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Poll: How many languages do you speak fluently?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:59
SITE STAFF
Apr 2, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many languages do you speak fluently?".

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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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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:59
Member
French to English
+ ...
Question Apr 2, 2007

I would be curious to hear from those who speak only one language fluently: how do you work if you do not have a fluent grasp of your source language?

I speak and understand several languages, but only consider myself to be fully fluent in two. Incidentally, these are my only two working languages.

Best,
Jocelyne


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giorgioten
Italy
Local time: 22:59
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Is more than 4 languages impossible? Apr 2, 2007

I speak and write 5 languages, although I translate any combination of only 3.
Another point: Does voting N/A mean that the voters do not know any language .....? In this case how are they able to vote at all, or does someone else vote for them?


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
English to Polish
+ ...
That is excluding the native language? Apr 2, 2007

??

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
Flemish to English
+ ...
Five+ Apr 2, 2007

I am able to sit around a table with any native speaker of English,French,German, Spanish and Dutch and converse fluently. I understand Italian, Portuguese and some Romanian, but will have to answer in Spanish.
Ah, if I only had time to study the last three languages and make them more active.
Are there more of you wrestling with this problem that you understand other languages, but you don't find time to actively study.
Toje panimajoe tsjut tsjut russki jazik....


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Even 7 (not me) :=) Apr 2, 2007

giorgioten wrote:

I speak and write 5 languages, although I translate any combination of only 3.
Another point: Does voting N/A mean that the voters do not know any language .....? In this case how are they able to vote at all, or does someone else vote for them?


Of course 5 is possible, although I speak and write only 4 languages, we have a German colleague speaking and writing 7 languages: German, Dutch, French, Italian, English, Swedish and Danish.

P.S. Is Latin excluded or included?

[Edited at 2007-04-02 14:50]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
What is "fluency"? Apr 2, 2007

How do we define that?

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Annette Heinrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
3 Apr 2, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

How do we define that?


I speak 4 languages, but only 3 of them fluently. For me, "fluently" means that I can discuss in that language without having to search for words or frequently hesitating because I'm unsure how to express myself.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
How de we define fluency? Apr 2, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

How do we define that?


I have the same question as Henry. A few polls back (the one about who had the more interesting job of the couple) people seemed to latch on to the idea that “interesting” was a relative sort of word.

In this poll, I believe the word “fluently” could also be perceived as being pretty relative. I’ve heard people who claim to speak 6 or 7 languages fluently and of the languages I understand and speak (and so could judge their use of the language accurately), I‘d have to say their idea of fluent is quite different than mine.

I would say “fluent” would mean being able to carry on a conversation with a minimum of errors and nothing that would affect how the other person understands what is being expressed. It also shouldn’t sound like it’s being translated from another language.
I’d like to know how other people would define fluency...


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
I agree Apr 2, 2007

John Cutler wrote:I would say “fluent” would mean being able to carry on a conversation with a minimum of errors and nothing that would affect how the other person understands what is being expressed. It also shouldn’t sound like it’s being translated from another language.
I’d like to know how other people would define fluency


I'd say I strongly agree with your definition of fluency.

I think this is the only possible definition and I can assure that I know a colleague who is fluent (according to this definition) in 7 languages, I cannot write his name here but he is a proz. member.


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 16:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Amazing!... Apr 2, 2007

.. that close to 10% only speak one language fluently! I suppose it's their native tongue, so how can they translate then if they cannot even speak the other language? Are these really translators??

[Edited at 2007-04-03 12:32]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Perhaps... Apr 2, 2007

Cristina Heraud-van Tol wrote:

.. that close to 10% only speak one language fluently! I suppose it's their native tongue, so how can they translate then if they cannot event speak the other language? Are these really translators??


Perhaps they're proofreaders? (One possible idea).


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Fiamma Lolli
Italy
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
what does fluent mean? Apr 2, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

I would say “fluent” would mean being able to carry on a conversation with a minimum of errors and nothing that would affect how the other person understands what is being expressed. It also shouldn’t sound like it’s being translated from another language.
I’d like to know how other people would define fluency...


I answered three, including Italian, my native language
When I speak Spanish, or English, I think in Spanish or English, I mean in my mind I do not translate sentences from Italian before saying them. I can carry on a conversation with someone understanding each other perfectly. Nevertheless my pronunciation is awful (after all I'm a translator, not an interpreter). My Italian accent is heavy, more in English than in Spanish - in Spain many times people told me they thought I was from Latin America, in Latin America they knew I was not Spanish... - and I speak American English better than British English.
I can even speak French with the same results but I would never work with it for my knowledge of lexical subtleties is, to make an understatement, poor.
Am I fluent?


[Edited at 2007-04-02 15:18]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Fluency... Apr 2, 2007

is something I understand as oral, not necessarily extensive to writing. In that sense, active languages, and not necessarily working pairs. Could this be what is meant?

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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Perhaps Apr 2, 2007

Cristina Heraud-van Tol wrote:

10% only speak one language fluently! I suppose it's their native tongue, so how can they translate then if they cannot event speak the other language? Are these really translators??


They did not consider their native language?


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