Translation musings: How to learn a language in time for a holiday?

Apr 19, 2016 | Language, Miscellaneous

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to communicate with people in their own language when going on holiday? Is it possible to learn the basics of a new language in a short period of time? The answer is yes. Everything is possible when you have the right attitude and motivation! Having studied four languages on top of my own mother tongue, I have picked up some useful techniques when wanting to unlock the mystery of a new language.language learning


Even though it is well known that curiosity killed the cat, I would still say that curiosity is one of the main reasons one is able to learn a language. If you don’t find something interesting it is obvious that you will have a hard time trying to get a grasp of it!

Take it to the next level

Find a language partner and practise everyday situations with them. Even better if the partner is a native speaker. To my mind, you can only perfect your language skills if you get out of your comfort zone and move abroad for some time.

You don’t have ears for nothing

Listen, listen, and listen! Watch TV shows and listen to music in the language you are learning. When I started studying Spanish my teacher often played Hispanic music to us. We had the lyrics in front of us so we could see how the words were spelled. Since then I’ve found my inner Latina. There’s nothing like singing to your favourite Nicky Jam song (sorry neighbours)!


This rule applies to languages, maths, history… the list goes on! Some people need more time to memorise things than others but that doesn’t mean that you should throw the towel in. You only need more repetitions and patience.

Legal jargon in Russian?

If you need to learn a language in a relatively short period of time, keep the subjects simple. If you are planning on visiting Moscow for a couple of weeks, the chances are you don’t need that fancy legal vocabulary (you’d better stay away from trouble).

Take note of these tips and make most of the learning experience!


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