Second native language verification?
Thread poster: Sanja Mladenovska

Sanja Mladenovska
Australia
Local time: 15:14
Member (2011)
English to Macedonian
+ ...
Sep 27, 2011

I would appreciate if someone shares their experience considering second native language verification. What are the criteria? How does one determine whether someone is bilingual or not? How does one qualify? Also, do you have to pay a certain fee for that verification?

Thanks in advance.

Kind regards,

Sanja


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Will Masters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
second native language Sep 27, 2011

From what I understand of it, to have more than one native language you ideally have to have been brought up speaking the other language. My girlfriend, for example, is native in both English and European Portuguese. She was brought up speaking only Portuguese at home (and every summer where she spent 2 months in Lisbon) and English the rest of the time outside of the home. As a result, she speaks both languages with no "foreign" accent, ie: the same way any other person who has lived and been brought up in the country where the language is spoken speaks it.

If you have been brought up speaking both languages and can completely express yourself in both and understand all nuances in the language, then I think it safe to assume you are off native standard in both.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:14
Dutch to English
+ ...
I was verified by a peer during the conference in Oxford Sep 27, 2011

I am trilingual but was only interested in being verified for English and Spanish. This was done during the Oxford conference by relevant peer translators who are native speakers.

I do not know whether this is still done.

Good luck,
Marijke


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ITProsSubtitles
Italy
Local time: 05:14
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
second native language Sep 27, 2011

I wish I had known. I was at the Oxford conference too.

A long time ago I asked some British authority about this and they said that you could only achieve a native status and be declared a bilingual if you could prove you had lived AND STUDIED in two different countries.

But that was ages ago, maybe something has changed in the meantime. This reminds me I should find out, so Sanja thanks for bringing this up and if you have any information, please let us know.

Monica


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:14
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
No, your languages don't seem to be verified as native Sep 29, 2011

Marijke Singer wrote:

I am trilingual but was only interested in being verified for English and Spanish. This was done during the Oxford conference by relevant peer translators who are native speakers.

I do not know whether this is still done.

Good luck,
Marijke


Hi Marijke,
As far as I know, when you submit two languages as your native languages in your ProZ.com profile, both of them will be displayed with an N in a grey circle. That mark means the profile owner reported the language as his/her native, but it was not verified. Verified native languages are marked with a yellow N. In your profile, both of your languages are marked with the grey N, so none of them are considered verified.
Again, as far as I know, ProZ currently does not have a mechanism to verify native languages, so if you submit one, they consider it verified, if they submit two, they consider both of them non-verified.
I think this is explained in the FAQ somewhere.
I am not sure what happened at the OXford Conference you mentioned, but is it possible that your identity was verified (denoted by the little checkmark next to your name)?

Katalin

UPDATE:
I found the relevant enrtry in the FAQ, here is the link:
http://www.proz.com/faq/764#764

[Edited at 2011-09-29 02:48 GMT]


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Daniela Slankamenac  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 05:14
Member (2011)
English to Serbian
+ ...
By the way, Oct 17, 2011

Can anyone explain how to turn my N from gray to yellow, i.e. to verify it? I really don't understand what the procedure is. I reported only one native language and it's gray.

Thank you.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:14
French to English
+ ...
Best answer according to current linguistic thinking: "who knows" Oct 17, 2011

Sanja Mladenovska wrote:
I would appreciate if someone shares their experience considering second native language verification. What are the criteria? How does one determine whether someone is bilingual or not? How does one qualify? Also, do you have to pay a certain fee for that verification?


When you actually break it down scientifically, it's not clear what we actually mean by "bilingual" or how "bilingualism" would be determined. Different people mean different things by the term and hence it implies different expectations for different people.

If you mean "for its own specific practical purposes, how does ProZ determine that you conform to whatever they understand by 'bilingual'", then I think the answer is "they haven't decided yet".

If you mean "how generally in the universe does one determine that a person is 'bilingual'" then it really depends on what you mean by 'bilingual'.

What many people probably *think* they mean by bilingual is something like "proficient in two languages to the point that (to all intents and purposes) their use of either language is indistinguishable from a monolingual native speaker of the language in question". The problem with this is that it's not clear that such a state is even possible if you take away the phrase "to all intents and purposes": when you analyse quite objectively measurable characteristics of "bilinguals" (e.g. you could look at objectively measurable phonetic features of their speech such as Voice Onset Time), it turns out that they're not actually strictly speaking quite as "bilingual" as first thought. And in many cases, such objective measures have not been well studied-- so at beast, there's no actual scientific basis for whatever it is that we pretend to constitute "bilingual". So in the end, it probably comes down to what "to all intents and purposes" means for *your* particular purpose. And that's not something that's easy to measure objectively.

[Edited at 2011-10-17 20:04 GMT]


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:14
German to English
+ ...
Do you mean "ProZ" verification? Oct 17, 2011

Hi Sanja,

Do you mean "ProZ" verification?
Or verification by an authoritative and recognised linguistic institution?

As far as I'm aware, a new member upon joining this site can claim any native languages - no questioning or scrutiny involved. Some people have claimed 2 NL clearly wihtout being native in either.
As a result of this lax site policy, it's quite easy for members to operate under false pretences, and some do.

I find it quite shocking, despicable even; lying about one’s native language. But it seems to be acceptable.

So Sanja, IMO you shouldn't worry about verification here. It doesn't count for much in the real world. Though it obviously helps some people drum up some business through this site, and fool some unwary outsourcers, at least initially. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing it.

I can only think of this site as a fairground, with an abundance of entertaining loudmouths, con-artists, oddballs and bearded ladies (who have as much a right to be there as anyone else acc. to current site acceptance criteria – fair enough); but with an occasional gem. Being verified as a member/visitor/user here is no more a seal of approval or affiliation than is liking lady gaga.

McDonalds could offer verification. I'm sure a few pro linguists eat there occasionally. Just like a few pass through here.

Just my perspective. I might be (=am) one of the site’s critics, but I re-renewed my paying membership only last week, because the “info” on the site can reveal a lot, to outsourcers and freelancers alike.
Cilian


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:14
Italian to English
+ ...
Second language Oct 17, 2011

There are some stunning examples on here in need of first language verification let alone second. Cilian you're a star!

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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:14
French to English
+ ...
Quite Oct 17, 2011

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:

Do you mean "ProZ" verification?
Or verification by an authoritative and recognised linguistic institution?

That's what I'd wondered.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:14
French to English
+ ...
Re Cilian's points Oct 18, 2011

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
Do you mean "ProZ" verification?
s a result of this lax site policy, it's quite easy for members to operate under false pretences, and some do.
[/quote]

I would maybe see any "verification" by the site as a weak form of "peer review". In particular, for example, the site "verifies" credentials, but in reality is not an authority on the verification of credentials or on the detection of fraudulent documents. Take "verification" as a statement to the effect of "in my non-authoritative capacity as an independent peer, I have seen some small amount of evidence of this translator's credentials/ability". It doesn't carry terribly much weight but it's arguably better than nothing at all.

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
I find it quite shocking, despicable even; lying about one’s native language. But it seems to be acceptable.


Yes, I was quite surprised by this too. For all the various subjective elements of one's profile, one would have thought that "native language" was in the vast majority of cases as much a simple matter-of-fact statement of reality as "gender" or "date of birth". But apparently not...

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
I can only think of this site as a fairground, with an abundance of entertaining loudmouths, con-artists, oddballs and bearded ladies (who have as much a right to be there as anyone else acc. to current site acceptance criteria – fair enough); but with an occasional gem.


There's probably a fair amount of truth in this. On the other hand, you only need to pick up *one* good job/contact in the whole of the year for the membership to pay for itself multiple times over.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two countries Oct 18, 2011

Monica Paolillo wrote:
A long time ago I asked some British authority about this and they said that you could only achieve a native status and be declared a bilingual if you could prove you had lived AND STUDIED in two different countries.


Do within London and outside of London count as two different countries?


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:14
Hebrew to English
In defence of Proz.... Oct 18, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:
Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
I find it quite shocking, despicable even; lying about one’s native language. But it seems to be acceptable.


Yes, I was quite surprised by this too. For all the various subjective elements of one's profile, one would have thought that "native language" was in the vast majority of cases as much a simple matter-of-fact statement of reality as "gender" or "date of birth". But apparently not...


I have criticised the listing of fraudulent "native" languages on proz before and it got zapped into oblivion by moderators so I shan't be rocking the boat too much here.

However, I agree. I see it a lot in my language pair (and in general), the listing of English as a native language when you can almost guarantee that it is not.

I believe many "translators" (if they deserve that title) do it to justify translating into English (or whatever language they are claiming to be native in).

But, in defence of proz.com, I noticed that now when I go onto my profile settings, if I want to change or add a native language, I have to submit a support request, I just can't do it willy nilly. The optimist in me would like to think this is to weed out charlatans. It certainly doesn't solve the problem, since it only seems to apply after you have already claimed one native language and want to add another but I suppose it's a step in the right direction.

Personally, when I see a person claiming a native language when it clearly isn't native to them, I just lose all respect for that individual, and I'd like to think that outsourcers and agencies would come to the same conclusion. It's not really Proz's remit to investigate every single paying member to death.

The system isn't perfect...and to borrow a colloquial expression "hate the player, not the game".


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Sanja Mladenovska
Australia
Local time: 15:14
Member (2011)
English to Macedonian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, Proz verification Oct 18, 2011

I'm surprised to see so many responses to the topic. To be honest, at first I was just wondering about how that verification works on Proz, and whether it is valid and it means something or not, in the Proz community. I'm new as a member, so I'm trying to understand how a lot of things work here, and that was one of them.

I know that in certain countries, like the UK or Canada for instance, there is such a thing as a Certificate of Bilingualism. So, I thought that they might require some kind of credentials to report a second native language.

I have checked with the FAQs, and it seems anyone can report more than one native language, the difference being, they will be coloured "grey", until you prove (I didn't quite understand how ?) they should be coloured "orange".

Anyway, all of your posts have been quite useful, especially Neil's, it points in the right direction. THANK YOU ALL.


Best regards,

Sanja


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