Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Declaring native language
Thread poster: Rafa Lombardino

Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Feb 21, 2006

Hi, everybody!

I was wondering if anyone knows how to declare two native languages. I'm not being able to quote on some projects because I've declared my native language as Portuguese, given the fact that I was born in Brazil. However, I'd also like to let clients know that my second native language is English... When I try to ad a second native language, I get the message that once you declare it, you cannot change it, even though I've seen some profiles with more than one native language...

Any ideas?

Thanks!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Luis Zepeda
United States
Local time: 10:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Declaring Native Language Feb 21, 2006

It is my understanding that once you declare one, its set for life. However, I have been asking myself the same question lately.

I declared Spanish as my native language at the onset based on proz stated rules, because I was born in Mexico, but for the past 40 years my education and communication has been English.

I do not consider myself as fluent in Spanish as I would like. I feel I can express myself better in English than in Spanish and would like to change my designated language. But proz rules say that was it, and I abide by them. There is no double Native Langauage anymore, but if there is, I would like to know how to do it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:20
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Bi-lingual Feb 21, 2006

I completely agree with you both that it should be possible to declare two native languages. It was possible when I set up my profile and it should remain that way. There are many people who are fluently bi-lingual or who, after many years in another country, are more comfortable in their second language than in their native language. Certainly, things can change over time and it should not be carved in stone.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:20
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
It is possible to declare 2 native languages Feb 21, 2006

however it is not possible to change it once you've declared already.

The idea is that these things DO NOT change overtime, particularly not during a year or two... Those who do have 2 languages declared did so at moment of declaring.

The only way to change it is to file a Support Request - e.g. if you made a wrong selection and hit 'accept' button too early, things can be corrected for you by staff.

I think you will agree with me that it is very unlikely that someone "forgets" what his/her native language is and changes mind a year or two later

HTH,
Magda

[Edited at 2006-02-21 16:52]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Filing a support request would do? Feb 21, 2006

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

The only way to change it is to file a Support Request - e.g. if you made a wrong selection and hit 'accept' button too early, things can be corrected for you by staff.

HTH,
Magda

[Edited at 2006-02-21 16:52]


Hi, Magda:

I have to be honest with you that I cannot remember whether there was a second field when I was trying to declare my native languages. It's been at least six months since I did so, but if I had the option to declare Portuguese and English, I had done so. Should I send a support request and try to get another chance in declaring both native languages?

To tell you the truth, I feel more comfortable speaking in English than I do in Portuguese sometimes... I know it sounds weird, since I lived in Brazil for 20 years, but I guess it comes more natural for me and I sound more professional when I'm speaking English now because it's my language of business (the one I mostly use when talking to clients from different parts of the world) and my language at home (my husband is American).

Believe it or not, I actually had to send a copy of my birth certificate and my technical high school diploma in Computer Sciences to one client once because, after speaking to me over the phone and exchanging endless email messages, he was convinced that I was an American who had only learned Portuguese at a language school. Since we were about to start working on a large website localization, he wanted to make sure that the final text would definitely be "Brazilian", so he wanted to make sure that I had both the experience and the background needed to provide him with the computer lingo used in Brazil. We've been working together for seven months now

Well, after considering these comments, I strongly believe I should be able to declare English as a native language as well, in order to let clients know that I'm fully bilingual and comfortable working from and into both languages. As a matter of fact, I'm planning on taking the ATA exams for both Eng>Port and Port>Eng in the next couple of years, so it's only reasonable that I have both languages declared as native as well.

Thanks for the info!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

JennyC08
Local time: 13:20
German to French
+ ...
I would be interested too... Feb 21, 2006

Hi,

As far as I remember, when I subscribed to ProZ, it was not possible to declare 2 native languages.
Maybe I didn't look properly, but I would also like to change that.

Thanks!

Caroline


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:20
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Yes, Support Request is a right thing to do Feb 21, 2006

The site staff can make a correction.

Just for your info - and to answer question which may come up in this thread: in the case of selecting 2 (or more) languages, all of them will be shown in your profile and elsewhere on site as "declared" not "confirmed". That is your native language icon (any of the 2) will be gray, not bright yellow.
This is because there is no system in place to actually confirm bilingualism and proz.com is trying to prevent false statements (what I mean here is preventing the situation where somebody would "switch" his/her native languages depending on prospective job or a KudoZ question...). Obviously declaring one native language doesn't need any formal confirmation, especially if this info cannot be freely changed in the profile.

For these reasons changing native language declared in profile is not an easy thing to do, however, not completely impossible - it is done on a case by case basis and by site staff only.

Hope this helps!

Magda


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'll file the request then Feb 21, 2006

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

...in the case of selecting 2 (or more) languages, all of them will be shown in your profile and elsewhere on site as "declared" not "confirmed". That is your native language icon (any of the 2) will be gray, not bright yellow.


Thanks again, Madga, for your prompt reply. It's funny because by looking at my profile and at my entries when I'm helping our fellow translators with Kudoz questions, it does show that I'm a native speaker of Portuguese, but the icon has never been bright yellow... So I'd rather have two gray icons than one! LOL

I understand that Proz is trying to prevent false statements and that it would be hard to check that, unless moderators called each Prozian on the phone for an interview!

No, seriously, maybe the staff should consider using certifications from renowned organizations (such as the ATA) as a good standard. That is, if someone passes the exam translating into a language "X", it should be considered that the person is a native speaker of such language or, at least, has achieved a "native level" when communicating in such language.

But, honestly, as far as I'm concerned, I wanted to be able to quote on projects that say "only English native speakers should apply." At the moment, I cannot quote on such projects because of this little detail (of declaring my native languages...)

Well, thank you so much for the info. I'll contact technical support tomorrow then to try to solve this problem.

[Edited at 2006-02-21 19:03]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:20
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
a different suggestion Feb 21, 2006

Rafa Lombardino wrote:
No, seriously, maybe the staff should consider using certifications from renowned organizations (such as the ATA) as a good standard. That is, if someone passes the exam translating into a language "X", it should be considered that the person is a native speaker of such language or, at least, has achieved a "native level" when communicating in such language.


If someone passes an exam such as the ATA certification exam, then that person can declare the certification on his/her profile. And if copies of the certificate are faxed to ProZ staff, that credential will show up as "confirmed". A credential in language pair X->Y, however, doesn't make that translator a native speaker of language Y. For example, I have a credential in English->French, confirmed by ProZ staff. That certainly doesn't make me a native speaker of French, and I wouldn't even dream of stating that in my profile. It would simply be false and misleading.

Rafa, your idea about "native level" is something that I've thought about for a long time. Under "Native language(s)" I'd like to see a section titled "native fluency" or "near-native" or something similar. That way, if a member has lived in a foreign country for a long period of time and has acquired near-native fluency in language Y, he/she can list language Y in that section. What do you think?

Maria


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Native language Feb 21, 2006

Hi Rafa,

I have always understood the native language function differently. I work with my wife who is Brazilian so I declare two native languages. So when I deliver a job it will be carried out by a native speaker, Spanish (me) or Portuguese (my wife). I didn't want to be misleading so I have made this clear in my profile.

I consider my English is very good as a second language and I even have Cambridge certificates in many subjects, including English, English literature, etc. I went to a Scottish school and had a bilingual education with native teachers since I was a kid. This doesn´t make me a native.

Regarding ATA, I believe their function has nothing to do with identifying native speakers.

Unless your husband will be proofreading and editing your translations, if I hired you as a native English speaker I would feel cheated and would regard this as highly unprofessional behavior. Sorry, this is just my point of view.

Maria Karra wrote:

Under "Native language(s)" I'd like to see a section titled "native fluency" or "near-native" or something similar.


Hi Maria,

I agree with you regarding what is a native speaker, however I don't see a point in declaring "native fluency" on a site full of capable native translators.

Fred


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:20
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
near-native: useful or not? Feb 21, 2006

Fred Neild wrote:
Maria Karra wrote:

Under "Native language(s)" I'd like to see a section titled "native fluency" or "near-native" or something similar.


Hi Maria,

I agree with you regarding what is a native speaker, however I don't see a point in declaring "native fluency" on a site full of capable native translators.

Fred


Hi Fred,
I think it would solve problems such as that mentioned by Rafa (i.e. not being able to quote on jobs), assuming of course that outsourcers will add "native fluency" to their criteria. Right now we only have "native language(s)" and the list of working language pairs, so if one of your target languages isn't your native, the outsourcer has no way of knowing how good your knowledge of it is and won't know whether to trust you with a job or not.
And as you may have noticed, there are users who declare target languages that they don't really master. Let's say that I speak some basic Italian but am arrogant enough to add Spanish-Italian to my language pairs. And let's say that you -a native Spanish speaker- have been raised in Italy and have lived there for 25 years. You have also added Spanish-Italian to your pairs. Wouldn't it be nice/useful (to you and to outsourcers) to have a means of showing that your knowledge of Italian is superior to mine? Wouldn't that increase your chances of getting Spanish-Italian jobs?

Finally, if I were an outsourcer I would probably assign a translation job to a member who has declared "native fluency" in a language, but never a proofreading job.

I haven't thought this through; it's just an idea, perhaps a bad one. I just threw it here for feedback. So, thanks for the feedback




[Edited at 2006-02-21 20:17]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Miomira Brankovic  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 19:20
Member
English to Serbian
+ ...
My mother tongue is listed as four languages on ProZ Feb 21, 2006

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

The idea is that these things DO NOT change overtime, particularly not during a year or two...
I think you will agree with me that it is very unlikely that someone "forgets" what his/her native language is and changes mind a year or two later


I have to disagree. For some 40 years of my life I declared my native language as Serbo-Croatian. It was its official name. Now, although I still speak the same language, Serbo-Croatian does not exist any more, there are now Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian (and ProZ still offers Serbo-Croat, too). Being born in Bosnia to a Bosnian father and Serbian mother and having lived most of my life in Serbia, I honestly do not know whether my mother tongue is Serbian, Bosnian or Serbo-Croatian – I am perfectly fluent in all three (IF they are three distinct languages, which is not just a linguistic question and certainly not something that should be discussed in this forum).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:20
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
native language: not useful? Feb 21, 2006

Luis Zepeda wrote:

I declared Spanish as my native language at the onset based on proz stated rules, because I was born in Mexico, but for the past 40 years my education and communication has been English.

I do not consider myself as fluent in Spanish as I would like. I feel I can express myself better in English than in Spanish


Luis, in cases such as yours I wonder how useful the "native language" feature is on profiles. Actually many members have wondered the same thing and there have been discussions about this in the past.
What does one's declared "native language" tell the outsourcer? Does it really give him an accurate idea of our language skills and fluency? If your English is better than your Spanish, there should be a way for you to express that in your profile (you can always write that in the main text area, but that won't be one of the criteria outsourcers select in the directory).
Here's another scenario: Let's say that member X has declared Greek as his native language because he was born to Greek parents. However, that member moved to another country when he was 10 years old and has lived there ever since. Now let's say he submits a bid for a Dutch-Greek job, and so does another colleague, native Dutch speaker, born to Dutch parents but raised in Greece. His Greek is probably better than the first member's, but he's declared Dutch as his native language. In this case, who is really misleading the outsourcer? The first member will most likely get the job, but will that be fair? Who is more competent in the Dutch-Greek language pair? Who will submit a better translation?

To cut a long story short, and to make my point clear: there's no doubt in my mind as to what "native language" really means. My question is how useful the native-language feature is on profiles when it comes to translation and to describing our language competence to outsourcers.

As I said, I think I've seen discussions on this issue in ProZ forums before, but I don't remember seeing a solution acceptable by all. And I'm not sure we can ever reach a verdict. (As far as I'm concerned, we might as well get rid of the "native language" feature altogether.)

Maria


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:20
Flemish to English
+ ...
Native: a license to translate and a guarantee of quality? Feb 21, 2006

To what extend does "native" equals "written perfection" (a conditio sine qua non for translation) in that particular language?
What is the native tongue (of your mother): the Latin-American variant of Spanish, the New-York or Manchester variant of English, Portuguese from Brazil or Portugal.
Even native speakers make mistakes, especially if their educational level was low or if they don't use that written native tongue often.
The first command of translation : "thy shalt translate into thy native tongue only" and not the other way around is an idiotic icon, for the simple reason that if you translate into one direction, you should be able to translate into the direction too. Isn't translation about comprehension of the source text?


[Edited at 2006-02-21 21:07]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great idea! Feb 21, 2006

Maria Karra wrote:

Rafa, your idea about "native level" is something that I've thought about for a long time. Under "Native language(s)" I'd like to see a section titled "native fluency" or "near-native" or something similar. That way, if a member has lived in a foreign country for a long period of time and has acquired near-native fluency in language Y, he/she can list language Y in that section. What do you think?

Maria


Hello, Maria:

I'd really like to see this "native fluency" option featured by Proz.com. I do agree that "native" is related to birth AND fluency, that is why my native language should remain as Portuguese (being born and educated in Brazil). However, I don't believe that my ability to fully communicate in English (both written and verbally) should be taken for granted.

Neither it should become an obstacle for quoting on a project... Quoting doesn't necessarily mean that clients will automatically hire me for an assignment, but would allow them to further test my abilities and consider my services. By the way, if I were able to quote on a project that states that only native speakers should apply, I would have a chance to let the client know that I do work with English natives, who have been language professionals for at least five years, and that I usually hire as proofreaders for my own work, that is, when I don't forward such job to these freelancers as part of my job, since I'm an outsourcer...

I understand that there are a lot of people that assume they are as good as native speakers -- believe me, I've met tons of people who include "fluent in xxx" in their resume and they can't even read or speak the language... That is why clients should be able to get in contact with those who do declare language "X" to be their "mother tongue" and consider all of their options before chosing the best suitable person to take on the assignment. Believe me, as an outsourcer, I know that clients can be very picky and somewhere along the line they will find out who is "cheating" regarding their language skills.

Unfortunatelly, I can only answer for myself. What could be taken into consideration for my case is that:

1) Professional reason: I mostly use English when talking with my clients and the freelance translators that work with me. Exceptions are a couple of professionals from Brazil (with whom I've been speaking to in Portuguese) and one from Ecuador (with whom I've been speaking to in Spanish) and a client from Portugal (with whom I've been speaking to in Portuguese).

2) Professional reason: 75% of my clients request translations from Portuguese into English. Whenever such projects are not necessarily related to my fields of expertise (Computer Sciences, Social Communications, and Education) and require highly technical terminology, I do use a professional proofreader who works in such relevant field.

3) Professional reason: I've been able to keep all clients who request translations into English, which is a good sign As a matter of fact, I've only lost three clients in nine years, and they were the only three clients who were scammers and didn't pay me and some other translators I've got in contact with while assigning a dozen jobs during a period of time before they changed the name of their fraudulent agencies...

4) Business reason: As an outsorcer for RML Language Services, I do work with native speakers of English who are language professionals for at least five years. Depending on the subject, I don't work on a given project myself, but quote on it and, after being chosen by the client, I forward the material to one of these reliable freelancers who are suitable for the job. My inability to quote on such projects that are restricted to native speakers does not only affect my chances of offering my own services to a client, but any chances our freelances might have of getting such job through our agency.

5) Personal reason: I live in the US and my husband and his family are monolingual English speakers.

6) Related reason: I've worked as an "English as a Second Language" teacher for three years (I know, it's not that much, but I had to resign in order to dedicate myself solely to translations while juggling assignments with college). Most of my groups were for advanced classes and prep classes for the Michigan Proficiency Certificate.

7) Related reason: I'm currently going to the University of California, San Diego and taking the English and Spanish Translation Certification. I was accepted after passing the entrance exam and declaring English as my A language (along with Portuguese) and Spanish as my B language.

I know that these justifications wouldn't be enough for convincing anyone that I should declare English as my native language, even though I wasn't born in a country where English is the official language. That's not my main goal... But I'd really like this information to be considered, since I'm sure there are many people like me out there who would like to be able to quote on a job with such restrictions.

I mean, if someone was born in a country with two official languages, does this person have to choose only one? What if he/she was born in an English-speaking county to a mother from country X and a father to country Y, was able to communicate with both in their native languages, gone to school in X and Y countries, should the person only declare English as the native language? What about a translator who was born in Barcelona: the native language would be Catalan or Spanish? And a native speaker of one of the countries were a language is officially spoken could still be able to apply for a job that will be used in another country where the same language is officially spoken, regardless of the deep differences in vocabulary between both variations?

Anyway, I don't mean to be a pain, but I believe this is a very important discussion that is relevant to our field...

Thanks for your feedback!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

Declaring native language

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



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