Imagine not being able to understand what someone else was saying? Now imagine if that person was someone you were dating. Well, for me that was a reality several years ago. I had met someone at a coffee shop and we did not speak the same language.
We communicated with hand gestures and Google translate. Somehow we each left with the others Instagram and WhatsApp contact information. That quickly led to texts and messages back and forth that were 95% emojis.
It was a wild experience and nothing I would have ever imagined I would have done but it was an amazing experience. I figured it might be something that would be of interest to some so I decided to blog about my experience.
Had to Know Potential Existed
It started off as playful messages but we soon learned that we had a lot in common in terms of beliefs and goals. That was exciting. So we couldn’t speak properly at first. Big deal, right? LOL. Small details.
After a while it was time to either make an effort to bridge the communication gap or put an end to it because it became quite challenging. I felt like there was true potential so we decided to really make an effort to be able to read, speak, and understand each other.
Text Messaging and Email Became Easiest Communication Route
WhatsApp was the main communication channel. We would also email a lot. This allowed us to copy and paste messages into Google translate, which seemed to handle short messages ok.
It was good enough to be able to have a somewhat understanding of what each person was saying. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was a start. Emojis helped as well. They really are the universal language we all understand.
Used a Translation Service to Help Learn
While Google translate was ok at first, it’s really only good for short messages. For longer conversations, like emails, a translator service was better. Getting transcripts professionally translated helped me learn the language. Actually, it forced me to learn it and seeing it this way helped me retain what I learned.
There are plenty of services available like AT IT Translation that will translate whatever you want. It’s important to figure out what works best for you and how you learn more efficiently.
Self-Taught Audio Learning
You might laugh, but I bought Rosetta Stone. It actually worked very well and when I combined that with the translation service it really fast tracked my learning.
The key was making sure to learn every day. I carved an hour out every evening and made it a point to learn as much as possible. It might not sound ideal, but you can learn fairly quickly when you remain consistent. Also, since I had incentive to learn it made the process a bit more tolerable I think.
Visited His Country
There is nothing that will help you learn a new language better than actually spending time there and listening to people talk and trying to communicate yourself.
We took a few trips and each time I found myself understanding more and being able to communicate at higher levels. By the third trip I felt like I could handle my own pretty well!
Alice Wells runs a popular food and cooking podcast and also blogs about all things delicious in her spare time.