Off topic: My future dream (has questions)
Thread poster: McPopcorn (X)

McPopcorn (X)
United States
Local time: 00:47
English to German
+ ...
Jul 6, 2007

I am a 17 year old, American boy, who loves learning languages. The only thing I want to be besides a rockstar is an interpreter. I enjoy being surrounded by other cultures, because in the U.S. there is a real since of "BE AMERICAN." Seven years ago, I got an itch to learn a new language. No one encouraged me to, though. In fifth grade, I decided to try and learn French. Out of the blue, I rode my moped to the library and picked up a few French books with pictures in it. Of couse, since I was in fifth grade, trying to teach oneself a language would ultimately end up in failure, which it did. I then tried again in seventh grade, but this time it was Japanese. I studied Japanese for about two years on my own. I could hold a somewhat decent conversation with a Japanese student. Now, my Japanese is not what it used to be, but I still remember a great deal. But then in eighth grade, when I was 13, I took Spanish. I took Spanish I. I had 110% in that class all year. So of course, I took Spanish II (the following year), which I had a final grade of 123%. My Spanish teacher wrote me a recommendation for the local community-college Spanish class. My third year of Spanish, which was in 10th grade was at the local community-college, where I received six hours of college credit. But due to the fact that my school required a year of P.E., Health, And US Gov't. I had to abruptly stop learning Spanish. Within this sixth months, I have taken up German. With my strong background in Spanish, I easily have taught myself German. I learned in four months what my friends learned in four years. I was in contact with my high school German teacher, who was so impressed by my German that she was going to let me skip three years of German and go right into German Four, but my Arkansas school district only has two German teachers. so for the next year my school will not offer German 3 or German 4. I watch t.v in German (thanks to the internet). My computer is German, as well as my Xbox and my PS2. I also buy a lot of music from Germany. I have a German girlfriend, who I talk to every morning at 04:00 my time. I met her while she was her as an exchange student. Since I know her, I have two other friends who live in Germany, one who only speaks German. My girlfriend, who I plan to move to once I graduate High School, sends me movies in German. I have ten already. When I talk to German people, which I have done a lot of lately, they comment that I have a very Hessen accent, because my girlfriend is Hessen. My plans are to go to the Fachbereich Angewandte Sprache Und Kulturwissenschaft (FASK) in Germersheim, Germany. While there, I want to study German, Chinese, and possibly Arabic. I have ran into one problem, though. The FASK wants at least two years of German as a foreign language. I don't know what I am going to do, because my high school quickly killed the only path I can find to my dream. On top of all these languages, I have had very good grades. I have even taken college level English since 10th grade. Besides language, I am also a great student. For my senior year, I will be conducting and leading the band during marching season. I also play fourteen different classical instruments fluently. A buddy and me have built homemade rockets and hovercrafts (got a video on youtube). My question for all of you, who have already achieved your dream, is "Do you think I have what it takes to become an interpreter?" I think I can. I would enjoy hearing from those of you who can give me any advice. Thank You for reading.


United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
French to English
+ ...
I'd rather play 14 instruments and build rockets than be an interpreter Jul 6, 2007

since in my opinion, it is an extremely difficult job, where you have to use parts of your brain you never knew you had!

However, you seem to be very confident - always a good start. Have you ever actually tried interpreting? (for friends for example?)


McPopcorn (X)
United States
Local time: 00:47
English to German
+ ...
A few tries Jul 6, 2007

None of my movies that are in German have subtitles. But I can understand them enough to tell, whoever is watching with me, what is being said. Other than that, my mom had me interpret what she said in order to talk to my girlfriend's mom and the other way back. Her mom's English is not very good. There were questions like "what do you do for a living?", " How is living Germany?", or "Do you like theatre?" Her mom answered back with slow German, but now she talks really fast with me. I have only been speaking German for six months. After a month, I was playing Yahoo games with Germans. I had that direct exposure to what they say and how they say it. After a week, I could tell from which part of the country they were from by the way they said good morning. If I am on the phone, people take another look if I am speaking German. I have one friend, who has been learning German for four years. He will call me and only speak German, because he wants to learn like I did. Am I on the right track when I can speak German without thinking of what it is in English? There are a few times where I find myself not translating, but just speaking.

Also, music doesn't always pay the bills. I make hardly any money from gigs. It all goes toward gas or equipment.

[Edited at 2007-07-06 15:45]

[Edited at 2007-07-06 15:51]


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
No exceptions? Jul 6, 2007

About the requirement for German language:

how's about exceptions? Special exams, summer courses, et cetera?

Don't give up too easily! Good luck!


Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sure, you have all what you need! Jul 6, 2007

"Do you think I have what it takes to become an interpreter?"

The most important thing for being an interpreter is the desire to do it. Of course, you should prepare yourself, you have to study, and do all the necessary efforts (but I'm sure that -taking into account your backgrounds- you will do!).

Good luck!



Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
Find an arrangement with your teacher Jul 6, 2007

When I was in high school, I wanted to study both French and German, but being a very small school, they were both offered only once a day, during 7th period. So I negotiated with the teachers to do a 50/50 split. I spent part of my time in French class, then I would run across the hall to German class. It worked out well because I was very motivated, and I was able to earn credit for both classes.

Couldn't you just do German I or II again, but come up with a curriculum with your teacher that would really be German III or IV ? And convince the school district to give you credit for that ?

Or what about going to a nearby community college for upper level classes ?

In the meantime, do a lot of reading, movie watching, and talking to your friends. I am not an interpreter, so I can't tell you what it takes to get there ... but you do sound very motivated, so I am sure you will find a way to pursue your interests.

One last bit of advice, IMHO, living in the country of your source language is a must in order to gain proficiency.


Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Instead of "don't give up your day job".... Jul 7, 2007

I say "don't give up your music gigs." You just never know....


Good luck!



Andrew Levine  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:47
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
AP test? Jul 7, 2007

Is there an AP placement exam for German? My brother was able to get credit for a fourth year of French in high school (the school only offered three levels of French) by passing the AP French test. I'd look into that. Ask your school counselor.

Other things you can do to improve your German (besides what has already been mentioned). The first five helped me improve my French when I was in school, and they can be applied to other common languages.

-Find German radio stations on the Internet (the sort with more discussion than music) and listen to them as much as you can.

-Seek out videos on the Internet of German-language TV shows (YouTube is good for this); it's the next-best thing to watching German-language TV and it gives you a real feel for how people talk.

-Whenever you come across a German word you don't recognize (or more likely, a component of a word, since it's an agglutinative language), make a note of it and look it up when you have time.

-Some American public TV stations have a block of programming in the evening where they show news programs from around the world (e.g. my local PBS station shows Italian, French, Chinese, and Korean news programs). Maybe there is a nightly German news program you can watch.

-Expose yourself to German-language discussions (news, Interent, etc.) of diverse fields, like business, law, engineering/science, etc. Having conversational fluency is necessary for an interpreter, but you must also recognize specialized terms which even most native German speakers might not commonly use.

-If all fails and FASK won't take you, don't give up; apply to other schools in German-speaking countries.

Good luck, your language skills sound very impressive.

[Edited at 2007-07-07 02:08]


McPopcorn (X)
United States
Local time: 00:47
English to German
+ ...
Wow Thank you Jul 7, 2007

Wow! Thank You for all of your comments. I really fell that I have the motivation to do this.

Lori: The German teacher can't teach German 3 or 4, because she has full German 1 and 2 classes. I already tried. But the teacher is starting a German club, which I can be apart of. As for the community college, I have thought about the community college. I have a lot of movies. Star Wars 1234 are on there way from Germany now. I also have some children's books. And I talk to four German people on a regular basis, as well as online in yahoo games. If I get into the FASK then I will be going to Germany for about seven years; Otherwise, I will be going for about three months next summer. Thanks for all of your ideas.

Andrew: There is an AP German test. I didn't think about that. Thanks. Since it is summer time, I have been watching prime time German tv on my computer. This includes Tv Shows on ARD. I usually catch the morning new in Germany on ZDF at 11 or 12 o' clock at night. There is the news and then almost all of the channels go to Bloomberg in German. Thanks for the comments.

It's funny, because this is how I have learned German. Through watching TV, talking to others, and playing games. I have one German book, but I have never used it. It is full of basic things like what's in a house and simple vocabulary, but I picked all of that up by normal conversation. I never mentioned that my girlfriend lived with me for two months. So I had, on a daily basis, conversations in German. She would ask me to get something out of the fridge or if we could go to the movies. So I got a lot of everyday vocabulary from living with her.

I think I found something to solve my problem of not having German classes in High School. The Johannes Gutenberg Universität, which is the university that I want to go to, offers "Studienkolleg", which is provided free of charge, with the intention to prepare foreign students for studying in Germany. That means that if I don't qualify, then they will put me through a language class so that I do qualify. There is only one problem. I could only work during vacation. So I guess that means my parents would have to foot the living expenses for a while.

[Edited at 2007-07-07 18:42]

[Edited at 2007-07-07 19:51]


juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:47
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Stop for a moment... Jul 9, 2007

...and take stock.
An interpreter has to be able to concentrate his efforts, be tenacious and precise.

First of all, correct your profile on ProZ. You don't translate into German or Spanish as yet, so at least change your languages around, German into English, etc.

You do not have 7 years of translation experience, as your profile says. Translation experience more or less means earning a living by doing paid, written translation work.

What really struck me is that you already started and abandonned three languages and you are planning to learn three more. Nothing wrong with that, but it sounds a bit like Jack of all trades, master of none.

You are young enough to experiment, and you are obviously very talented. In a couple of years time you will have to decide, which one or two languages you want to concentrate on, and reach a level of fluency and competence in those languages to be able to embark on an interpreting career. You can add more languages to your repertoire later on.

Some work interpreters do also requires a certain amount of life experience and maturity, or a thorough knowledge of a special subject. Apart from collecting languages and enjoying your music, think about a field you would be happy to delve into and talk about in other languages day in, day out. Or a field in which you could become a thought after expert. That may be a subject you want to study beside your languages.

Good luck for the future.

[Edited at 2007-07-09 11:01]


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