Whether you are traveling or freelancing, a language barrier in communication can pose a huge problem with efficiency. Here’s how to overcome a language barrier in communication.
How to Overcome a Language Barrier in Communication
Since time immemorial, language has been a unique form of communication. Culture and language have evolved over the years. Human language enables speakers to express their thoughts in words.
Speakers use different language to generate new sentences and to exchange specific information about things, people and places. This article will explore how to overcome the language barrier in communication.
A language barrier is a significant setback in the business world. Companies doing international businesses face communication-based challenges in international face fronts.
It makes them use massive resources to ensure that there is proper communication in the workplaces. To better understand how to overcome language barrier in communication, let’s first look at what language barrier in communication entails.
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So, what is a language barrier in communication?
A language barrier is a term that is used to describe the inability of passing information between two or more people due to linguistic differences.
Language barriers are as difficulties in communication that occurs within a group of people or between individuals with different language background or dialects.
In the presence of language barriers, it would mean that there will be less or no communication.
When talking about language barriers, we need to understand the different types of language barriers. Let’s explore the different kinds of language barriers in communication.
In order to better understand how to overcome language barriers, let’s evaluate the various types of language barriers first.
Types of Language Barriers
Here is are the various types of language barriers and their respective conversations.
Traveling Language Barrier
When traveling to another country or another location where the native language is different from the one you speak, you may tend to have difficulties in communicating with the people in that place.
Variations in language are the most common barrier to communication since two people speaking different languages cannot understand each other.
For example, if an American goes to Africa, the person may not be able to communicate if the natives do not understand the travelers’ language.
Accents and dialects of people from diverse places may also differ even if they have the same language. Communication barrier due to dialect comes when you encounter people speaking the same language but having different dialects.
For example, the Indians have 22 major languages, but within the languages, there are around 720 dialects which may cause miscommunication between the same people.
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Language Barrier in Classrooms
The language barrier in communication may occur in the classrooms when there are students from various locations with different native languages.
For example, students who do not speak English as their first language may find it hard to understand the facilitator using English to teach.
Different accents with the teachers or facilitators may also create a communication barrier when talking to the students. When teachers fail to create engaging lessons with the students, it may make it hard for the students to interact with them.
The language barrier in the classroom may affect the students’ performance negatively since the students are not getting the same opportunities as those who understand the native language.
Variation in personality and peer pressure may also add to the whole language barrier effect. It makes some student feel like they don’t belong and even make it difficult for them even to socialize.
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How to Overcome Language Barriers in the Classroom
Thankfully, people have worked through ways to remove language barriers in school There are a few tips that stand out in particular from my past experiences. Here are some few tips on how to overcome language barriers in the classroom:
Create Equal Education Options for Every Student
By creating the same educational options, the students will stop feeling left out and will engage in what fits them. It can be done by developing education plans for individual students deemed to have difficulties in communication.
Create Support Systems which will Motivate the Students in and out of Classrooms
The teachers should dedicate themselves in ensuring that they create interesting topics and lessons that keep the students engaged and interested. It will help the students feel the urge to be involved in the classroom.
Interesting activities outside the classroom also make students vibrant and involved in class work.
Restructure the Learning Methods
Another way is to set standardized tests. Avoid exams that may put some students at a disadvantage since they may have had unequal learning opportunities. Try to come up with a variable structure of tests to ensure that every kid gets equal opportunities.
Use Different Kinds of Non-Verbal Communication with Different Children
Non-verbal cues complement verbal cues to make it easy for students to understand certain concepts. Some people may fail to understand audio well but may understand pictorial representations, gestures as well as any other non-verbal sign languages better.
With a combination of all these options, it is possible to overcome the challenge of the language barrier in classrooms.
Language Barriers in the Workplace
The language barrier in the workplace can occur due to a difference in languages spoken or if speakers use different technical terms or jargons. This can even happen in the world of gig economy jobs.
For example, people from the same company but different departments or divisions may experience a language barrier in communication due to the technicalities of the languages they use.
People from different industries or careers may also encounter a language barrier in communication for example when a law practitioner talks to an engineer or a marketer, the terms and language used may differ.
To overcome language barriers in the workplaces, people from different fields of specialization should ensure that they use the most common terms when talking to people outside their field or industry.
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How to Overcome Language Barriers in the Workplace
You can easily overcome a language barrier in the workplace nowadays. Here a few tips on how to overcome language barriers in the workplace:
- Use one primary language in the workplace and translate all the relevant documents into it. One can use the available translating websites and tools to convert the work records in one common language for the employees. It is one way to reduce the language barrier in the workplace.
- Another way is to have an interpreter if you want to give feedback or communicate to your employees. An organization can hire an interpreter to translate and pass the required information to the employees.
- The employer can also facilitate the employees to take language classes of the business language which will enable easy communication. The employer should provide access to learning the basic in the workplace to allow employees to understand language and phrases which can also enable the employees to thrive.
- Plain language use. No matter who you are talking to in the workplace, whether they understand your language as their secondary one, always use the most understandable and straightforward language.
- Include visual communication methods as another way to avoid language barrier in communication. Illustrations and demonstrations can go a long way when explaining what the words fail to convey. Visual cues are paramount when there is a language barrier and helps to bridge the gaps created by a language barrier.
- Emphasize or Use repetition. Since a majority of people may not grasp the concept of something new the first time, repeat it for them a few times to increase their chances of understanding. Repetition gives the employees ample time to hear, internalize and understand.
Conclusion on Overcoming a Language Barrier in Communication
The language barrier in communication can make people and businesses miss a lot of opportunities and thus it’s vital to understand how to overcome it.
I can’t tell you how many times people have mentioned that they prefer to not do business with another group in a foreign country. I think this is so pre-historic thinking.
There’s no reason why you should limit yourself in what you can do and overcome. Working through a language barrier is an art rather than a science.
I think that people can discuss and interact easily across the world. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling, in a classroom or at the workplace. Find ways to communicate effectively with your peers and stay efficient.
Thanks to technological advancements, a language barrier can be easily overcome. I’ve worked with people all over the world on a freelance basis and our barriers to communication shouldn’t be an issue.
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Have you been in a language barrier in communication? Please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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