The first time we were in Brazil we scratched our heads many times. But the funniest was when trying to order off a menu. Our Portuguese is non existent so we pointed at items that we "thought" we knew what they were --- Only to be surprised when it arrived.
But sure that can be fun too and we still remember it. And isn't that what travelling is all about? Experiences.
But now a days it is so much easier. No need to carry around a small dictionary or phrase book.
If you have a smart phone then you are set. Even if you don't have a data package for foreign countries you can use this app.
The app I am referring to is Google Translate App. You can find it in the Android store here. Or in the Itunes Store here. (I have been told that the Itunes version doesn't translate offline).
I have an Android and recently downloaded this app.
You need to download the different languages you will use (make sure to load these when you have free wifi service as they are large.
I added Greek, Italian and Turkish for my upcoming trip.
Once they are loaded you can use these functions off line -- which is very helpful.
You can then use the app by typing in a word and getting it translated. And if necessary you can even draw symbols and it will translate.
Or you can take a "photo" of a word like a sign or on a product in a store and it will translate it.
Or you can have someone speak into the phone and it will translate it for you.
All very helpful. It is not perfect and like many translators it is very basic, but it works pretty darn good. And best of all the App is free!