I agree that Oradea is over-rated by some guidebooks.
For anyone else planning a trip to that area, I would suggest stopping in Cluj-Napoca (Kolosvar.) It is much more interesting than Oradea, and the surrounding country is quite beautiful. About an hour's drive away is the small town of Torocko (Rimetea), where a number of old houses in the middle of town have been restored. Many of them include B &B accommodation.
About language: my impression was that most young people speak some English, especially in the cities. In Transylvania, a great deal of Hungarian is spoken, but Hungarian speakers are bi-lingual in Romanian. If you know a Romance language, you will be able to read signs in Romania, and, with a dictionary, can work out what you need to ... most hotels &restaurants seem to have someone who can manage English.
Note - if you are planning to drive in Transylvania, (Erdely in Hungarian, Ardeal in Romanian) it is useful to buy a multi-lingual map of the area. They can be ordered here, or bought at any good bookstore in Budapest. Because of the complicated history of Transylvania, which belonged to Hungary until after WWI, most places on a good map of Transylvania are listed with 3 names - Romanian, Hungarian and German. Cluj-Napoca, for example, is Kolosvar (Hungarian) and Klaussenburg (German).
Be prepared for really bad roads, especially when off the main highways.