The United States is not prepared for tourists


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Tourists come from all over the world speaking more than just english. Columnist Angelina Padilla-Tompkins believes that the United States can provide more accessibility.

Individuals and families from across the globe travel to the United States to see our many attractions, but once they arrive they find themselves frustrated by the lack of aid for non-English speakers. 

The United States has roughly 79.9 million international visitors each year with the majority of tourists coming from Mexico, Canada, Japan and China, according to the Tourism Academy.

A language barrier can discourage travelers from immersing themselves in a new culture. If they struggle to read signs directing them where to go, read a menu or simply communicate with a guide, then the language becomes something they must overcome to enjoy their trip. 

Mehdi Semati, professor and communication department chair, understands that a language barrier can be a struggle for tourists to get past. 

“There should be apps specifically for how to translate a full menu to local languages,” Semati said. “And restaurants could, you know, have a menu that has more information, for example, pictures are helpful if you do not speak the language.” 

Currently, the best option for tourists struggling with a language barrier is Google Translate. The app allows users to type in a phrase or snap a photo of what they need to be translated. Google Translate is available for all devices.   

There is one major tourist attraction in the states where travelers can get around comfortably: Disney parks. Disney knows that a significant portion of its guests come from non-English speaking countries, so they do whatever they can to bridge the gap in communication.  

The Disney staff must wear a name tag that includes where they are from and what language(s) they speak, according to planDisney.    

The English language is popular around the world, so many countries cater to that language. More areas of America should do the same, not just Disney. We know many of our tourists will have a language barrier, so we need to do our part to ensure they are able to enjoy their time.