Best language to learn?
Thread poster: Simon Parkyn (X)

Simon Parkyn (X)
Local time: 12:52
French to English
+ ...
Apr 19, 2003

I was just wondering if anyone could advise me. I am a graduate in modern languages, with some freelance experience of translating from French and Italian into English. I am interested in translation as a career, but I was wondering if there was any language or languages that would be most useful for me to learn career-wise, in terms of which languages are most sought after and which pay the most. I don\'t plan on working abroad, only in the UK. Thanks!


IanW (X)
Local time: 13:52
German to English
+ ...
Develop the languages you have Apr 20, 2003

Hi Simon,

Welcome aboard! I would say your best bet is to focus on French and Italian and develop them as best you can. As a translator, it\'s better to have one or two working languages that you are expert in rather than a limited knowledge of five or six.

All the best



Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:52
Flemish to English
+ ...
Japanese Apr 21, 2003

If you want to be a freelancer: In terms of rates, rates between 0.12-0.25 are normal rates for Japanese. You will not be offerred such rates for other languages.

In terms of international institutions: have a look at their jobsites.

For an inhouse E.U.-position: study Finnish, Hungarian and other rare and difficult languages.

For the other international institutions: English,French,Spanish,Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese occur. It is up to you to take your pick.


Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
German to English
+ ...
Stick with what you have Apr 21, 2003

If you don\'t plan on working/living abroad for extended periods, I would definitely stick with the languages you already have experience in. If you started something like Chinese, you would have to live there, probably for an extended period, to really absorb the language to the level you need to use it professionally. If you want to stay in the UK, you can easily visit France and Italy for refreshers.


Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
German to English
+ ...
State Dept.? Apr 21, 2003


On 2003-04-21 17:00, 1964 wrote:

There was an internet address classifying languages and assign them levels of dicifulty(to help those planning to learn another language) and there were some notes on each however I could not find it.If I can I will give as a link.

This might be a US State Dept. site. I think they use a classification system like this.


Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:52
Italian to English
+ ...
Timeline sounds awfully ambitious... Apr 22, 2003

Obviously this is my personal opinion, but one year to learn to speak any language just seems too ambitious. Unless speaking a language means you are able to order food in a restaurant, book a hotel, etc... basic stuff like that. You may be able to learn the grammar/mechanics in a year, but can you really effectively communicate in that language?

My $0.02.




On 2003-04-22 14:58, 1964 wrote:


I tried to find but I could not, there it said learning writing Chinese took 3 years but speaking a year.


Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
German to English
+ ...
Don't learn another language Apr 23, 2003

Don\'t learn another language. Learn a specialist subject. Try to get hands-on experience if you can. Take up photography, or gardening, or learn to program, or start doing DIY, or play the stock market. You already have two languages and you will have more success on the market by offering those languages in conjunction with subject expertise than you will by offering another language in which others have a head start, and not being able to offer any subject expertise.

It is also worth taking the opportunity to write your own copy, if such opportunities come your way.

Note: I am not against learning another language. I have attempted eight at various times. But I only translate from three of them (one of those self-taught), so although it has been good fun (some of the time), the financial reward has been minimal.



George Hopkins
Local time: 13:52
Swedish to English
Mother tongue Apr 24, 2003

The best advice I can offer is that you should improve on your natural language and any other language that you are fluent in.


Nina1975  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Sounds very difficult May 28, 2003

If not impossible to learn a new language so well that you can translate professionally in a year.
You already have good language pairs.I think you are better off developing these further.
Good luck with whatever you chose to do.


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