Many Brits abroad struggle with language barriers when on holiday, according to new research that suggests a lot is ‘lost in translation’.
Research carried out by OnePoll on behalf of AA Financial Services discovered that one in five people has a ‘lost in translation moment’ on holiday that led to a tricky situation.
Furthermore, one in nine of the 2,000 people polled thought that everyone understands the English language – meaning they did not see the point in learning the native language of the place they were visiting.
Some 14% of people said they had no idea how to speak the native language of their destination country while 15% knew only the key phrases and 8% were reliant upon school taught languages.
This is obviously an issue for people looking to purchases goods abroad if they cannot understand what is being asked of them.
Breaking down language barriers
Only 41% of people would feel confident having a conversation in a shop while figure dropped to 37% in a restaurant.
More worryingly, less than a quarter of people would feel comfortable asking for directions in a foreign language.
“It can be challenging, not to mention a bit embarrassing when you’re trying to speak to somebody and neither of you can understand each other,” explained Mark Huggins, Managing Director of AA Financial Services.
“It can be particularly difficult if you need help with something important – such as when you’re paying for something or asking where you can withdraw cash or change money.
“You’ll often find that a little effort goes a long way, so if you try to converse with somebody in a language they understand it’ll most likely be appreciated.”
Considering prepaid options
One way to overcome purchasing issues is to use a prepaid travel card when visiting foreign countries.
These can be loaded up before travelling and the exchange rate will remain at the level of when the transfer was made.
The main positive to paying for goods in this manner is that it nullifies the need to carry large amounts of foreign currency around.
Alternatively, these cards can also be used at ATMs around the world to withdraw funds – but only the amount on the card can ever be spent.
A prepaid travel card can always be topped up if necessary while it can be replaced if lost or stolen without the funds being affected.
Additional security such as Chip and PIN can be included on these types of card although these additional measures can provide another hurdle to be overcome when it comes to reaching the checkout.