A foreign language translation service for holidaymakers abroad with Thomson and First Choice is to be provided this year.

The round the clock service in conjunction with translation provider Veritas will be available in 157 languages to help travellers with issues caused by language barriers.

Introduced as part of the sister operators’ 24/7 Holidayline, translators willd offer assistance over the telephone.

The service is being introduced following research which found that only a quarter of people enjoy trying to speak the local language when away.

A third of British holidaymakers do not bring a phrase book when travelling abroad and nearly a fifth (18%) never try to speak the language.

When asked why they do not try to speak the local language, a quarter felt they were terrible at languages and nearly a fifth of people (18%) felt too embarrassed.

Nearly half of the 2,000 respondents questioned (47%) admitted that they would have difficulties making a restaurant reservation and more than a third (40%) would struggle to get directions or see a doctor.

Thomson and First Choice holiday experience director Ian Chapman said: “From the independent research we carried out, we know that our customers may experience language barriers whilst on holiday.

“We want to break down these barriers, so they have the confidence to fully explore the destination they are visiting.

“This service will provide support to those customers wanting to get off the beaten track, or will serve as a lifeline should any problems be encountered whilst away.”

Veritas managing director Sharon Stephens added: “It is refreshing to see how Thomson and First Choice are addressing any potential language issues that people may face overseas.

“Too many companies steer away from this issue rather than offering customers a solution and support. Veritas will provide their customers with more confidence and encouragement to travel further and embrace more cultures.”