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Poll: How many language combinations do you work in?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:11
SITE STAFF
Apr 17, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many language combinations do you work in?".

This poll was originally submitted by Christine Schmit

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:11
Italian to English
+ ...
You have got to be kidding me! Apr 17, 2008

When I voted, I saw that 22% work in MORE THAN FIVE COMBINATIONS. I don't believe it! Can someone share how they flex this kind of linguistic muscle?

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:11
French to Spanish
+ ...
Well... Apr 17, 2008

...I voted 3... Spanish and French... and, well, sometimes English.
I guess people who "handle" more than 5 languages must be agencies, don't you think, ryancolm?
I've seen profiles, here, with more than 50 languages pairs! Check it out!


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
...at least once a week? Apr 17, 2008

I would have added that to the question, to better ascertain how many combinations people DO work in as a regular activity, not CAN work in.

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:11
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not so hard Apr 17, 2008

ryancolm wrote:

When I voted, I saw that 22% work in MORE THAN FIVE COMBINATIONS. I don't believe it! Can someone share how they flex this kind of linguistic muscle?


I for one voted five, simply because I work in related languages. Dutch is related to German and Afrikaans, and I also work in the pair English into Dutch. So that already gives three combinations. Given the fact that I (very rarely) translate into English as well (source languages Afrikaans and Dutch), that counts as five, doesn't it?

Or do you think reverse combinations should not be counted?

I don't think much more can be expected of an individual. I find it pretty hard as it is, to keep up with my three main languages in terms of reading, keeping my resources up to date, et cetera.

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:
...at least once a week?

I would have added that to the question, to better ascertain how many combinations people DO work in as a regular activity, not CAN work in.


In that case, it boils down to two. You're right, that would have made the results more useful.


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:11
English to Swedish
+ ...
One method is serial marriages with native speakers of each source language. Apr 17, 2008

I work in 12 language combinations.

***********************
Sven Petersson
Medical translator
Website: www.svenp.com
***********************


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 07:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
5 languages, 12 pairs Apr 17, 2008

I work regularly with five languages (eng/fre/esp/por/ita) and have on occasion made money from as many as twelve pairs (anything except por/ita-->any of the others).

That's leaving aside half-a-dozen computer programming languages

MediaMatrix

[Edited at 2008-04-17 20:58]


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mystymy
Local time: 07:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
more than 5 WOW Apr 17, 2008

I agree with Tomas. I work with 3 but not always, it depends on the job or demand.

Sometimes I work with 4 because a client wants Italian and doesn't want to hire an extra translator. But I only do this for steady clients that need in the work in Spanish as well, they understand full well that my Italian is not my strong suit and only for their in-house usage. The Italian to them is an extra if they really need it.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:11
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Related languages Apr 17, 2008

ryancolm wrote:

When I voted, I saw that 22% work in MORE THAN FIVE COMBINATIONS. I don't believe it! Can someone share how they flex this kind of linguistic muscle?



Scandinavian languages - Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish are so closely related that I can translate from all three.

Romance languages - These languages are relatively easy for a native English speaker to learn, and having learned one, it is even easier to learn the others. I teach French and Spanish, and I can translate from French, Spanish and Italian.

German - My knowledge of Scandinavian languages made German easy to learn.






[Edited at 2008-04-17 20:44]


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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Classical Languages open many doors Apr 17, 2008

ryancolm wrote:

When I voted, I saw that 22% work in MORE THAN FIVE COMBINATIONS. I don't believe it! Can someone share how they flex this kind of linguistic muscle?


My pairs:
Spanish > English
French > English
Latin > English
English > Latin
Spanish > Latin
French > Latin
English > Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek > English

Except for the last 2 pairs, I regularly translate in all these pairs (every week). I also translate English > Spanish, and also do Italian > English for friends on a non-professional basis.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Frequently in 4 pairs and about five times a year in a 5th Apr 17, 2008

Most of my work is translation into English from Spanish, French, Portuguese or Catalan.

I'm a certified English-Spanish translator as well, but I only work in that pair a few times per year.


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Deschant
Local time: 12:11
Reply Apr 17, 2008

ryancolm wrote:

When I voted, I saw that 22% work in MORE THAN FIVE COMBINATIONS. I don't believe it! Can someone share how they flex this kind of linguistic muscle?


Well, it's certainly difficult but not unattainable. In some European regions (for example, Catalonia, Galicia, and the Basque Country in Spain; Luxembourg, etc.), most people are raised bilingually and, after proper training, it's not difficult for them to become translators with both mother tongues as A-languages. This is already 2 combinations. Add 2 foreign languages (a B and a C, which, by the way, is the minimum required by translation schools in European countries such as Spain or Italy, and I think Germany as well), and you already have 6 combinations (without even using your B or C language as target, only source).

Best,
Eva


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just one combination Apr 17, 2008

But I go both ways. Yet I will only claim to be authentic translating into US English or Mexican Spanish, even though all other varieties of both are more than "closely related". Because to me, translation must be thoroughly authentic, and one must have an intimate knowledge of one's working languages, no less will do.

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
It also depends how you divide up languages Apr 17, 2008

For instance, it is increasingly common to consider Catalan and Valencian as two languages (I hesitate to even mention the topic as it stirs strong passions on both sides of the question).

If we count them as two languages, then I suppose I do translate in more than five combinations.


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 07:11
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
My sentiments exactly! Apr 18, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:
 
But I go both ways. Yet I will only claim to be authentic translating into US English or Mexican Spanish, even though all other varieties of both are more than "closely related". Because to me, translation must be thoroughly authentic, and one must have an intimate knowledge of one's working languages, no less will do.

 
This exactly sums up what I think, observe and practice. I will add that once a good Spanish to English translator builds up his or her client base, there is no time or room or need to go in any other direction or bother with another language. Indeed there is more than enough work as it is.


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