Vacationing in a place with few English speakers

Vacationing in a place with few English speakers
I am vacationing in Taiwan right now. I only speak English aside from my native language which is Filipino. Taiwan people speaks Chinese and iI don't know what type or dialect. Anyway, the issue is communication. In ordering food, it is not difficult as long as there is a menu with English text. But if pure Chinese then we have to ask. However, the attendant doesn't know English so what is delivered on my table is not what I ordered. In taking a taxi, I am ready with a piece of paper where the destination is written in Chinese. That's the trick. Ask the hotel concierge for assistance in that issue. Overall, my vacation is going great since I am getting used to describing what I need in hand gesture, be it food, drinks or even the bathroom. Maybe next time I have to learn conversational language of the place where I am going to if there are no English speakers. That would save me in exerting too much effort.


This is always a barrier for a lot of people looking to vacation in other countries. The stress of communication is not a joke,you sometimes turn to a deaf and dumb person halfway because sometimes they can't even read what has been written and one is forced to use sign language. I will just suggest if one intend to vacation in a non English destination a few months before departure some often used language of the vacation country should be learned to ease the stress and hassle associated with language problem.
Posted by lovely on 10-30-2017
When we go somewhere we usually have someone there who speaks the language to get us situated and to help us with things like that. If you like to travel without knowing people there first while it intensifies the adventure, isn't really the best thing to do for your safety as well as ease. If you do, however, end up going in blind then I may sound cliche, but google translate really really helps even if the conversation is one way and you just write what you want and show it to them. Just make sure that you download the offline packages for that particular language and if you don't know which dialect people speak there simply google it since it's worth billions for a reason.
Posted by AlexHarris on 10-30-2017
This wouldn't exactly be a problem for me because I wouldn't care much about it... After all, I would take advantage to get to know the place in my own way (and I can do this without having to talk to people).
Posted by wiseagent on 10-30-2017
I always learn a few phrases wherever I am going so I can communicate. As for Taiwan, they speak a dialect of Mandarin but most hotels should have some staff who speak English for tourists and business people. It's never put me off, but I always try to have a phrase book and learn the names of a few dishes because I am vegetarian and need to make sure I can find something to eat.
Posted by Alexa on 10-30-2017
It is not an easy thing to take vacation in a place with few English speakers , the best thing is to always have your vacation where English is well spoken for easier communication with the people that you will meet there.
Posted by babyright on 10-30-2017
Going to a new place where few people speak your language is always hard. Still, communications have the power of being very flexible. I think that anyone could convey basic messages through even if it didn't speak the local language
Posted by Marvadaum on 10-30-2017
Common sense dictates to not vacation, holiday or visit a place where little English is spoken until you learn to speak the native tongue. You don't have to be proficient or prolific at it, but at least know enough of the basics to communicate with passers by, waiters, hotel staff, and most local functionaries.
Posted by NickJ on 10-30-2017
I don't see it as a big deal and in fact, it makes things more exciting and a challenge. Also, on top of that, it's an excellent opportunity to learn another language. Note, immersion is one of or maybe the best way to learn.
Posted by jyy on 10-30-2017
I think it is extremely harder to be in places where people don't know English. It gets harder as you spend time among them. You can see that it'd make you a bit odd among them. And you have to reach for people who do understand English. Because otherwise it'd be unreasonable that it may lead to many tangent talks and may not be even relevant as well. That's what I have learned.
Posted by overcast on 10-31-2017
This can definitely be a problem at times in case you have some urgency. Maybe you could have bought a translation book and this might have helped. Before visiting Romania some years back I learnt a bit about the language on the internet. Communication is really important to me. When I visit any country I like to interact with the locals to know about their cultures, traditions and their country. Anyway enjoy your holiday.
Posted by Pixie on 10-31-2017
It's difficult especially with certain languages that aren't as popular as others because it's hard to find a translator. For example, if you are going to France then you won't have a huge problem because there are a lot of French translator apps available which makes it a lot easier. Of course, it may be a good idea like you said to learn some common phrases before visiting another country so that you can truly enjoy it.
Posted by kingcool52 on 10-31-2017
At least try to utilize google translate and its features and you'll be surprised to know how convenient this app is. Gone were the days when language barrier was an issue for travelers. Language should no longer be an issue and should not be a hindrance to have a good time in other countries regardless if the natives speak English or not.
Posted by johnrajiv123 on 11-01-2017
That is great that you have figured out how to communicate when you are in a country where you do not speak their language. It is good that you feel comfortable to travel to countries like that. I don't think that I could do it. I am a bit of a shy person and it would really cause me a lot of stress to be in a country where I could not communicate with the people there. It would make me feel nervous and uneasy. I don't mind travelling anywhere that I know the language though.
Posted by Sue on 11-01-2017
I haven't really visited a place where there were few English speakers, but I don't think it's going to be a huge issue. You can learn a few phrases and internet will help you find what you need, nowadays everything is on the web. I don't think it is a major issue, the language barrier can be annoying but it won't stop you from enjoying your stay.
Posted by Tania997 on 11-01-2017
I have not been to many countries. I have been to India and China. When I was in India, I did not have difficulty with communication because in India English is one of the primary languages. Furthermore, I also new Hindi, another primary language in India. In China, there was some difficulties. Because the Chinese did no speak my language, I did not speak Chinese and the Chinese understood English very little.
Posted by vinaya on 11-01-2017
It's better to go to places where the communication isn't an issue. I know that it's good to places like Taiwan but you should be prepared to come up with notes on everything that you want to do and want to say and have it translated in Chinese or whatever language they have. But if I'm gonna do vacation, I do prefer a country that can speak English so I can say whatever I want without having a hard time saying it. Might as well, try to visit all the good places in your own country before visiting others.
Posted by ColdFlameChris on 11-01-2017
I think I wouldn't go to a place where I couldn't even order food. I speak some other languages other than English so if people in the country I'd visit spoke them it wouldn't be a problem. However, if I went to Taiwan like you I wouldn't be able to do much, it would even be difficult to talk to hotel stuff and to go to a restaurant. That would make my vacations very stressful and I wouldn't like them to be like that.
Posted by felabruno on 11-02-2017
At such places one should opt for package holidays where the tour representative takes care of all the needs. We came across people in Germany and France who refused to speak in English. Fortunately we had our representative who saw to it that we were comfortable and this did not come in the way of our enjoying our holiday
Posted by iamawriter on 11-03-2017
Well, it's really good that you're having that new experience. In as much as it is going to be hard to relate freely with people that doesn't understand your language, which is English, learning their culture and other things will help to change what you really thought about the people of Taiwan before embarking on such journey. So, this is an experience that you should feel at home at and enjoy to its fullness.
Posted by Barida on 11-03-2017
Being able to speak basic language of the country you are visiting for the first time is really helpful and enjoyable. That is why I would have a chance of going to other countries I would first study common phrases like saying greetings, asking directions, places, foods, and other simple phrases used conversations.
Posted by vhinz on 11-10-2017
Have never had the experience of vacationing in a non-English speaking place. But I would hope that those electronic translators would come in handy if I did. I have always thought if I were going to a location where the people did not speak much English, I would make sure that I brought an electronic translator along.
Posted by foxchannel on 11-25-2017
Well, I'm a Spanish native speaker, and I've had the chance to travel abroad, and going out there knowing just Spanish, that's a challenge for sure. Thank God I've learned English, because you can fin someone that speaks it eventually. But when I was in Greece, Croatia, and Italy, I had to became master of sign language, because it was really hard to find someone who knew English. Can't deny that can be frustrating, and I got angry too, but also it was really funny to see people doing thousands of signs with me, some even did some weird sounds haha.
Posted by ballyhara on 11-26-2017
It is fine to me but first, I must learn the languages of the people in that place where I am have some vacation. Because if I will not do this, it is hard to ask people where I must go. I don't have so much time finding english people. I will also bring a language handbook of that place so if I forgot something, I can be save by the handbook language. If you want to continue for your vacation in an unfamiliar place with a few english speakers, you must study first their culture and dialects.
Posted by blank629 on 12-10-2017
I find it hard to communicate when traveling to places like China or Taiwan because not too many people speak English and even when they do, they typically speak in their accent which sometimes makes English sound Chinese. My trick is to print the written Chinese for the commonly used travel phrases and and flash them before the sales person or driver. I wouldn't dare speak them because Mandarin has four tones and syllables can take on a different meaning when spoken using a different tone. I think it is worth the effort to prepare for the trip by learning the basics of the country's language. Traveling doesn't come cheap and we'd want to make the most of it.

It is improving lately though as many countries open their doors to international business and tourism and are learning English to communicate on a basic level with tourists. Many good hotels have English speaking staff but if you go to the market and local restaurants, or if you're the brave type who would want to have a taste of local delicacies, you have to be prepared to communicate using the native tongue. It would be a lot easier if you have a friend or relative on these places. My sister used to study and work in Taiwan so she was there to guide us on her off hours.
Posted by chatbox on 12-12-2017
For me I guess it good for us, and for me it's okay since I'm not good or fluent in speaking English but I still love it and I'm having fun of it. Although I can express my whole feelings and hard to say those other words because actually English language is not our tradition language. But I know just a little bit about it and I'm mastering it right now.
Posted by mar06 on 01-14-2018
This is one of the adventures you need to take because you are going to experience something you don't have any experience on. Being in a country where people speak few English will be a sign for you to learn any basic phrases of their native language. It will help you to have this connection with locals and at the same time, you will learn about their culture because that what is travel about.
Posted by vivalavanda on 03-13-2018
We were advised to list down some common words and phrases that we can use in China during our trip to Beijing. But unfortunately, I inadvertently left the list and I thought of relying on the internet for the translation. But unfortunately, Google and Facebook are banned in China so we were really helpless. What we did was to learn from the hotel’s concierge and that’s all we had. But fortunately, the Chinese are generally friendly and hospitable to assist us in our needs.
Posted by Corzhens on 07-06-2018
Well there's always a first and i bet the second time would be much more fun. I recommend you use an app translator from google or any app that suits your needs. You can use this just to make sure that the language barrier is much lighter and can somehow more of a conversation than a sign language. These tech comes with a smartphone or a stand alone device, you can try searching it from online stores or malls.
Posted by fishbate on 04-24-2018
I would absolutely hate this with a passion. I look at vacation time as a time where I relax, I really would not like to start struggling to communicate my needs.Because it is time for me to rest I require excellent service and I don't expect to be using hand language or struggling to get around. Any Country that wants to attract tourists must make provision for people coming from other countries. I know some people don't mind but for me it's no fun going somewhere where people can't provide proper service because they don't know what you want. However people are different some people don't mind.
Posted by jaymish on 07-12-2018
I've also experienced that when we went to Hong Kong. I didn't think that the locals there struggle in speaking in English because they are a known tourist spot. I thought that keywords coupled with gestures will be enough. So we ended up asking our fellow Filipinos who work there. It's good that there were many of them. To be honest, we didn't prepare for any basics of the language but we're able to get by and enjoyed the vacation. Everything was already set before we went there so it wasn't a major problem for us.
Posted by Chinet23 on 07-31-2018
I have done this a few times and prefer not to have to deal with it again in my next vacation destinations but I get that sometimes the place you want to go to means that it will be necessary to deal with such a thing. I just feel it's a much easier time when you can communicate more easily with everyone but if the place you want to go to doesn't cater much to the English language but it's still somewhere that's very attractive to go to then it's worth the sacrifice and I think it's not too bad to deal with it anyway and I would only consider it a minor complaint.
Posted by Wubwub on 11-16-2018
Well, i recently visited Thailand and te main language that the people in Thailand speak is Thai. However being one of the leading tourist destination people do speak some amount of English. It is always better to carry a paper with written translation of the most important and useful words that you may require during your visit. Even if the educated class does understand English , you will definitely have to deal with common people like shop keepers , taxi drivers etc. who may not understand English.
Posted by jpk0007 on 12-06-2018
It's always nice if we are able to communicate with the local people easily. As Chinese, I can speak and read Chinese, hence I have no problem when I visited Taiwan. When I went for a business trip, some of my colleagues didn't speak Chinese though they are Chinese or look like Chinese, they found it quite difficult as they were expected to know Chinese, but they didn't. They told me how inconvenient it is, especially when I was not with them. I haven't visit any places which do not speak Chinese or English, so I don't have such experience. Glad that we have mobile phone now, so perhaps we can translate what we want to say in the language when we go traveling.
Posted by kaka135 on 12-16-2018