If you’re studying overseas – no matter where in the world you are – overcoming language barriers can be challenging. Whether it’s reading local textbooks, keeping up with lectures delivered in another language, or simply wanting to immerse yourself in the local culture during your studies, translating – and retaining meaning – is often difficult.
Martin Curtis, director, Palaver, explains how new technology can help students studying overseas to overcome these challenges and communicate confidently – ensuring seamless conversations.
Overcoming language barriers and building confidence
According to a recent survey conducted by Palaver, frustration (50%) and embarrassment (49%) are the top two emotions experienced when trying to speak local languages around the world.
Instead, we often rely on others to speak English – and although 1.5 billion people do, over 75% of the world’s population are not fluent – and it’s stunting our conversations as we try to communicate and connect with others across the globe. This is particularly true when studying abroad, as we rely on the ability to build new relationships to make ourselves feel connected and prevent loneliness.
However, if our primary languages differ from those around us, and we don’t share a fluent language, it can limit our cultural experiences, the opportunities available to us and the relationships we build.
When it comes to learning, studying alone can be challenging (without even considering the language differences). To get the most out of your education, wherever you’re studying, you need to take notes from lectures, read textbooks, take part in workshops and interact in seminars.
If you’re learning in another language, it presents a whole host of new challenges – as well as new opportunities. You need to ensure you can fully understand the meaning behind every lesson, message and piece of information to get the most out of your studies.
The same is true for international students – from countries such as India, Pakistan, South Korea and Nigeria, for example – who look to immerse themselves in European cultures and build and maintain close relationships with those around them, so they can ask for help from peers, revise with friends and feel truly included.
Changing technology, such as apps to live translate English
New technology is making these experiences even easier – whether it’s about studying, building relationships, experiencing different cultures or even communicating in an emergency situation.
If we’re unable to communicate properly, we’re unable to make the most out of our experiences – and it limits what we can learn. Even if you’re in the process of learning your new local language, it can still be difficult when you’re not able to speak fluently.
New technology from Palaver allows you to instantly translate notes and textbooks at the click of a button. You can simply take a photo of your textbook or lecture slides and translate this into your primary language with ease. This enables you to focus on the content of what you’re learning – rather than trying to understand what it means first. You can engage in real time, as if you’re learning in your mother tongue.
When it comes to group projects and presentations, this new technology also enables you to live translate your conversations – so you can participate as a team, no matter the language you speak.
This technology also spares you the expense and weight of translation books and dictionaries. It can hold all of your notes in one place – with no need to copy and paste between different apps.
2. Building connections and relationships
Communication is key to building and maintaining relationships – wherever you are in the world. When choosing to live in a foreign country, even temporarily during term time, we often worry about feeling lonely and isolated, especially when we don’t speak the local language fluently.
Building supportive and long-lasting connections are essential to feel connected with our surroundings – bear in mind, you’ll be meeting many other international students who may speak many different languages. You may even be looking for a part-time job during your education.
Palaver’s instant language translation tool – which is free to download – instantly translates your messages before the receiver reads them. The same goes for phone calls – you’ll speak in your mother tongue, and the receiver will listen in theirs, in real-time. There’s no need to rely on third-party translators or online language converter tools – Palaver enables confident and independent communication.
3. Experiencing different cultures
We don’t just study abroad for the lectures – it’s about the experience of immersing ourselves into a completely different culture. When living in a foreign country, you want to ensure you’re living your life to the fullest and learning all that you can. Many like to study abroad for independence and freedom, but remember – socialising, eating out and shopping are all part of your overall experience.
You’ll come across road signs, guides, maps and important instructions – even restaurant menus – all in the local language. New technology can build your confidence when travelling around and exploring different cities – and remember, no extra weight as it’s all on your phone.
4. Communicating in an emergency
We often don’t like to think about it, but unfortunately, accidents and emergencies can happen – no matter where you are. It’s easy to panic, even in your home country. When you’re abroad, the thought can be even more daunting.
Palaver’s instant and accurate – free to download – translation app ensures you’re prepared for any situation, enabling you to communicate clearly and efficiently in over 30 different languages, without any misunderstandings.
Removing language barriers, for the benefit of all
Palaver’s free language translation tool allows you to instantly and seamlessly translate into over 30 different languages, whenever and wherever you are in the world. Whether you’re making a phone call, sending a text message or reading an image, Palaver can help – helping to replicate a natural, flowing conversation.
Everything said or typed within the app is anonymous and confidential, and there’s no record of your conversation, so you can speak freely and with confidence.
It’s important to stay connected with all that’s around you.