Most of us have been in some sort of relationship where we’ve had miscommunication and difficulty understanding each other even though both people spoke the same language. But some of us have decided to dive into a relationship with someone who doesn’t speak our language. This is called interlingual dating.
So how do these couples navigate the ups and downs, awkward pauses and just plain getting to know each other? As a fellow interlingual dater, I have 10 tips for how to communicate with your interlingual partner.
1. Google Translate
Google Translate is an obvious tip, but it can really help with conversation. It isn’t perfect but it can provide a great way to have short talks with your love and their family.
- Voice to Translation: Use the “conversation” mode to use your voices while google translates it for you. You can either try to speak the translated words yourself or let the robotic voice do it for you.
- Photo Translation: This is great for when you don’t know the language and want to order food or read directions on a sign. Just snap a photo and allow google to translate it for you.
- Texting: Who doesn’t like texting, at least sometimes? Simply type your text, highlight it, and select translate. Then replace with translation. Yes, it can be translated badly sometimes but it only causes you to seek understanding (which we should always do, right?).
Nothing says I love you like being willing to learn another language just so you can talk to them.
Want to learn a new language in a fun and effective way? Duolingo is an incredible tool that is free to use unless you want to get the added benefits of their subscription. I love it and am currently on day 15 of my streak. It can be as little as 5 minutes a day and I know I get a real sense of accomplishment when I can talk to my Spanish speaking partner using new words.
While translators are great, they aren’t a long term solution to relationship communication. Get Duolingo and start learning!
3. Physical Touch
Communication comes in many forms and physical touch is one of them. It can send very intense messages, especially when your words fail you. Do you want your partner to know you love them in a simple, sweet gesture or get their attention to fully live in the moment? Give them a kiss, a long hug, a pat on the arm, hold their hand, ruffle their hair, give them a back rub. Don’t underestimate the power of touch in whatever ways you are both comfortable with.
There is something very sweet about giving a gift to a loved one. It means they thought about you and know you well enough to give you something that you would love. From a simple handmade card and cupcake to an expensive trip to the Maldives, gifts can show how much you care about your partner.
Want to give your interlingual partner a gift that says what your words can’t? Cook them their favorite meal, buy them that item they have been looking at, take them out dancing, draw them a picture of the two of you or create a photo book of your relationship.
5. Plan a Date
Nothing says you are special like a unique tailored-to-your-partner date. What have they always wanted to try? Do they love chocolate or skydiving? Have they been dreaming of learning to salsa dance? Surprise them with a fully planned out date that is all about them. Many times, couples can begin to just wing it and decide what to do in the moment. Planning a date is a very thoughtful and appreciated gesture.
6. Love Notes
Writing love notes is a classic romance move. But when you can’t speak the same language, it takes it up a notch. Write it long, write it short, write it poetically or write it straight-forward, a love note will certainly make your feelings known. Simply write it in your language, use a translator to translate it, and write in that language. I like to include both English and Spanish in mine so that it is in both of our languages.
7. Memes and Gifs
The power of a good meme is unmistakable. Make your partner laugh or smile with a well researched meme or GIF. If they are Spanish or English speaking, I know there are GIFs available. Simply type in the keyboard for “Love Spanish” and watch the GIFs roll in. One of my favorite things to do is randomly send my partner a cute GIF in the middle of the day, just to let him know I am thinking about him.
8. Video Chat
It is always nice to see your partner’s face when speaking with them, but it can be difficult when you can’t understand each other. So one way I like to video chat with my guy is on facebook messenger or WhatsApp. We talk, and when we need to say something we don’t know the words for, we text in the chat box while staying on video.
Also, on messenger at least, you can share videos and add filters, which can make for a fun long-distance date.
Are you planning a big event or buying a house? Maybe you like cooking together and need a database of recipes. A shared pinterest board makes communicating easier because it allows both people to add things and see the pictures. No words needed, but if you want to make it better, include both languages in the description.
10. Use Subtitles
Many streaming services have options for subtitles now. Spanish and English are widely used and sometimes there are other languages as well. Pick a movie and put the subtitles on so you can learn and enjoy at the same time. This allows you to be just a typical couple and you can talk about the movie or show together.
I hope these 10 ways to communicate with your partner helps!