You sometimes know just from a look that you feel something for a person. However, imagine this scenario: When you go to introduce yourself to a beautiful woman at a club or in a bookstore or cafe, you discover that she doesn’t speak your language at all, even though she’s smiling and seems interested in spending time with you. (This is a much more frequent occurrence if you’re a traveler, but it can happen at home, too.) Is the prospect of a relationship doomed? On the contrary, chemistry can transcend cultural and even language barriers, but you’ll have to put in some extra effort to make the relationship work.
Get a Friend to Set Up the Dates
At the start, rely on a friend who speaks both languages to arrange the dates and gauge the person’s interest in seeing where the relationship goes. This is a must the first time you meet, as relying on only somewhat accurate translator apps on your phone can result in miscommunication. And, who wants to be reaching for the phone instead of gazing into his or her eyes. However, you can’t rely on a friend to speak for you both forever, and three’s a crowd, so you’ll have to get creative about communicating on your date.
Use a Combination of Gestures and an App
Pull out your phone during the actual date so you can look up any words that prove a sticking point. However, remember that translator apps are often inaccurate, especially if the language falls outside the categories of Latin-based Romance languages. Most of the time, rely on gestures or draw pictures instead. Hands can communicate a lot about a person so don’t be afraid to pantomime actions and point to buildings or to a menu to communicate what you want to do next.
Try Multi-Lingual Activities
If you speak English, you’re in luck even while traveling because many tourist sites cater to English speakers with information and audio tours available in English as well as the local language. Even in the US, the bigger cities and popular historical and cultural sites provide multi-lingual information so you both can enjoy a tour. You might also consider seeing a movie in her language with English subtitles or vice versa.
Take Photos Together
Photos are a universal language – one that doesn’t require other forms of communication. On your date, use gestures and strike a pose to indicate that you’d like to take pictures. Look at the pictures throughout the date and laugh to show you’re having a good time.
If you’re serious about your new love who doesn’t speak English and whose language you don’t speak, eventually you both should take lessons in each other’s language. Even if you both move to live together in an English-speaking country and you both need English to function more than the other language, your partner will appreciate the effort made to understand him or her. Plus, you’re likely to spend time with your new partner’s family and friends so your new language skills will come in handy.