet me there after I arrive (it's not possible for the both of us to go on the same day). However, she only speaks Portuguese and ...
2 votes
0 answers
135 views

Navigating Daejeon, Korea as an English-speaker

I am considering a attending a scientific conference in Daejeon, South Korea but I only speak English. I would like some insight on how difficult the city is to navigate for a speaker of English-only. ...
11 votes
3 answers
8k views

Acceptable in Bilbao: is it better to speak Spanish or English?

I will be visiting Bilbao next week and I would like to know whether I should speak English or Spanish. I don't know Basque. What is acceptable for tourists? And are there any "don'ts" I should be ...
22 votes
10 answers
10k views

Travelling to Greece without knowing the language

I am considering travelling to Greece to compete in the Athens Classic Marathon, but I do not speak any Greek. I will be fine once I get to the hotel as the travel provider will be onsite and ...
27 votes
4 answers
192k views

What is the difference between "Gazole" and "Diesel" in France?

I am driving a car with a Diesel engine. I always thought that "Gazole" and "Diesel" were synonymous to each other, only to drive in a gas station which mentioned both terms, as in "Gazole" and "...
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

How can I convert an address in Thailand from English to Thai?

How can I convert an address in Thailand from English to Thai? Motivations: give taxi drivers in Thailand the address in Thai send letters to an address in Thailand E.g from: 25 Condo SPN Place, ...
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does Taiwan have thrift stores? How to find them?

Here in Australia we have the "Salvos" and "Vinnies" and many other "op shops" that sell old stuff people donated, and we have "Cash Converters" who buys your ...
24 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is it okay to mix in local language when I know it poorly?

I'm traveling to Finland for a week and mostly doing touristy things. I've been excited and decided to learn some Finnish for fun. I know everyone there is going to know English better than I learn in ...
14 votes
9 answers
11k views

How to politely indicate that you only speak English and would like to continue in it?

This question is mostly for places where English is commonly spoken and to a high standard, for example Germany or the Netherlands. A large number of people, especially young people in cities, know ...
42 votes
4 answers
91k views

Can we get by as English speakers visiting Iceland?

We're going to Iceland for the first time in September. Will we be able to get around ok just speaking English, or should we try to learn some rudimentary Icelandic? And is that even what their ...
16 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is English spoken widely in Ireland?

My fiancée and I will be traveling to various places in Ireland for our honeymoon. Mostly mid-southern Ireland (Dublin, Galway, Limerick, etc.). Is there any reason to learn any basic phrases in ...
58 votes
7 answers
8k views

How to use public transport in Russia with limited knowledge of Russian?

I will soon make a small trip around Russia and visit some larger cities in Western Russia. I will arrive by train and further plan on traveling by public transport. I have, however, no knowledge of ...
21 votes
3 answers
3k views

How much Farsi do I need to travel within Iran?

I'm looking to travel to Iran and I'm wondering how much Farsi I should know to be able to get by. Can I assume most people in the cities know English ? Is the signage only in Farsi or also in Latin ...
24 votes
6 answers
11k views

How do I ask Japanese restaurants in writing not to serve me any meat?

A relative's doctor commanded him to eat NO meat to prevent Alpha-gal allergy, hypertension, and LDL cholesterol. His doctor says he can still eat seafood. We don't speak Japanese, but we plan on ...
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Learning Russian versus Mongolian for visiting Mongolia

I'm planning on visiting Mongolia. I'll probably hire a tour guide for the trip, not only because of the language barrier but also so I'm not travelling solo, and so I can gain local knowledge. What ...
20 votes
9 answers
8k views

How to solve the language problem in Ankara, Turkey?

I will start studying my Master at Ankara, Turkey soon. I don't know the language and I receive strange behaviors when asking help in English: For example, I start with "Merhaba" ("Hello" in ...
1 vote
3 answers
287 views

How can I provide a proof of domicile readable in French to renew French passport as a US permanent resident, US domiciled, and currently in Thailand?

I am a French citizen, permanent resident in the United States and currently in Thailand, where I'd like to renew my passport because some airlines require it to be in pristine condition. I read on ...
5 votes
2 answers
160 views

Where can I find a Korean-English phrasebook in the form of laminated cards?

Soon, I'm hoping to travel to South Korea to get voice surgery. I remember hearing of these laminated cards that you could use to point to a phrase or something in order to help communicate. Do you ...
6 votes
1 answer
3k views

El Yunque or "El Junque" National Forest Pronunciation

The internet seems to be full of disagreement about how to pronounce El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. Here is a small sampling: The US Forest Service website claims it's el-ZHUN-kay (...
3 votes
1 answer
105 views

What are some good resources other than google translate to help communicating with locals?

Soon my girlfriend and I will be traveling around Asia/Oceania for a year and normally before travelling I will learn some of the local language. I have a little bit of a formula of the stuff that I ...
5 votes
3 answers
300 views

Are there immigration officers who speak Bahasa Indonesia in Kaohsiung, Taiwan airport?

Does anyone have experience with this? From what I found on the internet so far, and from my experience in Taoyuan airport, it seems like you need to speak Chinese or English to make it through ...
48 votes
12 answers
14k views

How should I ask for a "pint" in countries that use metric?

This is perhaps a silly question, but I've found that when I've been abroad (and let's be realistic, this probably applies to every country but the US and the UK), I often want a drink from a pub or ...
56 votes
5 answers
31k views

Will I be able to travel around India speaking only English?

I am to travel around some Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and others. Will I have trouble speaking only English, or should I learn some phrases in Hindi?
24 votes
13 answers
10k views

Can you really get around everywhere with only speaking English?

I had a discussion with a friend on how many language one should learn to be able to be understood worldwide? My estimate would be with around 4-5 languages, but this is a gut feeling which I cannot ...
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Google Flights is in English but booking site it sends me to is in Thai

I'm trying to use Google Flights as is often recommended to me. I've got the language set to English and the currency set to AUD. I've found a cheap flight from Bangkok to Europe and click on it. It ...
16 votes
5 answers
16k views

Are there any issues with speaking Spanish as a tourist in Portugal?

I'm about to go on a trip to Portugal, not knowing any Portuguese. I was planning to learn all the basics (yes, no, hello, goodbye, thank you, etc) but in a slightly more complicated situation it's ...
13 votes
6 answers
5k views

Going to France with limited French for a day

I am going to France (Toulouse) for a day in October. I will be landing at Toulouse–Blagnac Airport. (TLS). I would like to travel and look around the city. I have a limited knowledge of French from ...
8 votes
2 answers
5k views

Understanding Portugal addresses

Next week I'll have to visit someone in Porto and hand him an iPhone 11 which is a gift from his father. He is a visitor to Portugal himself. He provided me with a very unusual address. Rua Justino ...
4 votes
1 answer
210 views

Are car rental contracts provided in English?

Renting a car we need to sign a rental contract. If I rent a car in non-English speaking countries (Spain, Portugal) do the international rental companies like Avis, Hertz, Europcar provide an English ...
9 votes
1 answer
570 views

Traveling in South Korea's countryside as an English speaker

I plan to travel in South Korea's countryside by car in May and June. I only speak English. Will language be an issue when booking a hotel (I'll probably only book a few days ahead of time), buying ...
21 votes
3 answers
2k views

Using Modern Standard Arabic in Arabic-speaking countries

There are a lot of Arabic-speaking countries each with its own variety of an Arabic dialect with a Modern Standard Arabic (MSA or "Fusha") being the language of the media and official speech, and ...
9 votes
4 answers
10k views

How to find "night and day" decongestant for a head cold when there's a language barrier?

So I've been in Tbilisi, Georgia for almost a week and the temperature is now dropping below zero Celsius sometimes and I have the dubious honour of being the first in my hostel to contract a head ...
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

How many accommodation types are recognized in German?

Next to the usual hotel aggregators like booking.com, expedia, etc I am using Google Maps to search for accommodation. It really works well if you search for accommodation in the local language. For ...
26 votes
4 answers
254k views

How to know "your number" for a machine haircut in a foreign country?

When traveling for an extensive period of time, you may need to get a haircut in a country where you do not speak the language. I usually get a machine haircut and just saying or showing the number (...
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Tourists to UK from India only speak Hindi, will that be a problem with immigration?

A couple of my relatives are going to UK for vacation, but they aren't fluent in English. They can understand English but can't speak it. They are going with a group in which people are fluent in ...
24 votes
9 answers
8k views

Is it considered rude if I present a list of pre-translated sentences?

I am about to visit Spain, mainly Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid. The problem is I do not speak Spanish at all. I am thinking to prepare a few pre-translated sentences in Spanish beforehand and ...
5 votes
3 answers
257 views

Attending a conference in Beijing with special dietary needs

There will be a three week international physics conference (taks in English) in Beijing that I might want to attend. Unfortately I'm a picky eater, being a vegetarian with a nut, peanut and raw soy ...
0 votes
1 answer
132 views

visiting mom from Romania to Canada

Anybody from Canada here? My mom ( 90 years old) wants to visit us in Canada, the only problem is that she does not speak any other languages except Romanian. Do they have translators at the airport? ...
30 votes
8 answers
9k views

How much Russian do I need to know for travelling within Russia?

Or alternatively - how well-spoken (and widely-spoken) is English? I intend to visit St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk and Vladivostok. I feel like I might have the most troubles in the latter two ...
13 votes
5 answers
20k views

Can Westerners use the free Wi-Fi at Guangzhou international airport?

My route home at the end of my trip will have me on a 4-hour connection at Guangzhou airport in China. I've read online that it's an unpleasant airport but it would be more bearable if I knew I would ...
5 votes
1 answer
493 views

Are the Finnish and Udmurt languages mutually intelligible?

As I know there is the one common language group, Finno-Ugrian, but I'm not sure if that means it is possible to go to Finland and speak to Finnish speakers with my Udmurt language knowledge.
91 votes
3 answers
22k views

What is a polite way to tell a Scottish person that I am struggling to understand his/her accent?

I am flying to Glasgow tomorrow. English isn't my mother tongue. In spite of living in London for the last 10 years, I still struggle with understanding different accents. My main concern about the ...
39 votes
7 answers
6k views

How to make sure that you get off at the correct bus stop in Thailand?

I find it extremely difficult to get off at the correct bus stop in Thailand, mainly for the reasons as: The bus stop usually doesn't have a recognizable sign on which stop it is. Thai characters and ...
29 votes
3 answers
7k views

Will I be understood in all Portuguese-speaking countries, if I learn Portuguese in Portugal?

I really like the Portuguese language, but if I want to be understood in all Portuguese speaking countries (e.g. Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique), would it be enough to speak "Portuguese" ...
1 vote
1 answer
194 views

Should I start conversations in Icelandic while travelling there? [closed]

I recently got back from another country and I had been learning that country's language for several years previously. That was the first international destination I had ever been to, but I plan to ...
4 votes
3 answers
7k views

Apps to call cabs/taxis in Germany for non-German speakers

I will be travelling to Germany next week. I don't speak German, only Portuguese and English. Are there mobile apps for me to call taxis in Germany (Frankfurt) in English, such as 99 and easy taxi? ...
34 votes
7 answers
97k views

If I travel to Paris, can I get by with just English?

If I plan on visiting Paris, but not really the rest of France, is it still important for me to learn at least enough French to get by? Are people in Paris going to be willing to speak English if they ...