Holidaying abroad? It’s Double Dutch to some!

BRITISH tourists are ditching the traditional phrasebook when abroad, preferring instead to translate the local language via their phones.

Getting in a round seems to be a priority for holiday-makers, according to a new survey, which shows that 28% of Brits, on their most recent overseas holiday, learned how to order drinks in the local lingo.

They also seem to live up to their polite stereotype, with 72% learning how to say “please” and “thank you” on their last holiday, and 69% were able to come and go, saying “hello” and “goodbye”.

However, more than 60% of people, aged from 16-34, say they’ve used their smartphones and apps, like Google Translate, to help understand the local language, and just 39% rely on a phrasebook.

But relying on technology brings its own perils, and 21% of that same age-group admit that an inaccurate translation on their phone has led to misunderstandings abroad.

Among the 2,000 UK adults surveyed for the British Council poll, across all age groups, 73% recognise the importance of learning a few foreign phrases when heading off on holiday.

Yet 65% still depend on locals being able to speak English, and 21% did not learn any foreign phrases at all for their most recent trip abroad: not even basic pleasantries!

Some 31% say they can hold a basic conversation in a foreign language, while 14% can speak a foreign language to a high standard.

Vicky Gough, Schools Adviser at the British Council, said: “It’s fantastic that so many of us are ready to give foreign languages a go, to make the most of our holidays. And smartphone technology can be a great first step in getting directions, and finding out basic information.

“However, this technology has its limits and can’t replicate the linguistic and cultural nuances of human conversation. In fact, as our survey shows, it can, potentially, lead to a whole new level of confusion, with phrases lost in translation.

“Ultimately, nobody wants to be stuck staring at their phone screen all holiday, so taking the time to learn a few phrases can pay dividends, even in the workplace.”

She added: “As the UK repositions itself on the world stage, more of us speaking bits of another language will be key to the country’s long-term competitiveness.

“With employers crying out for more language skills, we need to give language-learning the prominence it deserves. And trying out just a few words or phrases on holiday, and encouraging your children to practise their language skills this summer, is the perfect place to start.”



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Posted by on Aug 10 2018. Filed under Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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