Connect with locals without using english
Especially while traveling, but also when you meet non-native English speakers in your own country communication can get difficult depending on the English level. I am not a native English speaker myself, and from my personal experience there are a couple of tools out there that help communication imensly. In this post I have put together my 7 different ways of communication, to be used when just using English isn’t enough to get your point across.
If you are traveling, it definitely makes sense to learn the basics of the language of the country you are visiting. Knowing how to say “thank you” and “hello” in as many languages as possible can go a long way when you talk to other people. You will realize that the person you are trying to talk to will be much more open to you if you make an effort of talking in their language. This is the first of seven different ways of communication.
How can you learn the basics in many languages? There’s an app for that.

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Phrasebook App

The Phrasebook app is a great way to learn some basics, but can also be used to get your point across by having the app speak for you. It is available for the following languages:
German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Greek, Arabic, Indonesian, Dutch, Hindi
Connect with locals without using english
You just download the language package and then you can use it offline. Very convenient for traveling or when you are planning on meeting foreigners in your own country.

2. Use Gestures and Act it Out

Connect with locals without using english

Even if the person you are talking to doesn’t understand the words you are saying you can make yourself understood by using gestures. If you are looking for a restaurant act like you are eating and drinking. People usually want to understand you and they will make an effort if you do. And don’t be shy about looking silly. That’s what makes life fun.

That being said, my second of seven different ways of communication is to use gestures and act it out.

3. Draw a Picture

Connect with locals without using english
And if gestures aren’t enough, draw a picture. For that reason having a pen and paper at hand can be very helpful. If you don’t have one there are drawing apps in the app store to be used when you communicate. My third of seven different ways of communication is to draw a picture.

4. Use Google Translate

When communication gets difficult and you feel like you are not making yourself understood, you can also use the Google Translate App in many cases. Just write the sentence you want to say, and let Google Translate do its job. You can show the result to the person you are trying to talk to. They can write the answer on Google Translate and you can read it.

Connect with locals without using english

You can find the information where to download Google Translate on iTunes. According to the description, you can use the translate function in 52 languages offline. I have to try that. The fourth different way of communication is to use Google Translate.

By the way, not only for communicating but also when trying to read a foreign sign or menu Google Translate is very helpful. Just take a picture within the app and Google Translate will tell you the translation of the words in your picture. It’s like magic.

5. Communicate Through Pictures

If you are ever in a situation where you don’t have any language in common with another person you can use one of the below communication tools. My fifth of seven different ways of communication is to use communication tools and communicate through pictures.

Just point on the icon of whatever you are looking for and get pointed in the right direction. No matter if it is a taxi, a toilet or an ice cream.
The same concept to the t-shirt but a little bit more detailed is this wordless travel book. This book can also be bought as a paperback or Kindle e-book on

Just a thought, but these make great presents for other traveler friends!

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6. Bring Pictures of your Home

This sixth tip is really more aimed at travelers. Make a little book with pictures of yourself, your family and home and other interesting things about your country like places you have been to and local food. It will make it easier to connect on a personal level with other people even when it is difficult to describe these things in words. As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

7. Print and Point at Icons on my Communication Sheet

The Social Travel Experiment Visual Communication Sheet FREE Printable

Similar to the fifth way of communication is the seventh way of communication, but completely FREE. If you sign up below to my newsletter you will get this Free Visual Communication Sheet to print out and take with you on your next trip. (You also get access to other useful free printables in my exclusive content library)

If you are ever trying to talk to a local who has trouble understanding you just take out your Free Visual Communication Sheet, point at the icon related to what you are trying to say and you will see communication will go smoothly right away.

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If you want to learn where and how to meet locals we have two more posts for you:
These were my seven different ways of communication when speaking English just isn’t enough. Do you have any more ways of communication I should add to this post? Let me know in the comments below!

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How to communicate without using English. 7 helpful tips on how to talk to people more effectively when they are having trouble understanding English. #Communication #Languagelearning #English #Learningalanguage #Communicationtips


Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

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