Off topic: How many languages?
Thread poster: Serena Basili

Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 07:06
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 11, 2016

Hello colleagues,
I was wondering if you use ALL the languages you know to work or if you have, like me, languages that you just speak but don't use in your profession for various reason, and also if you have a special wish list of languages you'd like to learn - I just can't get enough!


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 13:06
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
I prefer Jan 11, 2016

Serena Basili wrote:

Hello colleagues,
I was wondering if you use ALL the languages you know to work or if you have, like me, languages that you just speak but don't use in your profession for various reason, and also if you have a special wish list of languages you'd like to learn - I just can't get enough!


I prefer to work on the language pair I have the best productivity.
But I sometimes need to work with special pairs since few service providers are to be found in certain contexts e.g. my expertise in technical or medical texts.

Soonthon L.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
A few Jan 11, 2016

Although my degree is in Russian and French, I've never really translated professionally from the former and I rarely work in French nowadays, so it's very rusty. I have a basic command of German, but I'm most fluent in my current source language, Spanish, although I only studied a very basic beginners' course in it, in my final year at uni. I acquired my Spanish after moving here to teach TEFL and eventually got into translation when the teaching became... dissatisfying.

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missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:06
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
More or less Jan 11, 2016

I work regularly on translation/proofreading tasks from my 3 main source languages – English, Dutch, Russian. From time to time, I work with French and Polish; in the last couple of years, a client has asked me to help them with small German texts.

Though during my school and uni years I have studied Latin, German, Hungarian and Serbo-Croatian, I cannot claim to speak them now.

It's a shame, and I'd like to pick them all up again in the future, along with Japanese, Chinese and Sanskrit, just for the thrill of learning new languages and stumbling upon serendipitous moments of linguistic bliss.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:06
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
I offer all possible combinations, Jan 11, 2016

although some I have never been asked to actually do, and some are very rare. But "small" languages help me to be accepted by agencies - millions of people can do English to French, much less can do Slovak to French for example. Yes, some of my languages are rusty, too - but for a source language, it is not much of a problem - you can just look things up.

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Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 07:06
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
WOW - so inspiring! Jan 11, 2016

missdutch wrote:

It's a shame, and I'd like to pick them all up again in the future, along with Japanese, Chinese and Sanskrit, just for the thrill of learning new languages and stumbling upon serendipitous moments of linguistic bliss.


Missdutch and Neil, you both honestly represent the translator I want to be in the future!!

As to me, I studied Greek and Latin at high school (useful for an etymologiholic like me - does this word even exist? lol) and Russian and Arabic at university, but still have not such a command of them to translate professionally - I can do very simple, general translation for personal use.

I tried to select my next languages, but my list contains more than 15 of them and choosing is apparently impossible to me
A friend of mine told me I should simply master the few I already know, but....well you understand me!

Edited to add:
Lucky you Eva! I could never do it because I'm such a perfectionist (perks of classical studies? ;P)

[Edited at 2016-01-11 16:21 GMT]


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well.. Jan 11, 2016

EvaVer wrote:

although some I have never been asked to actually do, and some are very rare. But "small" languages help me to be accepted by agencies - millions of people can do English to French, much less can do Slovak to French for example. Yes, some of my languages are rusty, too - but for a source language, it is not much of a problem - you can just look things up.


Well, my experience is that agencies sometimes even only take on translators who work in one language pair, strictly.

I also disagree you can "look the things up" if you do not have decent command of your source language, since:

- it will slow you down
- you might terribly miss the point and produce a mistranslation without actually realising it

One pairs is more common. Two pairs is acceptable. Three or more pairs is unrealistic (exceptions apply, but you really have to be an exception; cannot juts claim you are because you think you are).


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Harry Blake Paz Bonzano  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:06
Member (2014)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
One thing is "knowing" a language, another is translating it Jan 11, 2016

I can read, speak, write and listen to many languages: English, Italian, Spanish and French. I can understand more or less all of them, having studied them and being accustomed to.
Then it all depends on your level.

Another thing is translating. I once translated a cv from Italian into French, it took me 7 hours for just 2 pages because I had to look for everything. The client was aware that I was not that familiar with, but overall she was satisfied and paid for my effort.
Once you have understood that, you should only translate into your mother tongue. I also deleted, in my Proz profile, Italian>Spanish and Italian>English but despite that I am still working on those pairs.
It takes me longer but this is what I have right now, and the client trusts me enough for those.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:36
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
My case Jan 11, 2016

I mostly work in the English - Hindi pair, both ways, but mostly in the direction of English to Hindi. I have native-level competence in both these languages.

I also know Gujarati, Malayalam and Tamil, but at second language level. On rare occasions I translate from the first two into English and Hindi.

I am currently learning Urdu, which at syntax and grammar levels is identical with Hindi, but draws its vocabulary heavily from Persian and Arabic. Its script is also different from Hindi.

I also have Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic in my wish list. They are not random selections. My main working language is Hindi, and it is heavily influenced by all these four languages (Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic). In order to gain full insight into Hindi, I need to learn all these languages.


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Eugenio Garcia-Salmones  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:06
Russian to Spanish
+ ...
Work with... Jan 11, 2016

Work with Russian, Spanish and French, but can speak, read and write free in English, can work perfectly in Italiano, and can read and write 1200 Hanzi of simplified Chinese but still I am learning.this beautiful language.

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