How do you guys handle translation when in other countries. I personally use my phone because it's faster, but as a kid, my family used to use the books, but they were very hard to use. I've heard of renting people to translate, but that sounds way to expensive.
Also share experiences. My worse was obvi Thai.
The books were nice, because they had subjective categories like "restaurants" and phrases that gave you fluency in real situations, from asking for a bathroom, to getting a price for something, with included nice pleasantries and courtesy. A little time spent with a book gave you travelers conversational vocabulary quickly.
I like the 10 minutes a Day series....if I know I'll have a month before going, I might buy a workbook. It's missing someone speaking to you, which is probably what is nice about Rosetta Stone. I'm cheap. I'd use an app if I'm really worried too, because you can even pass a phone back and forth with someone.
Hungary was fucked up. Their language is really hard (I'm Italian) and people just turned away when I asked them if they spoke English. I had to learn a few words to get by, also because I was hitch-hiking and had to tell the people who stopped that no, I am not a Syrian refugee.
I usually try to learn a few words of the vehicular language of every country I'm in (This means trying to know a bit of Russian in Georgia and Armenia. No way you can learn the alphabet staying a week in those countries) and try to look up the basics beforehand.
A dictionary app on my phone and a little study is enough for me. I used to use phrase books and paper dictionaries back in the dark ages. My pack is much lighter now.
I studied the basics of most European languages in high school, so I guess that helped a bit.
I got laid through google translate some years back. Girl was Korean and couldn't speak a word of English, back then I couldn't speak anything either. It was pre-smartphone era so it was really slow and awkward, but we met a couple of times again.
After that I learned Korean (somewhat) and keep studying languages a good portion of my daily life.
Google's Korean must be much better than Google's Japanese.
I spent a lot of time wit a Japanese friend in Russia and we communicated mostly by phones, she told me it was easier to read the English part and guess what I meant by that than to try to read the Japanese that came out of Google.
Is it really THAT bad?
You don't really need to know the language. You are in a restaurant? You want food. In a hotel? Need a room. Trying to buy crap on the street? Hand them an appropriate size bill and see if they take it. You aren't going to make any friends, but you should be fine as long as you never meet the local police.
Yeah, this is it. Use hand signals or a calculator for numbers (most places use the same numbering system, even Thailand/Japan). Get the "point-it picture book" from Amazon and you have instant vocabulary if needed, but in a few months in Asia I've only had to use that once. Order at restaurants by pointing at pictures. Use maps.me for directions.
I had the same experience with Thai with one women, but another understood more via google translate. I think how much English they know factors in. I have heard of people picking up chicks in Japan using google translate.