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Poll: Is there a school subject that might have helped you as a freelancer if you had paid more attention?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:16
SITE STAFF
May 16

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is there a school subject that might have helped you as a freelancer if you had paid more attention?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:16
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other (I don't think so...) May 16

I always paid attention to all subjects; I was an excellent student, maybe not very clever, but very hard worker and very motivated…

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:16
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes. May 16

Latin. We were all taught Latin for one year, after which those who did best at it continued with it and the others were taught German instead. At the time, I would much have preferred German, and I didn't do well at Latin thereafter. But I have later come to think of Latin as useful to know, for understanding not only history and ancient literature, but also modern European languages.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:16
Japanese to English
Yes May 16

Latin

I should have paid more attention to content rather than the wording and grammar of The Annals penned by Tacitus. I might have conquered Europe or rebuilt the Great Wall of China by now.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes May 16

I was never much good at maths or science subjects, and tended to switch off when obliged to study something which I was not good at, or interested in. Nowadays, I do quite a bit of work in biosciences, genetics and microbiology, despite my limited understanding of things like statistics and equations, and I think if I had been able to bring myself to pay more attention in these areas, it might have helped a bit. However, having said that, I get by quite well on my current abilities.

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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:16
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Latin and Russian May 16

I wish that I'd studied Latin for the insight into the roots of modern languages. Russian was available at my school as a two-year O Level course in the sixth form, but there was a timetable clash with Art, which was my main interest, so I couldn't do it. That would have been very useful indeed and might have led me to take up translating earlier.

Jack writes "We were all taught Latin for one year, after which those who did best at it continued with it and the others were taught German instead." That was perhaps a better policy than my school's policy on science. We were all taught biology for a year and those who did best at it were judged "good at science" and so stopped doing biology and went on to do physics and chemistry, while those who did poorly in biology were judged "not good at science" and continued to do biology, which was considered an "easy" science. Unfortunately, though I really enjoyed studying physics, I didn't like chemistry because of the rote learning involved. As the school only offered a combined science O Level, that meant I didn't take a science O Level, in spite of having good grades in physics. However, I'm not sure that has affected my career as a translator. It did stop me from studying industrial design, which is what I had really wanted to do.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Latin?! May 16

I did Latin A-level for my sins and I've never found it in the least bit useful. I've never understood this argument that it's useful for learning other languages. You don't speak it, it's just a tad out of date, and after seven years I could still barely read it or write it without constant recourse to a dictionary. And I got an A...

Yes it shares some words with the Romance languages but they probably share more words and grammar with English anyway. What a waste of time that was.

I wish I'd paid more attention to science at school. Then I might have a proper job now and be changing the world rather than being a glorified typist.


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tomtom88  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:16
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
Accounting May 16

I was terrible at school and think it would have helped.

Chris S wrote:

I wish I'd paid more attention to science at school. Then I might have a proper job now and be changing the world rather than being a glorified typist.



same here. I really regret I was so bad at maths.


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Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:16
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Latin May 16

Definitely useful for anything medical.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sciences May 16

I did benefit from Latin... but not happily!

I made the mistake og coming top in my first Latin exam. Beginner's luck, and OK, my biggest talent is for languages. After that, I was not mature enough for the teacher's sarcastic humour, and no matter how hard I tried, she frequently wrote 'You can do better' at the bottom when she marked my work. I can still see it in her neat, square handwriting fifty years later!!

To be fair, she did spend a lot of time on relating Latin to modern English and French, and I remember her Friday verb tests as quite interesting and useful later on. I scraped an E for 'O' level and dropped Latin immediately!

I have found it useful later, and been complimented on my medical Latin. If I had done better at Chemistry and Maths, I just might have got further with science. I was not interested in Arts subjects until later.


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Danylo Kravchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:16
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Physics and chemistry May 16

Those subjects would have helped me to understand better the nature of physical and chemical processes like electricity, fusion, condensing, electrolysis, radiocommunication, etc. I come across them frequently in my technical translations. Very often I need to revise basic physical and chemical laws we studied in school.

[Відредаговано 2017-05-16 10:53 GMT]

[Відредаговано 2017-05-16 10:55 GMT]


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Physics May 16

Today I think it's a fascinating subject and furthermore a better knowledge could come in handy for my technical translations and in my daily life, too.

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Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 15:16
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
All subjects May 16

I think every single subject I had in school has helped me so far, and if I had paid more attention, they would have probably helped me more.
I am often amazed what is still stuck in the far convolutions of my mind. More knowledge means less research.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 15:16
Member (2005)
English to German
Recess May 16

I should have learned how to take a break properly, I'm still not very good at it

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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
Italian to English
+ ...
Maths and science May 16

Chris S wrote:

I wish I'd paid more attention to science at school. Then I might have a proper job now and be changing the world rather than being a glorified typist.



So I could have studied medicine and would be retired by now with a nice pension.


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