What is useful for expats – we’re speaking from experience
Moving to another country where you have to learn a second language can be daunting. Expats have a lot to juggle and often that includes having to understand the ways of the new world in which we find ourselves. Blue Ninja’s Julie and Louisa found themselves in the same position when they both moved to Leiden, The Netherlands and have some great tips below about how to make it feel a little more manageable when it comes to language.
Use Google Chrome
One of the first things that will be useful having moved to the Netherlands (or any country where the main language is not your primary language) is to install Google Chrome to your laptop, tablet and/or phone. In The Netherlands, our primary country example, if you’re not a native Dutch speaker this is extremely helpful as a lot of information, particularly Government information, is only available in Dutch.
Once downloaded, enable the Google Translate extension.
Using Google Chrome, you can translate many web pages automatically into English, or your chosen language. This also works for a variety of attachments, although for text within photos or images, the text will not translate on a web page.
When you open a webpage written in another language, you should see a pop-up asking to translate the page. You can customise Google Chrome to always translate the language without asking.
The Chrome mobile app displays a language bar at the bottom of the screen, within settings, to let you quickly switch between English and the original language.
You can turn this feature on or off – it is on by default.
Some Government sites and forms may not allow the text to be translated. You can use Google Translate directly to type in the text to help understand it.
Google Translate can be downloaded on its own to use on your phone and tablet, or accessed via the Google Translate webpage. Simply type in the text and select your language or allow it to detect the language for you. You can also import documents into Google Translate – a very handy function.
On the Google Translate App you can also instantly translate using the camera function, as well as importing images with text into the App. Try the different functions for a variety of options to convert to your chosen language.
Other social media sites also provide translation options – look for ‘translate’ at the bottom of messages to click and convert the text to your preferred language.