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What\'s the next language I should learn? Opinions, please.
Thread poster: Kevin Higgins

Kevin Higgins
Ireland
Local time: 06:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 8, 2002

I\'m just about to graduate with a degree in translation in German and Spanish. I also studied Italian at university in Austria and I also speak Irish. Anyway, I would love to hear some opinions on what would be a good language to learn? I was thinking Scandinavian (Danish, Swedish), Catalan, or Eastern Europe (Estonian, Polish, Czech). I would really appreciate any replies. Thanks for your interest. Kev ;0)

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xxxTanuki
Japanese to Italian
+ ...
You should learn... Apr 8, 2002

the one you like best.



Did you ever have a dream in which you were actually speaking another language, apart from the ones you already know? If yes, which one was that?



Which is the language _you_ really like?





Best,



Tanuki





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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 07:03
German to Romanian
+ ...
Do you already know the other ones perfectly Apr 8, 2002

I also speak a few languages (about 5), but I would really love to speak them well. So at the time being, I am focusing on those languages I already know. If you want to translate between languages, I think there is probably room for improvement in the languages you already know. I am sure that if you take a look at the dictionary of your native language, you will find lots of words there that you didn\'t know what they mean. SO stick to those you already know and improve them. Leave the next language to the stage when you can confidently say you know these perfectly.

But that\'s my opinion.


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Derek Smith  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:03
Italian to English
+ ...
Klingon Apr 8, 2002

This language, much underepresented among translation professionals, will offer you the opportunity to boldly go (hopefully ahead with your career)

http://www.kli.org/

On a more serious note, I should think that as a translator you already have more than enough strings to your bow, although interpreters often seem to know more than two languages. Are you sure your knowledge of your existing languages is sufficiently detailed? If so, I can only say that if I were similarly gifted and had enough time, I would probably have a crack at Latin.

Respectfully

Derek

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-08 19:44 ]


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Massimo Lencioni  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:03
English to Italian
+ ...
Scandinavian languages: pick Norwegian Apr 8, 2002

If you want to learn a Scandinavian language, maybe you should pick Norwegian. Swedish, Danish and Norwegian people can communicate with each other speaking each in their own language, and Scandinavian friends of mine (from various countries) have told me that Norwegian is sort of the \'language in the middle\'. So if you learn Norwegian, you should be able to communicate well with Swedes and Danes too.



Katja


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:03
German to English
+ ...
Depends on your personal preferences, I guess Apr 8, 2002

Mandarin would be a wise choice, I think.





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jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:03
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, Mandarin Apr 8, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-08 17:17, AbacusTrans wrote:

Mandarin would be a wise choice, I think.









To paraphrase an old advertising slogan in the USA,



\"2 billion Chinese can\'t be wrong!\"





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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 08:03
Turkish to English
+ ...
Four languages are enough Apr 8, 2002

In my experience, and perhaps this is just my own limitation, once you try to achieve a high level of fluency in more than four languages (including your native language) any further progress seems to only come at the expense of a loss of competence in whichever of those previously-learned languages that you use the least, and you start to mix all your languages up. Then, don\'t forget that if you intend to use a language professionally, you will need to work regularly on keeping your knowledge up to date, and if you spend all your time learning new languages instead your skills will become out of date.

It is also important to remember that background knowledge of specialist areas is just as important for professional translators as knowledge of languages themselves. If you intend to use your languages in a professional capacity, you might do better to concentrate on developing knowledge of a specialist area rather than learning ever more languages.

These are just my own personal thoughts but are based on my own experience.


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Eivind Lilleskjaeret  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:03
Member (2004)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Scandinavian clients pay well Apr 9, 2002

One thing that speaks for learning a Scandinavian language is that clients (including agencies) in those countries are prepared to pay fairly good rates.

I\'d say written Danish & Norwegian are close enough that a foreign learner will in time have a good grasp of both, even if he concentrates on one of them. Swedish is trickier -- but then again Sweden is a bigger market. Spoken Danish on the other hand is sometimes incomprehensible even to native Norwegians(and we were colonised by them for 400 years .

If you\'re into it, enjoying the literature of the language you\'re studying is always a good incentive, I\'ve found. James Joyce for instance took up Norwegian to be able to read Ibsen in the original.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:03
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Tim Apr 9, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-08 20:52, drydrayton wrote:

In my experience, and perhaps this is just my own limitation, once you try to achieve a high level of fluency in more than four languages (including your native language) any further progress seems to only come at the expense of a loss of competence in whichever of those previously-learned languages that you use the least, and you start to mix all your languages up. Then, don\'t forget that if you intend to use a language professionally, you will need to work regularly on keeping your knowledge up to date, and if you spend all your time learning new languages instead your skills will become out of date.

It is also important to remember that background knowledge of specialist areas is just as important for professional translators as knowledge of languages themselves. If you intend to use your languages in a professional capacity, you might do better to concentrate on developing knowledge of a specialist area rather than learning ever more languages.

These are just my own personal thoughts but are based on my own experience.





I fully agree: professionals should limit themselves to no more than 4 languages (or language pairs). It is a (sad) fact that the more (working) languages you have, the worse a translator you will be in each one.



Each working language (AND each language pair) requires regular and special attention (like a musician, who has to practise his/her instrument for at least 2-3 hours every day).



Of course, if you wish to learn more languages for your own self-edification, as it were, that\'s fine. But you\'d be better off focusing on acquiring specialist knowledge in other areas in order to enhance your performance as a translator.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't try to be a parrot... Apr 15, 2002

Study what you want (not just languages), feel free and be happy - there\'s no better way to success. In this business, once you\'ve pressured yourself (with all those other people pressuring you), you\'ve blown it, because you\'re really the only one who\'s supposed to be on your side (seriously, it\'s everybody else\'s business to criticise). If you feel like learning Swahili and speak native Irish apart from English, you\'d probably end up cornering that market...



But Werner\'s right, don\'t spread yourself too thin or you\'ll regret it at the first important test you fail. One of the most common mistakes new translators make is that of having too many containers; there\'s nothing wrong with putting some content into them. It could also be a healthy break. That sad fact about the profession is true - if you reach saturation levels in language acquisition, you could find yourself getting worse at the worst possible moments. And if you impair your original target languages in the process, it\'ll be goodbye until you can recover.


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Yubing YANG
English to Chinese
+ ...
A good challenge is to learn Chinese Apr 19, 2002

Spoken Chinese will not be too difficult, but as you can read and write good Chinese, it\'s a great challenge.

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Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:03
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Importance of specialisation Apr 22, 2002

As other colleagues have pointed out, it is not so much the quantity that counts as the quality.

Sure, a high number of languages on offer are impressive on a CV and will help you get a number of good jobs.

To succeed as a good translator however you\'ll see that it pays to specialise in 1 language pair and 1 field.

If you have already developed a few languages, maybe it\'s time to develop a specific field (do you like computers, cars, tourism, ornithology...?), in 2 main laguages (your native one + your major one).

As said above, your current language skills should help you to get a job in an area of interest, which you will later be able to apply to your language skills and offer a great mix to succeed as a translator.

Roberta


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
Member (2004)
English to Italian
mith about Scandinavian Languages... Apr 22, 2002

as Eivind has pointed out, it is not really true that Scandinavian people can communicate easily amongst themselves. They think they can, but pronunciation and differences in the actual languages mean that misunderstandings are very common, and the Danish do speak with a potato in their mouth! I would suggest Swedish. Much bigger market and probably the most fascinating Scandinavian language. Sorry Eivind!



Giovanni (with a degree in Scandianavian languages)

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-22 11:38 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-22 11:39 ]


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David Rockell
Chinese to English
Te reo maori, of course!! Apr 25, 2002

If you learn the language of te tangata whenua then you will speak languages from almost exactly opposite poles of the planet, plus know what the All Black rugby team are screaming before every match. What better reasons could there be? BTW, definitely should learn Chinese too.

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