Need advice on learning another language
Thread poster: Nina Snoj
Nina Snoj
Slovenia
Spanish to Slovenian
+ ...
Mar 17, 2003

Hi,



I have a big doubt; I am still able to sleep at night but....lets just get down to the matter and make it short; I am a freelance translator and I work with Spanish, English and Slovenian language. If it wasnt for that last one, which also happens to be my native language, I probably would have never become a translator.That is because Slovenian belongs to those so-called \"rare\" languages, meaning not widely used or demanded on the job board.

I am 24 now and I think that its still not too late to learn another language. I know it will take ages to become a fluent speaker and centuries before I can actualy translate, but I do intend to relocate and spend a longer period of time in that country. Now, which is the country?

I am seriously thinking about either RUSSIAN(being a slavic language, it might be easier for me to learn it), CHINESE(I also work in trade and in that area chinese is a really useful skill) or ARABIC(i just find it so challenging and interesting).

What I would like to know from you, my more experienced collegues, is... which one is the best investment, from the point of the view of a freelance translator.

Which one is known to be the most complicated out of these three ones /russian, chinese, arabic/?

Does anybody know of any distance learning programmes of the above mentioned languages that are actualy worth the money and the effort (to get started before going anywhere..)?

O.K. I know it might be difficult to find someone who speaks all three languages and could give me the best comparative, but I will appreciate all your answers since I am kinda running out of time.

Good luck and PEACEful thoughts

Nina


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
German to English
+ ...
Where you want to spend time Mar 17, 2003

I think I would base my decision largely on which culture I would like to spend time in, since it will take living in one of those countries to really grasp the language.

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xxxForna
English to Spanish
+ ...
If I were you.... Mar 17, 2003

I would strive for the rest of my life to be the NUMBER ONE Slovenian+any-other-language translator, recognized as such in every corner of the world.



I think this would be far better than being just another polyglot.



A hug from BRAZIL


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 06:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
A language is more than that Mar 17, 2003

Dear Nina



I must confess that I feel amazed when I see such a request, but you\'re not the only one who does. In the Spanish forum there is the same request



http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic=9145&forum_id=24&start=0



Of course it\'s time for you to learn a new language (it\'s never too late), and that\'s a very good idea, but when you look at them as \"the best investment, from the point of the view of a freelance translator\", it sounds to me as studying medicine because doctors earn lots of money.



You really want to learn, and you want to go and live in the country where that language is spoken. You are going to LIVE there. That means that you have to LIKE that country, its people, its culture, its language.



I\'m a language teacher for foreigners. I\'ve seen whole families with trouble to get adapted to a country and that jams them (I hope this is the right verb) in the language learning.



So I\'d say put it in another way, see first which country or language attracts you, and if there are several, choose then which one would be the best investment. But don\'t forget feelings.





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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 11:54
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Chinese, perhaps Mar 18, 2003

Dear Nina,

You are never too old to start learning a new language. I am 10 years older than you and last summer I started learning 2 new languages (it remains to be seen what progress I will make in the long run).

I have a friend whose grandmother was fully monolingual (Hungarian) until the ripe age of 81, when she decided to study English. A couple of years later she was fluent in small-talk, and she is making progress in German.



Russian vs Arabic vs Chinese vs any other language:

Yes, cultural affinity is important, but so is market potential. If you want to master a language with the intention of making a living, you have to consider the potential market.

Russian: with your Slavic background, this would be by far the easiest of the three. You could easily spend some time in Moscow or St. Petersburg to study the language properly, but, as you may well know, the rest of the country is rather gloomy. Economic recovery in the future is not certain and who knows when Russia will become a truly important figure on the world scene again.

Yes, there is a market for Russian translators, but your older colleagues, educated in the 70\'s and 80\'s would cover this marlet segment very well and there may be no place for a newcomer.



Arabic:

The Arabs have been our neighbours for quite some time and they continue to be. I know a few women who chose Arabic language as a subject, but most of them remained philologists. In the \"real\" world of translation and interpretation, male linguists are preferred, due to cultural traditions.



Chinese:

In the medium and long run, I think Chinese has the largest potential. It IS difficult (with the effort you invest in Chinese, you could learn any two (or three?) European languages), but by far not as difficult as a non-linguist would immediately think. In plain English: it requires a lot of energy, but with perseverance it is possible to learn it.



Someone above suggested that it is a much better strategy to be the best in one language and forget about the rest. There is a great amount of truth in this. You may speak a language well, or even be fluent, but if you want to make a living as a translator/interpreter, you really have to be the best. (\"You have to go that extra mile\")



The obvious answer would be that, with Slovenia\'s scheduled entry to the EU in a year\'s time, you should concentrate your efforts on English, French and another EU language (Polish will be the largest Slavic language in the EU - just an idea).



But if you want a real intellectual challenge, go for Chinese.



regards from Budapest,

Csaba



[ This Message was edited by: Ban Csaba on 2003-03-18 07:42]


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Maria Knorr
Local time: 05:54
English
+ ...
Chinese as well Mar 21, 2003

Outside of the reasons that you should enjoy the culture of the country you plan to live in, I would also suggest Chinese. Russian is a great language, but honestly the market for translators is not good so if you are looking at it purely in the market sense, you\'d probably lose. Even with changes that are going on in the world and in the Muslim countries, males are still preferred in most countries. I also don\'t know where you would study Arabic, but going to any country in the Middle East is somewhat problematic right now. That leaves you with Chinese



Maria


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:54
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Don't, or... Apr 13, 2003

Hi Nina,



I am a polyglot and it simply does\'t work.

If you want to be a translator, do not learn a new language, but improve those you already now and, above all, your Slovenian.

Yes, your native language!

I have been living in Poland, Russia, Romania, France and it is just...

You end up mixing up words, especially with slavic languages (I learnt Croatian, some Slovanian and Bulgarian as well, as my Professor was a bit mad...).

If you do want to learn a new language, learn one of the EU official languages,

as you might have a lot of chances within an enlarged Europe.

I had an interview in Frankfurt (ECB) and

understood how those who come from small countries (Slovenia, Estonia etc...) are required, as you do not have many native speakers and the combination is needed anyway.



A last adivice: do not propose translations in a language which is not your native one.

Concentrate on Slovenian and... the EU.



Na svidanje

Paola


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kin
Local time: 05:54
Chinese
+ ...
Some suggestions Apr 26, 2003

I also had this problem too but sorted it out.



Let\'s look at your situation. So you have Slovenian mother tongue (also known as A). Evaluate your level of English and Spanish. Can you translate into these 2 effectively? If so, they are your B. If you can only translate from these 2, they are your C languages. This is a very important concept.



Slovenian as a language of weak diffusion will require translators of this language work in both ways for sure. As a Chinese speaker, I work both ways as well but not for this reason but because the number of non native Chinese able to translate into Chinese is still small.



You will have to look at the market as well. Chinese, Arabic and Russian together with English, French and Spanish are used in the UN. In private market, Chinese mainly combines with English. Sometimes, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.



Slovenian will be used in the EU and EP due to their enlargement. I would say the latter 2 will be your market if you want to work in large organisations. Private market with Chinese will be much smaller unless you work for your government like foreign ministry or trade ministry.



If you choose the EU option, learn French and German to a B level (also known as pivotal languages), and later add other minority languages (C). You will be in great demand. But you will very likely live in Brussels, Luxembourg or Strasbourg where their translation centres are located.



If you choose the domestic market, reinforce your English. I guess it is a much more sought-after combination. But you can also learn any of Chinese, Russian and Arabic, as I said, for government posts.



But also mind you, translators cannot just live on languages. One or two specialised fields are essential. Check what domaines are in demand in your country. Finance, technology, agriculture etc???



Finally, let me give you some schools to choose.



Translator schools like ESIT-Paris, ISTI-Brussels would be helpful for the EU option.



Learn Chinese? Go to Beijing Language and Culture University.



For Russian. Pushkin Institute or Moscow Linguistic University.



For Arabic. St-Joseph University in Lebanon. But they teach in French.



Anyway, good luck.



Kin





[ This Message was edited by: kin on 2003-04-27 04:30]

[ This Message was edited by: kin on 2003-04-27 04:33]


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Nina Snoj
Slovenia
Spanish to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
With a "slight" delay.. Nov 4, 2004

... I thank you all four your thoughts and suggestions.
You are right about improving the languages I already know..it is something one realizes with time.

All the best,

Nina


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xtremec0der
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Why would Arabic be problematic? May 3, 2005

Actually Arabic is a very easy language to learn. Given, that it's grammar and rule-set is particularly different than most other languages. Therefore, you are less likely to confuse the language with other languages and their respective vocabularies. In addition, because the accent and sound of Arabic is very different from other languages, it is one of the easiest languages to recognize and be spoken.

In addition, Arabic can easily be learnt in a native arab country. The middle-east is not as "violent" as you may think.

In fact, if you goto the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly Dubai. There is absolutely no problems there whatsoever. In fact, the crime rate there is literally non-existent. Another factor to point out in Dubai is, it is very tolerant to tourists and relies heavily on tourism for it's economy. Alcohol is readily available there, and women dress as openly in public as they do anywhere in the West. It is probably the ONLY place in the Middle East (besides Tel Aviv) that you can do all that. I've been to Dubai two times. Never a problem.





Csaba Ban wrote:

Dear Nina,

You are never too old to start learning a new language. I am 10 years older than you and last summer I started learning 2 new languages (it remains to be seen what progress I will make in the long run).

I have a friend whose grandmother was fully monolingual (Hungarian) until the ripe age of 81, when she decided to study English. A couple of years later she was fluent in small-talk, and she is making progress in German.



Russian vs Arabic vs Chinese vs any other language:

Yes, cultural affinity is important, but so is market potential. If you want to master a language with the intention of making a living, you have to consider the potential market.

Russian: with your Slavic background, this would be by far the easiest of the three. You could easily spend some time in Moscow or St. Petersburg to study the language properly, but, as you may well know, the rest of the country is rather gloomy. Economic recovery in the future is not certain and who knows when Russia will become a truly important figure on the world scene again.

Yes, there is a market for Russian translators, but your older colleagues, educated in the 70\'s and 80\'s would cover this marlet segment very well and there may be no place for a newcomer.



Arabic:

The Arabs have been our neighbours for quite some time and they continue to be. I know a few women who chose Arabic language as a subject, but most of them remained philologists. In the \"real\" world of translation and interpretation, male linguists are preferred, due to cultural traditions.



Chinese:

In the medium and long run, I think Chinese has the largest potential. It IS difficult (with the effort you invest in Chinese, you could learn any two (or three?) European languages), but by far not as difficult as a non-linguist would immediately think. In plain English: it requires a lot of energy, but with perseverance it is possible to learn it.



Someone above suggested that it is a much better strategy to be the best in one language and forget about the rest. There is a great amount of truth in this. You may speak a language well, or even be fluent, but if you want to make a living as a translator/interpreter, you really have to be the best. (\"You have to go that extra mile\")



The obvious answer would be that, with Slovenia\'s scheduled entry to the EU in a year\'s time, you should concentrate your efforts on English, French and another EU language (Polish will be the largest Slavic language in the EU - just an idea).



But if you want a real intellectual challenge, go for Chinese.



regards from Budapest,

Csaba



[ This Message was edited by: Ban Csaba on 2003-03-18 07:42]


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