While the official language of Czech Republic is Czech, a lot of Czech people, especially the younger generation, speak English fluently.
By younger generation, I mean people under 45-47. I was in my last year at secondary school, when the Velvet Revolution happened and half-way through the school year, we started to learn English.
Obviously, the younger the person, the more chances are that they will have a better understanding of English. These days, English is pretty much compulsory at primary schools and many children start learning the basics when they are in the nursery school.
Czech language is quite difficult to learn and understand, so we (Czechs…) know that we need to learn other languages to communicate with the rest of the world.
Because Prague is located in the centre of Europe you will also hear Czechs speaking in German, French, Italian, Spanish and also Russian.
Before 1920-40 this was mainly the German language and then for over 40 years the Russian language or Spanish (since Cuba was a communist country, too). Quite bizarrely, my mum learned Spanish at school but has never been to Spain until about 20 years ago, long after the country’s borders opened up for free travel.
If you stay in the tourist spots around Prague, you should be able to get by just by speaking English. Everyone in the service industry – tourist attractions, hotels, cafes and even supermarkets will understand you and will be able to communicate with you in English.
Notices, announcements, public transport and restaurant menus are often written in English, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting around on public transport or eating out.
Once you leave the centre, you will notice that the Czech language is more prominent, so it’s always a good idea to have a basic dictionary or a guidebook on your packing list.
If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can easily download one of the many apps that can help you to translate from English to Czech and vice versa.
Google Translate will automatically translate any webpage and if you scan any book or newspaper it will translate it too. My totally favourite translator app (again it’s Google owned) is voice-activated and you can speak into it in English and it will translate and talk in Czech.