Conquering Language Barriers When Traveling to Southeast Asia
eeting new people, seeing new cultures, tasting new food, anything can be called as an illuminating experience for being a traveler. And yes, world knows that Southeast Asia is a perfect place to do it, since there are so many unique and distinct ethnic cultures and the sheer amount of traditions, religions, colour of the region boats and so on. Experience this part of the world might be a wonderful journey to make.
Discovering a new corner of the globe is always be a wonderful thing to do. But it can be challenging to navigate, especially when you have to deal with language barriers. Luckily, there are few ways to make it easier to help you connect with people you meet along the way. These are some of the tips for travelers, when you can get a more in-depth cultural experience with the local people, even in rural or urban areas alike.
1. Pay attention to body language
Body language accounts for around 90% of communication. It explained how non-verbal communication affects are truly global with its own way to matters when you communicate with other people. In Southeast Asia, there are plenty of ways that body language is different.
The classic hand gesture most of us use to beckon someone can be considered rude in Thailand and Vietnam. Smiles, hellos and simple nods can go along the way of conversation with anybody. Things like touching and eye contact might be vary a bit, but it’s pretty easy to get a handle on what’s appropriate and what’s not by seeing what others do. Paying close attention, it make much easier to break down the barriers between you and the locals.
2. Carry a notebook
Sometimes, it's hard to explain by word or by gesture about what exactly you need or you wanted to do – since we know that sometimes you find it’s hard to get the internet connection. You might need to visualize something to make it easier to be understood and helps you to communicate. Some helpful symbols are fairy universal, for example, symbols that we often see in public area such as airport, bus/train station. Studying up these symbols before the trip abroad can help you out from the confusion of explanation. All you need is trying to be little Picasso and sketch it out instead!
3. Learn to say and listen
Plenty of locals in Southeast Asian Countries are not used to hearing their language spoken in strong accents, and it simply can’t be understood even with passable accents. The best phrases to learn are not actually vocabulary, but how to ask what something is. You may practice to say “how do you say this” or “what is this called” instead of saying that without asking somebody else first. Since you can hear the right pronunciation from the locals, this also open up line of communication between you and them.
4. Carry multi-language maps
Some of the countries in Southeast Asia, for example Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, has their own languages entirely different, not just in spoken but also in written. The differences can make a huge confusion since you are not really common with those things. Then it might be a huge challenge for you in overcoming the navigating, since many maps that are given to tourist are written in standard alphabet English speakers can read.
You might be able to pronounce, but you might find it hard to match them with signs on the road. That is why carrying a multi-language maps will help you overcome this kind of situation. Keep an eye on the map you’re taking with you, which should have both languages written together. Then, you can both read them and match them with what you are seeing.
5. Travel with Local Guide
Tour guides can help you to bridge with local, not just with the language which is the biggest barriers but also with the custom as well. Sometimes, it helps you to build the bridge between you and the community, educate you on how to best interact with locals in a respectful and friendly way, and lead you to an amazing experience of foreign culture. All in all, tour guide is the best link to local culture.
Ready to travel around Southeast Asia?
Source : buffalotours.com