Mobile menu

Native Language declaration/proof
Thread poster: Sol

Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 19, 2004

I know this is not about "jobs", but it is, isn't it? No one is likely to contact a translator that hasn't declared the target language of the prospective job as Native, let's get real. But, what does ProZ.com consider Native? I went to declare my languages and instead of an explanation I found a big sign warning me that whatever I declare, cannot be changed later, and believe it or not! that in the future we will need to PROVE to ProZ.com that we are, in fact, Native speakers, and that THERE MIGHT BE A CHARGE for this service. I think an explanation would be nice. Will ProZ.com consider someone's "native language" the one he or she learned FIRST, or the one he or she has a HIGHER EDUCATION in, or the one he or she uses IN EVERY DAY LIFE? Shouldn't there be more than 2 options? Wouldn't a "Near-Native" choice make sense? Maybe being "Near-Native" could be proved by showing a certificate or diploma that certifies this person can translate into the language, even if his or her first word was not "daddy" but "papa". I know people who never got too far in their first language, why should they be able to get jobs into that language and not someone who has a higher education in it and uses it daily? Just my thoughts.

[Edited at 2004-07-20 19:57]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
Native Language Jul 20, 2004

In the world of translation, I would consider the native language to be that language your parents taught you, which you were educated in, and to which you can translate into comfortably(and is acceptable by your peers in that language). To say it was that which you use in everyday life might be difficult for me. I left the UK to live and work in Spain. I later married a Spanish woman, who cannot speak any English, my everyday language is Spanish as I live in a barrio in Valencia city. But, I would never consider myself native in Spanish. On a slightly diferent note, I have read many times in the Spanish press that the quality of English spoken by pupils, who have received English lessons for 8-9 years of their school lives, is less than atrocious. I believe one of the major reasons why this is, is because they are being taught by non-native English speakers.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Response Jul 20, 2004

Sol wrote:

whatever I declare, cannot be changed later


Well, you can't exactly backtrack to your childhood up to elementary school and change that.

The native language does not change. It is the second, third, etc. languages that are variable. That variability accounts for the instability that outsources would rather avoid.

and believe it or not! that in the future we will need to PROVE to ProZ that we are, in fact, Native speakers, and that THERE MIGHT BE A CHARGE for this service.


ProZ.com presumes everyone has at least ONE native language. The single one declared will not be questioned and will need no confirmation.

The declaration of a second native language will require testing. The questions to be answered by the testing are:
1.) Is that language really native?
2.) If so, is that language dominant or recessive?

One test can answer both.

Will ProZ consider someone's "native language" the one he or she learned FIRST, or the one he or she has a HIGHER EDUCATION in, or the one he or she uses IN EVERY DAY LIFE?


The one lived and learned first and the one you had the MOST BASIC EDUCATION IN or LIVED WITH YOUR FAMILY IN. Higher education is too late to count. The language you use in everyday life, if not the native language, may still present errors.

Shouldn't there be more than 2 options?


Normally, no...

On bilingualism, outsourcers are pretty understanding. Someone who declares "Spanish/Catalan" as native languages would not be questioned, as this is the normal profile of a native Catalan speaker. I'm bilingual Tagalog and no Tagalog outsourcers will question this either because statistically, it would be difficult to find a monolingual Tagalog speaker.

This is the case of French Canadians, native Galicians, Basque-French, Basque-Spanish, Russian-speaking Ukrainians, etc.. These exceptions, like the above, are present in large population groups. A test in such cases will only be expected to yield the answer to question no. 2.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
It is a very important matter Jul 20, 2004

Parrot is somehow right, but there is a real problem here and Sol has opened a very interesting discussion.
A native language should be the one you have been taught by your parents.
What happens with the other languages? Parrot please continue your explanation!
The question is here: Which languages are considered by outsourcers to translate in?
If you speek a language since the age of 3 or 5 can you translate in that language?
There are different opinions here in ProZ.
Near-native languages are important and also bilingualism has to be cleared up.
If one speaks a language since the age of 3 or 5 and continuously use it, why shouldn't that person be allowed to translate in that language?
If a child is bilingual, which language is considered the native-one? (I mean if the parents speak different languages). In which language can he translate as an adult?
If you consider bilingualism also the case where the child has a native language from his parents, but he also has a second language in his environment (street, school, parents a.s.o), then would that second language also be allowed for translating into?
If a theory has been build up for the translation field,limits for its usage have to be setup.
Just cutting and forbidding is not enough.
Can anyone say loud and clear that one can not translate in a language spoken since the age of 3 or 5? Where is the difference, where are the limits?
I can not be put me on the same position with one who has only studied that language only in high-school or after the marriage.
It is not about my person here, but about principles.
Then there are also the groups of similar languages to be cleared up.
A person who is native English, Spanish, German, French a.s.o,can translate in any of the countries where these languages are used? (e.g a native English can translate US or Canadian, or Australian, or African English?)
Where and why should be the limits? Also for dialects.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 17:05
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Being multilingual does not automatically mean you have more than one native language Jul 20, 2004

Here is Belgium, there are some truly dual-native language people. Seems to succeed when one language is spoken consistently at home and the other one is the language spoken outside the home and at school. French/Dutch and vice-versa is the most common but happened with my own son, English/French.
People tend to confuse being bi/tri/quadrilingual and having more than one native language. To me there is a huge difference.
And as someone pointed out on another forum: speaking several languages and/or having more than one native language does not necessarily mean one can translate. That is a different kettle of fish altogether.


[Edited at 2004-07-20 13:09]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not much to explain Jul 20, 2004

Ruxi wrote:

A native language should be the one you have been taught by your parents.


Correct. There is also the consideration of socialization in early life (childhood, specifically schooling).

What happens with the other languages? Parrot please continue your explanation!


Apart from the fact that they're as variable as the conditions under which they were acquired, there's not much else to explain. What is valued here is the instinct for correctness. That CANNOT be faked, and remains constant.

That instinct only exists in the mother language. In all other acquired and variable languages, it fluctuates.

My active second language used to be French. I had it perfect down to the accent. I spoke Spanish, but was not corrected in it until I was 13. Then I moved to Spain. So that changed. Now I speak French with a Spanish accent. But I am not a native Spanish speaker.

If you consider that I became a false German native in Germany at 10 and lost it upon moving out of Germany, you get an idea of how unreliable it is.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's about jobs Jul 20, 2004

Thank-you, Parrot and all others for your answers. The main point here is that when looking for a translator in the directories, or when considering bids, the outsourcerers are much less likely to consider someone for a translation if he or she is not a "native speaker" of the target language. It seems they don't care much about your ability to understand the nuances of the language in which the text was written, as long as the result looks good. I was not born to English Speaking parents, and I did not go to elementary school in the United States, but I have lived here MOST of my life, surrounded by English speaking people and media; I have a certificate that states I can translate INTO English, and I have my husband (who was born here and has more of that "instinct") ready to proofread anything I write. In other words, I am perfectly qualified to translate into U.S. English. I spent most of my life getting to this point. Shouldn't there be an flag in the profiles that shows this? Would it be allowable to declare your partner's first language in your profile as native?

I propose that instead of the Native declaration, ProZ adopt a numeric rating system such as that used by the federal agencies of the U.S., that rate language proficiency levels from 0 (non-existing) to 4 (profesional native proficiency). That's what I meant by "more than 2 options". I didn't mean the ability to declare more than 2 native languages, Parrot. You can read about the specific criteria for asigning those ratings right here: http://www.govtilr.org/ILR_scale1.htm, and since we are talking translation, not interpreting, we only should be concerned with the "reading" and "writing" criteria. Maybe each of us could self-rate ourselves, and those that have been rated by an agency, prove it to ProZ by showing the necesary paperwork. Maybe that test ProZ is considering offering for a fee could rate proficiency with the same or similar criteria? I wouldn't mind paying a small fee for that type of service! I think the job-posters would consider much more than "nativeness" in a candidate if what showed in the profile were proficiency levels instead of just the measleading "Native Speaker" label.


[Edited at 2004-07-20 19:53]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
It just isn't that simple. Jul 20, 2004

Parrot says:

"The one lived and learned first and the one you had the MOST BASIC EDUCATION IN or LIVED WITH YOUR FAMILY IN. Higher education is too late to count."

But what if the above are not the same? I spoke Dutch the first six years of my life, moved to South America and did my elementary school in English, moved back to Holland and completed High School and two years of university, then moved to Canada and completed my higher education here. Higher education requires tons of reading, writing, and speaking - I wouldn't say that is 'too late to count'.

After 40 years of living in Canada, while the Dutch language has evolved and changed over the years (to include lots of English words!), I can still say that Dutch is my native language and that I speak it fluently, but I speak English 99% of the time and Dutch only when I see my Dutch friends or phone my family in Holland. I dream in English and I swear (occasionally) in English. I'm more comfortable translating into English than into Dutch.


I think the question of one's native language just isn't that simple. It would be very difficult to set any hard and fast rules - it really depends on each person's life history. Giving people the option of declaring two native languages seems reasonable. As far as proof is concerned, you are welcome to give me a call in either language!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 17:05
German to English
Numeric rating system: I second that! Jul 20, 2004

Sol wrote:
I propose that instead of the Native declaration, ProZ adopt a numeric rating system such as that used by the federal agencies of the U.S., that rate language proficiency levels from 0 (non-existing) to 4 (profesional native proficiency). That's what I meant by "more than 2 options".
ybe each of us could self-rate ourselves, and those that have been rated by an agency, prove it to ProZ by showing the necesary paperwork. Maybe that test ProZ is considering offering for a fee could clarify proficiency with the same or similar criteria? I wouldn't mind paying a small fee for that type of service! I think the job-posters would consider much more than "nativeness" in a candidate if what showed in the profile were proficiency levels instead of just the misleading "Native Speaker" label.[/quote]

Sol,
This is a very valid suggestion and could well be the only solution to the problem. It would also give ProZ the professional image it deserves -- raise the quality of job posters even. Anybody can call themselves a native speaker, what we need is proof and be able to show it.

syl


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Native Language declaration/proof

Advanced search






Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs