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Poll: Have you studied an ancient language?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

Isabelle F. BRUCHER (X)  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 12:47
English to French
+ ...
Almost born translators ! Nov 2, 2011

Interlangue wrote:

Latin (6 years) and ancient Greek (5 years) in secondary school.
They shaped my brain, were priceless when studying German and Russian, and are often useful in my profession.




I also studied Latin for 6 years and ancient Greek (as opposed to modern Greek of course) for 5 years. I found the Latin interesting, but the ancient Greek a bit too much, especially as we had too few hours of English, Dutch and German in comparison, I found.

But it proved to be a most interesting experience as you also learn about History, Philosophy, Poetry, Prose (and the difference between the last two), etc.

Of course it helps to learn other languages and, as a general rule, the more languages you learn, the easier it is to learn new languages: you realise it is just a new code, you only have to snap the logic of the new code! Like, in Chinese and Japanese, they represent a house to mean "house", then they reuse the sound of "house" to build new words - if I understood well the short explanation I once received from a student in those languages! It's almost like a detective game!

May I also point out the fact that people who learn to translate to and from Latin from the age of 12 are learning about translation rules from a very early age, including analyzing and understanding the meaning of a sentence, even the meaning of new words as they understand the different part of these words, in languages that use prefixes, suffixes, etc!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Nov 2, 2011

Latin + Greek: extremely useful!

 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:47
English to German
+ ...
Yes, Latin. Nov 2, 2011

Turned out to be quite useful.

 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:47
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Yes and it is extremely useful Nov 2, 2011

I studied Latin for four years and I have to say that it have found it extremely useful in my working life. In my previous career as a solicitor working in Scotland, I occasionally came across older deeds written in Latin, which I needed to be able to understand in order to do my job. Although I did not realize this at the time, this aspect of my work helped to prepare me for my current career as a legal translator.

In addition, Scots legal terminology is still heavily based on Lat
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I studied Latin for four years and I have to say that it have found it extremely useful in my working life. In my previous career as a solicitor working in Scotland, I occasionally came across older deeds written in Latin, which I needed to be able to understand in order to do my job. Although I did not realize this at the time, this aspect of my work helped to prepare me for my current career as a legal translator.

In addition, Scots legal terminology is still heavily based on Latin I require to know when to use these terms in order to produce a target text, which sounds natural to someone acquainted with the target legal system.

As others have already mentioned a knowledge of Latin provides a good foundation for learning other languages.
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Chun Un  Identity Verified
Macau
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Yes and it is useful Nov 2, 2011

Studied classical Chinese in high school. It helps me understand more about my mother tongue, ie the modern languages/dialects of China, which are quite diverse even by European standards believe it or not.

 

cynthiatesser  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:47
English to Italian
+ ...
Latin - almost a must for European translators Nov 2, 2011

I studied Latin (7 years) and Ancient Greek (5 years) in high school (Liceo Classico). If I hadn't, I would not be as good a translator. Anyone undertaking a career in European languages should study Latin, in my opinion. No other study gives you such a broad understanding of grammar and of how a language works. Latin also enhances your ability of interpretation. If I were a translation agency, I would certainly prefer translators with Latin in their background.

 

Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Latin Nov 2, 2011

I studied Latin in high school and loved it. It was what awakened my interest in studying foreign languages. I went on to study French in high school and French and Russian in college.

 

Tomoyuki Kono  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:47
Member (2010)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Even Sanskrit can be useful Nov 2, 2011

I studied Sanskrit and Pali at university for many years for my BA and DPhil degrees. I received fantastic training in philology and my teachers showed me almost everything I needed to know about the practical skills of translation. When I decided to become a translator, I never even thought about taking an additional degree in translation. But governments these days seem to think that dead languages are useless and we should all take up 'business studies' instead.

 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:47
Hebrew to English
Yes - my source language is ancient Nov 2, 2011

Since my source language (Hebrew) is ancient, I'd say it definitely helps in my career

(And although many like to attach the "Modern" prefix onto Hebrew, it isn't altogether that far removed from Biblical Hebrew - although I'm not fond of Biblical Hebrew, far too many declensions and archaic grammar, (Modern) Hebrew is far more streamlined).

Apart from being useful for translation (obviously) it so
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Since my source language (Hebrew) is ancient, I'd say it definitely helps in my career

(And although many like to attach the "Modern" prefix onto Hebrew, it isn't altogether that far removed from Biblical Hebrew - although I'm not fond of Biblical Hebrew, far too many declensions and archaic grammar, (Modern) Hebrew is far more streamlined).

Apart from being useful for translation (obviously) it sometimes helps to decode the odd Arabic phrase or sentence (since they are related - some crossover/similarity of vocabulary and structure).

European languages don't really interest me and whilst I briefly took a look at Latin, it was merely for comparison and grammar study. - But of no real use.
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:47
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I had forgotten all about this poll Nov 2, 2011

-- and still can't remember what prompted it - maybe a forum discussion.

My own experience was that my parents discussed New Testament Greek at frequent intervals when I was a child. My mother used to tell us about Middle English and Icelandic, which she studied, and they always wished they had more time to study Sanskrit - both were fluent in Marathi.

It rather put me off - I wanted nothing to do with languages! Though I enjoyed French and later German. I did not get o
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-- and still can't remember what prompted it - maybe a forum discussion.

My own experience was that my parents discussed New Testament Greek at frequent intervals when I was a child. My mother used to tell us about Middle English and Icelandic, which she studied, and they always wished they had more time to study Sanskrit - both were fluent in Marathi.

It rather put me off - I wanted nothing to do with languages! Though I enjoyed French and later German. I did not get on well with my Latin teacher, so the idea of learning Greek with her was somewhat daunting. Maybe I should have tried. She made real favourites of people who took on Greek as well as Latin!

I made the big mistake of coming top of the class in my first Latin exam, and it was sheer beginner's luck! I got 81%, and usually, however hard I worked, and whatever the subject, I was happy to get over 65% for exams. I struggled with the teacher's sense of humour as well as the grammar, and was mediochre at Latin like everything else.

To this day I can see in my mind's eye my Latin teacher's neat, highly characteristic red writing at the bottom of some of my work...

You can do better!

-- and really, I couldn't then, and I usually can't now either, at least not in the time available.

But I have to admit that I did learn a lot from her, and it has been useful on many, many occasions since.




[Edited at 2011-11-02 12:28 GMT]
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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:47
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Biblical (NT) Greek, basic skills Nov 2, 2011

When translating, at first, you have to understand and assess the content, after that you are able to deliver according to the professional rules, and to the satisfaction of the client. Ancient Greek turns out to be a great help for correct understanding of various social and scientific topics. It is ancient by its age, but I am sure it did underwork a lot as yet.

 

Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 04:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
no Nov 2, 2011

And I really don't miss it. The odd Latin word that pops up in a text is extremely easy to find.
I'd say those languages are interesting, and if you studied them, they might come in handy, but people that didn't, shouldn't have problems either.


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:47
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Ancient Greek, for 2 years Nov 2, 2011

Totally useless, except the fact that any language learnt broadens your mind and make it easier to learn new languages.

I'd be very interested in reading why exactly colleagues found it useful instead of just "it was very useful".


 

Diana Arbiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes and yes Nov 2, 2011

Latin and Greek. Loved every minute of both (well, at some points, Latin became a little obnoxious... but still a great mind boggler!) and both proved to be very useful in my career and in my life. I believe my mind functions differently because of having studied Latin and Greek, and I always think about going back and reviewing them all over again!

[Edited at 2011-11-02 13:25 GMT]


 

Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:47
Member (2004)
English to French
Latin Nov 2, 2011

It was mandatory in the first 3 years of high school and I liked it so much that I took one class in university. Rosa, rosa, rosam...

 
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