You don’t have to become fluent, but it helps to learn at least a few rudimentary words in the language of the person you’re attempting to communicate with. As one person in the audience said, “If you try to use words in their language, they’re very welcoming, but if you just go with Americanisms, they may shut you down.”

Helpful hint: Don’t use jargon or sayings that could be misconstrued. As Buchner-Howard pointed out, the American “I’m pulling your leg” translates into German as, “I’m sitting on your arm.” Use simple, clear words and phrases that will more easily translate on a literal level.