Questions tagged [language-barrier]

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

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24 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
838 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 ...
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14 votes
9 answers
9k 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 ...
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  • 273
24 votes
6 answers
10k 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 ...
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1 vote
3 answers
247 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 ...
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12 votes
3 answers
3k 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, ...
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5 votes
2 answers
156 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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
2k 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 (...
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21 votes
9 answers
9k 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 ...
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  • 313
3 votes
1 answer
97 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 ...
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  • 161
8 votes
2 answers
579 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 ...
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8 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
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13 votes
6 answers
4k 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 ...
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60 votes
9 answers
8k views

What exactly is a marshrutka (маршрутка)?

Hеllo аll, Recently I was in Nizhny Novgorod (Нижний Новгород). I spoke with some Russians and they told me that there are two types of buses in Nizhny Novgorod - "normal buses" and marshrutky (...
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4 votes
1 answer
171 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 ...
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  • 1,537
48 votes
12 answers
13k 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 ...
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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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
115 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? ...
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3 votes
3 answers
236 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
383 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.
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20 votes
9 answers
7k 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 ...
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20 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
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  • 1,015
5 votes
3 answers
268 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
181 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 ...
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  • 11
27 votes
8 answers
10k views

Language used at passport control in Frankfurt international airport

I will travel soon to Germany to attend a workshop at a university in Würzburg. The workshop is taught entirely in English. This is my first visit to Germany and I speak very little German. I was ...
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61 votes
10 answers
23k 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 ...
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5 votes
0 answers
148 views

Do speakers of less-common languages find it harder to understand foreigners? [closed]

I, as a native speaker of English, am quite familiar with the pronunciation quirks of people of many different nationalities when they speak English. I have heard in passing people from probably half ...
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  • 650
0 votes
1 answer
144 views

What languages to get by with in most of the world? [duplicate]

When traveling it is a great experience to talk to locals and make friends. Sometimes also emergencies and unforeseen situations require one to ask for help and seek assistance. In most cases of ...
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  • 2,801
5 votes
1 answer
114 views

Portuguese phrasebook using IPA

I'm looking for a European Portuguese phrasebook that uses IPA. A major problem with most phrasebooks is that they attempt to describe pronunciation with some pseudo-phonetical approximation in a ...
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  • 51.2k
1 vote
0 answers
162 views

A really really shy question about language [closed]

In four months I'll set off for my first solo travel, at the age of 18. I'll stay in Bern for about 4 days, and of course I'm not enough wealthy for booking in a B&B or a hotel. My only option is ...
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57 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 ...
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  • 2,801
6 votes
2 answers
729 views

How easy is it for an English only speaker to navigate Iceland [duplicate]

I am visiting Iceland in July and am interested in knowing how difficult it will be for an English and Spanish speaker to navigate the country?
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  • 69
24 votes
8 answers
8k views

Friend is worried about language barrier at airport in France

A friend of mine is worried about missing her flight home when she travels to Paris. Her thinking is that there will be a language barrier and she will miss the announcements for her flight in French. ...
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7 votes
2 answers
699 views

How to request for translator at Australian Border Control in advance?

How can one request for a translator of a certain language to be present at Sydney Airport's border control, while travelling to Australia?
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  • 8,399
10 votes
2 answers
514 views

How useful is Azerbaijani language in Iran?

I am planning to visit Iran soon and, unfortunately, I don't speak a word of Persian. As an Azerbaijani, I am curious whether I should try to speak to people there Azerbaijani or English, given the ...
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  • 1,948
10 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
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15 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 ...
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  • 534
6 votes
2 answers
402 views

Do I have to learn to read the greek alphabet if I go to Greece?

I am traveling to Rhodes and I guess that in touristic places I am not going to have to much problem but I was wondering if I'll have some trouble if I go to a restaurant or to visit some not that ...
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  • 948
22 votes
4 answers
5k views

In which countries in Asia is Mandarin more understood than English?

I'm bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese, and I'm planning to go backpacking around Asia (Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, etc). It seems that ...
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  • 393
5 votes
1 answer
402 views

How likely is it to get a phone call on Didi ("Uber in China")?

I travel for China now but it is sometimes hard to get a taxi here (I'm in Chongqing) since the driver can deny the route he doesn't like. So I would rather try Didi, a clone of Uber in China (I have ...
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  • 14.6k
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

"Booking" nightclubs for solo tourists in their thirties

I've heard about booking nightclubs in Korea, where you can pay a waiter to bring over someone of the opposite sex. I'd like to try it, but I've got a couple of questions. I'll be 38 when I go over ...
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  • 22.8k
4 votes
1 answer
224 views

English phrases used in airports, to translate in the language of one's choice

Is there any website, with "sample" phrases in English, to translate that can be used in airports, to assist seniors who don't speak English?
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5 votes
1 answer
339 views

Why can't I skip on-plane announcements on the IFE, in langauges I don't speak?

Recently I was flying on a middle-eastern airline, which offered "gate-to-gate" in-flight entertainment (IFE). I started watching a film shortly after getting to my seat. Once everyone was on board, ...
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  • 61.7k
9 votes
6 answers
6k views

Getting around in Thailand without knowing Thai

I'm going to Thailand in a few days and am wondering if it is possible to get around without knowing any Thai. Maybe I was a bit naive not to think about this in advance, but do you have any tips, ...
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  • 333
38 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 ...
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  • 14.6k
11 votes
4 answers
729 views

Planning to go to Georgia, but I only speak English; will that be a problem?

I am planning to go to Georgia. I know only the English language. Will I have any language problems with local people? Can anyone help me out?
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  • 111
59 votes
7 answers
15k views

How to know if a meal was cooked with or contains alcohol?

In the restaurants that I have been to, the menus usually indicate if an item has things like peanuts, eggs, is vegetarian, or contains raw meat. In some Asian restaurants, menu items are also given ...
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22 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 ...
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  • 807
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

I don't speak Chinese. Will I encounter any problems going through customs in Beijing?

I will be flying to Chongquing (CKG) through Beijing (PEK) with a Chinese friend to visit his home. I am American and speak practically no Chinese. Will I have any trouble going through customs in ...
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  • 193
16 votes
5 answers
13k 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 ...
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  • 649