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One in five Brits has a ‘lost in translation’ moment on holiday

And this despite the fact that many will have toyed with European languages at secondary school and are equipped with guide books that contain a few essential phrases for their destination of choice. According to research conducted by AA Financial Services one in five has had a ‘lost in translation’ moment on holiday. This comes as no surprise when you consider the fact that 14% confess to having no idea how to speak the language in their holiday destination, while 15% only know a few key phrases and 8% rely on language taught at school.

A mistaken 11% also feel that there is no need to brush up on their foreign language skills as everybody speaks English anyway. This attitude was most prevalent in respondents aged over 45, while fairly recent school-leavers (18-24 year olds) are most likely to speak another language.

The research also reveals that just 5% of us have learnt a language for a holiday, while only a fraction feel comfortable about speaking a foreign language in following situations: In a shop (41%), at the doctors/hospital (14%), in a restaurant (37%), at a garage (11%), asking for directions (22%), none of the above (46%). Commenting on the figures, Mark Huggins, Managing Director of AA Financial Services, said: “It can be challenging, not to mention a bit embarrassing when you’re trying to speak to somebody and neither of you can understand each other.

“It can be particularly difficult if you need help with something important – such as when you’re paying for something or asking where you can withdraw cash or change money. “You’ll often find that a little effort goes a long way, so if you try to converse with somebody in a language they understand it’ll most likely be appreciated. It will likely be more helpful than the ‘speaking louder and pointing’ tactic.”

If you are heading off on holiday in the coming months, it is important to organise travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 22 May 2014

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