(Picture: Getty, DK)

Why would you buy a phase book when you can Google any translation you need?

According to a survey by the British Council, over 60% of 16-34 year olds have used their smartphones and apps like Google Translate to find out what phrases mean when abroad, while only 39% have used a traditional phrasebook.

The study looked at 2,000 adults in the UK, as part of the British Council’s work around language, education and culture.

Younger people are certainly eschewing the phrasebook, which used to be a staple travel essential when visiting a new country, in favour of looking things up on their phones.

If you don’t get data roaming charges for using 4G when you’re abroad or you’re connected to wifi, it’s cheaper to Google than it is to buy a phrasebook that might not have the exact phrases you need anyway.

Using a smartphone means that you can search for the specific word or sentence you want to use, and you can hear how to pronounce it.

However, it’s not fail-safe strategy.

There are plenty of inaccurate translations online, and more than one in five people surveyed said they’d experienced awkward communication problems after using incorrect phrases found through their phones.

Although 73% of respondents said they thought it was important to learn a few key phrases before going on holiday, 65% also said they mostly rely on locals being able to speak English when they go abroad.

Fulfilling the ignorant Brits abroad stereotype, 21% didn’t learn a single foreign phrase before their most recent jaunt overseas including basic terms like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Come on, guys.

Missing out on authentic cuisine favoured by locals, 29% said that they wouldn’t go to a restaurant abroad if the menu wasn’t in English.

We’re guessing that these aren’t the same respondents who use their phones to look up phrases, because it’s so easy to sit down and Google specific menu items.

31% of people said they could hold a basic conversation in another language, while 14% can speak a foreign language fluently, or to a high standard.

It’s good to know that learning to say ‘My favourite hobby is playing football’ in every single school French lesson was time well spent.

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