Brits unfazed by language barriers on their trips abroad

While many globetrotters think nothing of brushing up on the rudiments of a foreign language before they head off on their trip abroad, it seems that Brits are unfazed when it comes to any potential language barriers they may face on their visit to foreign climes.

A survey commissioned by i-interpret4u, a new personal telephone interpreting service for holidaymakers, revealed that a third of UK travellers risk offending locals in their holiday destination of choice by resorting to hand gestures, speaking loudly and slowly, or even pretending they are able to follow a conversation, in order to communicate, rather than put in the time to learn the basics of a foreign language.

The poll of over 1,000 Britons also revealed that women were more likely than men to use this tactless approach whilst on their travels. The majority (83%) of those questioned had visited destinations where they had no knowledge of the local language, while more than half (53%) of UK travellers argued that were unconcerned by language barriers based on the assumption that English is spoken in most countries. In fact, a staggering 82% of the world’s population don’t speak English.

For those who do attempt to learn the basics of a foreign language, 61% hope that knowing that odd word or two will be enough to steer them safely through their visit. 17% of those surveyed have been to a country where they didn’t know the language, while 4% deliberately avoided visiting a destination for this reason. More worrying still is the fact that while many Brits don’t have basic foreign language skills, just 10% feel they would be unable to communicate in an emergency situation.

Michael French, Director at i-interpret4u said: “There are misconceptions about the number of people that speak English abroad; the fact is 5.7 billion people don’t; so the chance of encountering a language barrier whilst overseas is very high. The British are notoriously laid-back about learning a second language, most people just hope to get by on a wing and a prayer and that isn’t the safest option if you are travelling with a young family or elderly relative.”

If you are heading off on holiday in 2013, it is important to secure travel insurance whichever destination you are travelling to.

Date Created: 20 March 2013

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