When you visit the doctor, sometimes it can be difficult enough to explain what the problem is even when you share a native language. The doctor, also, will usually need to translate complex medical information into everyday terms to give you their diagnosis and treatment plan.
So when you need to see a doctor somewhere you're not confident with the language, it can be really difficult. Whether you're on holiday somewhere or you've moved abroad and are still getting to grips with the lingo, getting across a medical problem is one of the most challenging things you'll need to do. There are a few ways you can make the whole thing easier, helping the doctor understand what's wrong and you to understand what they think.
Put it in writing
People's ability to speak a language doesn't always match up with their ability to write in it or understand it. You might find it easy to write down a few words or phrases compared to saying them out loud, which is a perfectly good way to communicate with the doctor. Bring along a notebook and pen in case you need to write down some more.
You could also get someone else to write down the problem for you so you can take it along and show the doctor. This is useful if you know someone who speaks both languages but isn't able to go with you.
Don't be afraid to gesture
Gesturing with your hands and pointing is a time-honoured way to express yourself to someone who doesn't speak your language. It can work particularly well when it comes to a doctor's visit, as you can simply point to the areas where you're experiencing symptoms, and the doctor will know what to check. You might feel silly doing it, but you needn't; doctors have seen everything.
Try and find the key words
By looking on the internet or in books, you may be able to find a few of the words or phrases you need, even if you don't speak the language at all. If you're not sure how to pronounce them, take a book with you and show the relevant bits to the doctor.
Wherever you are, you have a chance of finding others who speak your language if you keep your ears open. And, remember, doctors can travel and work all over the world, so ask at the medical centre if there's a doctor who can speak your language, which will make everything much easier.