Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Helping others doesn't rely on a language

Recently I ran into a situation that I figured out how to help someone when there was a language barrier.

We were sitting in a coffee shop and I heard a man ask how to get to the Casino that was close by. Well when the man said Casino I realized that he didn’t speak English very well and maybe didn’t speak much English at all. The guy behind the counter figured out where he wanted to go and gave him some quick directions which would help if you understood English and knew how all the street names were spelled.

The man asking for directions turned away from the counter and looked at his device and I understood that he was still very confused and wasn’t going to be able to get to the Casino with the directions that he was just given. As we have a tablet for work I quickly pulled it out and looked up the directions to the Casino using an app that we have on the tablet. I found the map and then we decided it would be a good idea for me to go and show the man how to get there. Of course, I still didn’t realize that English wasn’t a language he was comfortable with.

I walked over with the tablet and asked if they were going to the “CASINO” making sure I said Casino slowly. I showed them the map that I had on the tablet screen and that is when they got very excited because they figured out I was there to help them find the directions they needed. What I quickly discovered was the man had the same app as we had so that was going to make things a little easier. Through a lot of simple words and hand jesters I was able to show him how to get to the Casino. He then marked the Casino on the app which then provided him with the same directions that I was showing him. He was very happy to know that they were going to be able to get there without a problem now.

It was wonderful to be able to help someone even when language was going to be a challenge. Being able to show the directions on a device and then use the hand jesters the family was off to the Casino and we felt good. Sure it was something simple to show them how to get where they were going but it was seeing that they appreciated it so much was nice. All of the family said thank you to us for our help and then they were off.

Language doesn’t have to be a barrier when you are giving or receiving directions. Having another method to communicate can make a big difference. Sure, the man’s app had Chinese words for the various commands but we were able to see the street names in English and then he knew where he was going.

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