Off topic: Too old to start interpreting? How old's the oldest start you know?
Thread poster: Ana da Silva
Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:20
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Aug 29, 2011

Hi there!

It's said it's never too late but with languages could it get late? It's harder to learn a language when one's older so it might be more difficult to pick up new vocabulary too.

What's on your take on this? How old were you when you started interpreting and do you know of anyone who started pretty late (at what age)?

What are the pros and cons of starting late? What is "late" (in age? mentality?) if there is such a thing?

Thanks in advance


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:20
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Never too old Aug 29, 2011

Ana da Silva wrote:

Hi there!

It's said it's never too late but with languages could it get late? It's harder to learn a language when one's older so it might be more difficult to pick up new vocabulary too.

What's on your take on this? How old were you when you started interpreting and do you know of anyone who started pretty late (at what age)?

What are the pros and cons of starting late? What is "late" (in age? mentality?) if there is such a thing?

Thanks in advance



I don't believe it's ever too late to start anything. Simply, one approaches the new thing with greater knowledge, experience, and wisdom.


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
Member (2004)
German to English
What do you mean my old? Aug 29, 2011

Are you talking of starting in your 40s or starting in your 60s or 70s?

If the latter, one does have to bear in mind that our brains do become less sharp with age - it becomes more difficult to pluck just the right obscure word from the air instantaneously (even in one's own language), think rapidly on your feet, and deal with the possible stresses of a fast-moving work environment. But when that starts happening, and the rate at which it happens, varies hugely from person to person, so there can be no hard and fast rule (which is why retirement ages that are set in stone are not a good thing).

Of course one can learn a new language at any age - whether one can use it to a professional standard is a slightly different question (and perhaps a major advantage of professional exams is that they do tell us whether our skills are good enough to use in a work context).


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Michael Grant
Japan
Local time: 10:20
Japanese to English
No matter what your age, it's HOW you learn that matters... Aug 30, 2011

Hi Ana,

Obviously, you have be "young" enough, in terms of mental clarity. However, in my experience, I have not found that it is any harder to learn a language now that I am older, because I have learned how to learn a new language in the past. By that I mean, I learned how to relax my assumptions and learned language behaviors in order to allow the new language to take root in my brain.

I found that it was my assumptions about language, and about how it classifies/describes experience, that got in the way of learning a new language.

Also, certain languages will come more easily to you than others. In my case, I found that I had a natural affinity for learning Japanese(who would have thought)! For some reason, it just "stuck" in my head more easily than, say, Russian.

So, I think that attitude, personality, and how you think/learn, is much more important than whatever age you are...you have to be open the new language you are learning...

MGrant


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Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:20
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your thoughts! Aug 30, 2011

You're being great help

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