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No generation has been linked with the rest of the planet like we are today. It’s already a cliche, but the world has really become small. It’s so easy to get in touch with anyone, to share ideas, work together, and do various stuff. People from our social networks have become like neighbors. That’s just wonderful—unless there are language barriers to spoil everything.

Language barriers are falling increasingly thanks to tech innovations, but they may still exist in our heads. That’s a real pain, not just some imaginary issue. Luckily, we can do a lot to deal with and completely overcome language barriers, and that’s not as hard as it seems.

Situations when you can face language barriers in communication

Actually, you can face language barriers anywhere. You can feel unable to communicate while walking the street and having someone ask you for directions in another language. Or while experiencing trouble with a global service. For instance, you can suddenly find out that your PayPal account is blocked, and the only way to resolve the issue is to call customer service by phone.

The situations I just mentioned may not happen quite often. But others take place quite frequently. Most commonly, language barriers appear at work. The world is more connected than ever, and you probably either work or will be working someday for an international firm. Or, if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, you may get a chance to cooperate with people from all around the world. Even if most of the work you do only requires the use of your first language, you might get a chance to meet with foreign colleagues or partners and share ideas with them. That’s when language barriers seem incredibly hard to pass, and you typically have little time to do anything about it.

Another typical situation that may include a language barrier is while you study abroad. Going to a college or university in another country can be very exciting and change your life in good ways. You might get to see new places, enjoy local festivals, and try different kinds of food. But, if you don’t know the local language well, it can cause some problems. Following along in lectures or comprehending your textbooks and assignments might become difficult tasks.

Socializing could also become more complicated. It might be tough to join group discussions or collaborate on projects if you’re not comfortable with the language. You could feel left out when you don’t catch cultural references or jokes among peers. In more severe cases, these language barriers could lead to stress over your academic performance, feelings of isolation because making friends is tougher, and difficulty in adapting to and enjoying the new culture.

Of course, you’ll most likely face a language barrier during travel. Most of us love to travel to distant destinations and manage to deal with most situations without issues. But things don’t always go according to plans. Perhaps, during your summer trip, you’ll experience some weird symptoms and have to visit a doctor’s office. Language barriers could get in the way and lower your ability to explain the symptoms, which may lead to inadequate diagnosis or treatment.

Or you could experience an emergency or even a crime. No one wants this to happen, but when it happens, communication is the key to staying calm, cooperating with authorities and providers, and helping people around you.

Four ways to overcome linguistic barriers

If you got worried while reading the previous section, now it’s time to relax. There are plenty of ways that make dealing with language barriers fairly easy. It goes without saying that you should start learning the local language of the country in which you’ll be staying, working, or studying as soon as possible. The next best thing is to learn English, no matter where you go. However, the process of language learning doesn’t have to be hard, and you can use many shortcuts to aid communication.

Machine translation apps

If you’re not looking to impress someone with your language skills and only want to communicate as easily as possible, just take your phone and use Google Translate, Deepl, or any other translation app.

Machine translation apps are a nice tool to break language barriers. They provide any kind of translation in the blink of an eye. Depending on the app, you can type the content you don’t understand or just record it and get it transcribed in seconds. This makes communication easy no matter which language you speak and which one you want to speak. That’s especially useful during travel. They help tourists understand signs, menus, and local speech in foreign countries.

Some apps even work offline. This is great for places with no internet, as it allows you to be really adventurous. You can be anywhere and have anything translated without a connection.

Translation apps are constantly improving. Google Translate provided really funny translation attempts at the beginning. I still remember some laughable phrases it produced after it’s been launched. But that was a while ago. Technology changed a lot and now these apps use artificial intelligence to process text. This, of course, means translations are becoming more accurate.

Most importantly, these apps support many languages, and the translations are quite decent, even for less popular languages. They can translate words, sentences, whole documents, and even speech, in real-time. This is like having a personal interpreter. Not as reliable though, but definitely very convenient.

In emergencies, these apps are lifesavers. They help people communicate in critical situations. This can be tremendously important. Translation apps also help in cultural understanding, but not only a little. A deep understanding of cultural nuances requires some real knowledge, and that’s where the helpfulness of apps becomes limited. But that’s just one of the many ways to overcome language barriers.

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)

As the name says, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is basically using computers to learn languages. The same thing on a phone is called MALL. Basically, it uses apps, software, and online programs to teach new languages. It’s like having a digital teacher. Well, not really, but it has lots of advantages.

CALL includes different activities. There are games, quizzes, and interactive lessons. These make learning fun and engaging. You can hear how words are pronounced and practice speaking, too. This helps with learning correct pronunciation. It’s also flexible and available on many different devices, which is great when you’re busy and want to use random free moments to learn. It’s no longer hard to fit learning into your schedule.

CALL is useful regardless of your current level, as it covers everything. It can teach basics like vocabulary and grammar and help with complex language skills like writing and conversation.

You don’t have to wait for feedback or feel bad if you’re not progressing as fast as you’d like. The system instantly informs you of your progress. This helps you learn faster. You understand your mistakes and can improve.

Some CALL resources let you get in touch with learners from around the world. You can practice with others online and even compete with them through an app. It is even possible to connect with other users and have some language exchange. This is good for real-life conversation practice. It helps overcome the fear of speaking a new language. It also prepares you for real situations. You can learn the language used in work, travel, or daily life. This makes it easier to communicate in those situations.

CALL uses technology to help you learn languages more effectively. A key part of this is spaced repetition, a technique that helps you remember words better by reviewing them at increasing intervals.

LiveXP’s Word Trainer feature uses this method. It introduces new words and then reminds you to practice them just before you’re likely to forget. This helps you build a stronger, more lasting vocabulary. Also, you can practice these new words in real-life conversation with native English speakers in 1-on-1 online sessions on LiveXP. It’s a practical tool for breaking down language barriers and improving your language skills efficiently.

Working through language barrier problems and solutions with an online tutor

Regardless of your situation and how quickly you need to learn a language to deal with language barriers, LiveXP is here for you. This platform allows you to choose among teachers from nearly any country in the world. You can learn through video calls, just like a virtual classroom.

The platform is super easy to use, and you can have lessons whenever you want. This means you can learn at times when you’re most productive or when you have the most free time. You don’t have to move from your home, yet still, you get to learn with a real human teacher.

You can also choose your teacher or have lessons with different people during the same period, and all of that is covered by a single subscription. Different teachers can offer lessons in different styles. Some might use games, while others might focus on conversation. You can pick a teacher who matches your learning style.

LiveXP offers lessons for all levels. Whether you are just starting or already know a lot, you can find tutors who suit you. You can learn basics like words and sentences. You can also learn advanced things like writing and speaking fluently.

A standout feature of LiveXP is the flexibility of choosing multiple tutors within a single subscription. This variety allows you to experience different teaching styles and accents, which is crucial for language learning. The opportunity to practice speaking with native speakers is especially beneficial. This direct interaction with natives is invaluable for breaking down language barriers, as it provides real-life conversational practice. You’ll learn not just the formal aspects of the language but also colloquialisms and cultural nuances that only a native speaker can offer.

In addition to conversational practice, LiveXP recognizes the importance of a strong grammatical foundation. You can also choose to work with tutors who speak your language and can explain complex grammatical concepts in a way that’s easier for you to understand. This dual approach ensures a well-rounded learning experience, balancing the practicality of conversation with the technicalities of grammar.

Another innovative feature is the Vocabulary and Word Trainer. This tool is designed to help you learn new words effectively and retain them. It’s not just about memorization but about understanding the context and usage of new vocabulary, which is critical for fluency.

Since it offers both live lessons with human teachers combined with the best features of computer-assisted language learning in the Word Trainer, LiveXP is the ultimate tool for overcoming language barriers. Its blend of individualized tutoring, the option to work with multiple tutors, and specialized tools like the Vocabulary and Word Trainer make it a powerful platform for anyone looking to overcome language barriers.

Human interpreters

Sometimes, you just don’t have time to deal with breaking language barriers, and they are still there. In such cases, the safest solution is to hire a human translator. Depending on what you need and where you need it, you can find a freelance translator online or look for someone available at a specific location.

Online websites connect you with professional translators. You just need to search for translation services. These websites list translators who can work in various languages. You can choose someone based on reviews and their experience. Once chosen, you can talk to them over email or video calls. They can help translate documents or assist in real-time conversations.

On-site, you can hire a translator to be with you in person. This is common in meetings, conferences, or while traveling. To find one, you can contact translation agencies. Sometimes, hotels or business centers can also help arrange this. On-site translators can understand the context better. They can also help with local customs and nuances.

Whether online or on-site, it’s important to choose a qualified translator. They should be fluent in both languages involved. It’s also good if they understand the subject matter, like law or medicine.

Getting a real person to do your translations makes a big difference. They get the little things that computers miss, making sure what you’re trying to say comes across just right. But, again, you probably can’t have a translator with you all the time. For that reason, it would be wise to focus on increasing your ability to function independently no matter where you are.

If you want quick, palpable results and want to go deeper than translation apps could get you, it’s best to use a combination of private lessons and spaced-repetition apps. Both are available to you with a single subscription on LiveXP. Browse through the list of tutors, check some profiles, and book affordable trial lessons with a few, and you’ll get a feel of how it works and whether it works for you. And trust me, you’ll like it.

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