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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: Have you ever been asked to prove you are really a native speaker of the language you declare?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:51
SITE STAFF
Dec 5, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever been asked to prove you are really a native speaker of the language you declare?".

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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 04:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No, but... Dec 5, 2011

There was a bad company that once asked me for a translation, I did it, delivered it, but they didn't want to pay, stating that it was not done by a native speaker! They doubted if I was one due to my foreign surnames. I assured them I was born in Peru, that I was a native speaker of Spanish, and that I am currently living in the country.

At the end, I found out that they really didn't want to pay for the job done, coming up all kinds of excuses.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 11:51
English to French
+ ...
Other Dec 5, 2011

... the other way around. I was to have direct contact with an end client and the agency asked me NOT to address him in HIS native (my source) language for he might not believe my mother tongue was not the same as that source language.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:51
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My name? Dec 5, 2011

I am **often** asked to prove that I'm a native speaker. I think my name suggests to some people that I'm not a native speaker of English, not realizing that I might have acquired it through marriage. Duh... It even happens to me on KudoZ--askers have written comments like: "I picked Suzie's answer [rather than yours] because she's a native speaker of English."

In a translation service where I worked, every translator had a source-language surname. That's how they acquired their competency.

It never occurs to clients to question my understanding of my source languages.


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:51
Partial member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Once Dec 5, 2011

I needed to reassure a direct client who had been misled by another translator - not easy, as the episode had been costly and everyone at the firm was very wary!

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Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:51
Member (2007)
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, but Dec 5, 2011

indirectly, when applying for tenders and sending my university diplomas.
In normal work conditions, I have never been asked to prove that.


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:51
Spanish to English
"..really a native speaker... Dec 5, 2011

I think my name says it all....some Spanish people have difficulty in pronouncing my surname..

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Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 12:51
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
At Proz.com... Dec 5, 2011

In fact, the first time there was a question of proving my "native-speakerness" it was here at Proz.com...

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Ian Jones  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:51
Member
German to English
+ ...
Absurd Dec 5, 2011

[quote]Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I am **often** asked to prove that I'm a native speaker. I think my name suggests to some people that I'm not a native speaker of English, not realizing that I might have acquired it through marriage. Duh... It even happens to me on KudoZ--askers have written comments like: "I picked Suzie's answer
than yours] because she's a native speaker of English."


Absurd. There must also be so many perfectly bilingual people in your langauge combinations anyway, especially in the States.


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Ivana Didirkova
France
Local time: 11:51
French to Slovak
+ ...
Never Dec 5, 2011

And I think it's not appropriate. After all, do you ask your doctor to show you his/her diploma to prove he really is a doctor ?

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Catharine Cellier-Smart  Identity Verified
Reunion
Local time: 13:51
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
One occasion springs to mind... Dec 5, 2011

... in my pre-translation life.
I live on Reunion (=France) and I had to take a series of job-application tests including an English test!

On the other hand on another occasion when I was living in South Korea I went along to apply for a Korean driving licence. Although I went to a special expat help-centre the fact that I applied with a British passport but a French driving licence was too much for the employee to comprehend - she obviously wasn't used to the situation. I had to supply her with proof that I'd lived for more than six months in France (the fact that we were in 2009 and that my driving licence dated from 1993 apparently wasn't proof enough!).

In other circumstances I think the fact my name is double-barrelled helps (one part obviously English, the other part obviously French), and the fact that my first name is written one of the English ways (with an "a") rather than the French way ("e"). (Although I could write a book about the number of times people mis-spell or 'correct' it for me - even English speakers!)

[Edited at 2011-12-05 11:08 GMT]


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Paul Adie  Identity Verified
Spain
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not exactly Dec 5, 2011

One time I was asked, as part of the interview procedures for a job, to do a 4-hour exam to assess my English. I made my excuses and left!

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
No, but I get asked now and then to translate into my source language Dec 5, 2011

When I married, I was tired of people mis-spelling my maiden name, which is the same as an English cathedral city. I was also in love, so I was very pleased with my husband's name.

Either people do not notice it, or if they do, they assume, as I jabber away to my family, that I must be Danish. My first name is also quite common in both countries, and I can pass as a native for a while here too!

In fact it would be hard to prove in my case.
My school certificates from an English girls' school and a B Sc from a university in West Yorkshire (it was a polytechnic then...) are about the best proof I have. But I have equally good exam certificates from Danish colleges and universities...

I am sometimes a little cautious, because as a long-standing ex-pat, I know my source language does interfere now and then. The two are closely related, and some expressions from common origins have survived in one language but not the other.

On other occasions, when I have done my fieldwork and used some idiom that is not quite Globish, I have been told: "No native speaker would ever write that!"
I have learnt to say 'Maybe not in your neck of the woods, but in Bristol/ Newcastle/ the West Riding/ North London (or wherever) ...'

Or ask where they think my source came from. It is odd how even quite well-known authors sound non-native to some people, but there it may be a case of my age showing.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:51
Flemish to English
+ ...
Wrong question Dec 5, 2011

As for spoken languages, I am equally fluent in Dutch, English,French, German and Spanish
I don't have any troubles debating in any of those languages.
So, how must I prove that I am a native speaker?
By conversating on the telephone using a lot of idioms.
I'll gladly answer any speaker of those languages in his/her so-called native tongue, except if his/her native tongue is a local dialect.

Why does the naive native thingy pops up time and again?

The title should be: Have you ever been asked to prove that you are really a C2 user of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
(http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/ )
Native is a naive concept. A user with a restricted vocabulary and restricted language structure is also a native speaker, but at which level?


[Edited at 2011-12-05 11:12 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Belgium
Local time: 11:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Just once Dec 5, 2011

The fact that I have been living in Belgium for the last 25 years led a Portuguese client to question my choice of certain words, but the matter was easily and quickly solved…

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Poll: Have you ever been asked to prove you are really a native speaker of the language you declare?






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