With English among the most spoken languages in the world, we are often complacent in learning even basic travel phrases before visiting another country.
Not only is learning basic phrases in the language of your destination useful, but it will also earn you more respect. As Americans, we tend to be viewed as generally ethnocentric when we travel abroad.
Grab the phrasebook and re-define the stereotype by learning some key phrases before your trip.
The Importance of Communication
Obviously, communication is necessary as far as logistics and navigation when you are traveling to a new or unfamiliar area. Perhaps more importantly though, it is necessary for meaningful connection.
Learning a few words and phrases specific to the country you are visiting provides you with more confidence, particularly if you are traveling solo. What if you get lost or find yourself in an emergency?
Even if the locals speak some English, putting in a bit of effort to speak their language is sure to be highly regarded. You will find that you are more likely to be included and invited to celebrations, gatherings, and events you may have missed out on otherwise.
Learning a Language is Good for Business
Did you know that Americans make up less than five percent of the world’s population? If you’re doing business abroad, making an effort to speak a bit of the local language is particularly important. It helps with cultivating trust and rapport with international colleagues.
Along with learning the language, be sure to do your research on norms and expectations in the workplace. Things like standards of dress, time off, and working hours vary significantly in other countries.
Travel Phrases to Know Before You Go
Regardless of where you are traveling to for your business trip, here are some of our top suggestions of phrases to focus on learning in the language of your destination.
- Thank you
- Excuse me
- I’m sorry
- You’re welcome
- I don’t understand
- Do you speak English?
Navigating the Airport
- Which gate?
- I missed my flight
- My bag is lost
- Where is the bathroom?
- Where is the currency exchange?
- I have a connecting flight
- I need a taxi
At the Hotel
- What floor is my room on?
- What time is check-in/check-out
- Is breakfast included?
- What’s the WiFi password?
- Where is the elevator?
- Can you call a taxi?
- How much does it cost?
- What time is it?
- Where is…?
- Is it far?
- Straight ahead
- Next to
- Across from
Key Phrases for Business Relations
- My name is…
- I am from…
- Nice to meet you
- What time is the meeting?
- I look forward to working with you
Do Your Business Needs Outweigh Your Linguistic Ability?
Even with classroom time, local immersion, and an array of online apps, language fluency is no easy feat.
Fortunately, services such as Lingodoc are available if your office is conducting business abroad. High-quality, multi-lingual communication adds value and helps bridge the gap between you and the needs of your client.
Learning basic travel phrases as a courtesy may be enough for international business trips if English is widely spoken among your clients and colleagues. If not, take advantage of professional translation services to ensure your communications are up to par.
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