There are many different ways to write down a pattern, some use charts, while others write down all the directions. Choose the latter, and you still have two options. You can use either the US or the UK terms, or sometimes both. If you are like me, and only are comfortable using one set of the terms, you might find scratching your head when faced with the other.
If they were two completely different set of terms it would be a piece of cake. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I self-taught myself to crochet via various Youtube videos, I could find on the subject, and almost all of them used the US terms. Which, if I'm completely honest, to me personally make more sense than the UK terms. But I could get just easily used to the other ones, if not for the fact that they use pretty much the same terms, only for different stitches.
A US single crochet is a UK double crochet, while the single crochet in UK terms is a slip stitch in the US version. I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, this doesn't seem too complicated at first, and it isn't with simple patterns. But imagine making a difficult afghan square. Sometimes it's hard to follow the pattern even if you are on top of your game terms-wise. If you, however aren't even sure about what you are reading, you might get a headache just figuring that out.
That's why using symbols sounds easier, at least they are always the same. Of course not everything can be written in charts, like amigurumis for instance. Also, they can scare away the inexperienced souls.
As I was browsing the vast world wide web the other day, looking for something completely different, I stumbled upon a chart that made my life all the more easier. This chart, created by Jamie Ekins, contains all the terms and symbols one could wish for in one place. It's also colorful and fits only one side of a paper. Print it out and you'll never feel lost again.
You can find Jamie's original post and the .pdf version here.