What’s really surprised most of us here at i-interpret4u when we recently surveyed over 1,000 UK travellers, was the number of people who are completely oblivious to the dangers of being unable to communicate abroad in an emergency situation. Unbelievably, only 10% of people cited this as being a primary concern when coping with language barriers abroad.
Now, we know that Brits are a little laid-back when it comes to learning foreign languages, and we know that for many, the thought of learning one is probably of little significance in our day to day lives. But one thing we can confidently say is that we’re a cautious bunch (aren’t we?) Most of us would never dream of leaving our English pastures without adequate travel insurance, sun cream to protect our skin, somewhere secure to store passports and important documents; nor would we hire a car without the right vehicle insurance (safe car seats for the children) – to be fair, most of us wouldn’t even leave without packing a pair of sunglasses and a sun hat etc.
But despite this, and the fact that we love our families, children and elderly relatives very much, we don’t worry about the possibility of communicating overseas should, heaven forbid, an emergency strike.
Why? In our blogs we always seem to harp on that Brits make assumptions about the number of people that speak English abroad – and although this may well be true, it can’t be the only reason we don’t consider such a situation. It’s becoming clearer that we really need to start raising this issue of language barriers and educating people on the very real risks associated with this. After all, you never know where and when an emergency will occur, how can you plan for it? The truth is you can’t, all you can do is take preventative steps or measures to ensure you have a ‘way out’ should the unavoidable happen.