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Poll: Would you prefer to live in your source language or target language country?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:15
SITE STAFF
Jun 25, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you prefer to live in your source language or target language country?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ty Kendall. View the poll results »



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
Member
German to English
+ ...
Target Jun 25, 2012

While, in theory, I'd be happy living in my source language country, I am too rooted and settled in my target language country to up sticks and move now!

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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
In an ideal world... Jun 25, 2012

In an ideal world, I would like to be a bit nomadic and to be able move between cultures more frequently than having a fixed base permits. In particular, I am fascinated by border areas as being the area where two countries, cultures and languages meet, but in the case of the UK we are an island nation so living on a border between the my source and target language countries would not be a physical possibility in the real world.

However, if I had to choose between by source language countries and my target language country, I would opt for the former. After all the reason I decided to learn my source languages in the first place was because I was attracted to the culture. For personal reasons its not a option for me at the current time, but is certainly something that I have in mind for the future.


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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:15
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
Not sure Jun 25, 2012

From a professional point of view, living in my target language country would be better and would probably be bringing much more work. On the other hand, I just left my target language country and just started understanding how it feels like to live in a country with 'a little bit' less corruption, with a much better infrastructure and with much more focus on people and their needs.

I plan to start translating from Dutch in a couple of years and then I will just live in my source language country How great is that!

But I do miss my family and friends that still live in my target language country.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Source, no doubt at all, wins hands down Jun 25, 2012

I translate into English from Spanish. The UK is only a couple of hours flight away if I ever need to go back. I usually only go back at Xmas nowadays to see family and friends and after a week or two usually can't wait to get back to my adopted home of over 20 years in Valencia.

Apart from the lack of appetising work and lifestyle, there are so many things wrong with living in the UK nowadays from my point of view that I couldn't begin to list them - so I'll leave it up to your imagination.

[Edited at 2012-06-25 08:52 GMT]

I tend to agree with Ty about the effect living abroad can have on your L1. I myself make a conscious effort to stay abreast (can we say that without being modded?) of how colloquial English evolves and thanks to internet manage to more or less keep up with the "culture" too, at least in terms of TV, radio and newspaper content. I do think that if you don't make that effort, after a few years away you can really lose touch.

[Edited at 2012-06-25 08:59 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
Hebrew to English
Hello folks Jun 25, 2012

....They changed my wording. Surprise, surprise.

Originally it was something like "Is it better to live...." which I thought would provoke more intense debate. I was hoping to spark a debate about the advantages/disadvantages of living in either country. Using the word "prefer" has tamed the question somewhat in my opinion.

I currently live in my target language country, which I do see as an advantage over many translators in my language pair. Many of whom have not lived in an English speaking country for many decades; L1 attrition and/or L2 interference is rife.

Have got more to say, but want to see what others think first....

Thanks for taking part in the poll too folks!

[Edited at 2012-06-25 11:33 GMT]


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
The advantages of one... preferences for the other Jun 25, 2012

I have three source languages, so I can't live in all of them at once! I live in the country of my target language. This has definite advantages of keeping the language I am writing in very much alive and current, and I am kept fully aware of the way things are talked about and written in this language. But I make sure I visit my source language countries very regularly, because that is very important too (and because I want to).

But if choices were simple and it were about preferences rather than linguistic advantages, I would happily live in any of my source-language countries. They are sunnier, more interesting (to me, why else did I live there and learn about their cultures in the first place!), and I love the people... so one of them is definitely in my longterm plans (possibly when/if I retire).


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:15
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Source Jun 25, 2012

I've already been there - or here, whichever way you look at - for the past 33 years. I came originally for two years and one thing led to another. Time does fly, doesn't it!

The old adage of "What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts" really does aptly apply here.

Apart from the obvious advantage of lingustic and cultural understanding, another big plus is that I can sit back and look objectively at the UK my country of birth. Sometimes even I'm surprised at what I find and re-discover there. And, from a professional standpoint, I can

- get almost immediate access to the authors of texts I'm translating
- get factory visits for product orientation training or refresher courses (I'm primarily a tech translator), and
- keep abreast of developments in my source language in real time.

Unless something drastic really happens here in Kyoto, I really can't see myself uprooting and moving back to the UK -- I really wouldn't know where to begin since the Britain I know has changed so much.
For me, right now, the advantages of staying here by far outweigh the disadvantages.

Besides, I can get to go skiing in Nagano where they held the Winter Olympics some years back or Hokkaido and taste the powder snow there and eat "sushi" at the same time a few times a year here. Can't do that in London, can you!

Small edits

[Edited at 2012-06-25 10:32 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:15
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'm not sure... Jun 25, 2012

From which point of view? The only thing I do not like in Belgium is... the weather! So, weather-wise Portugal wins every time, but for the rest I love living here. Anyway, I move a lot between Brussels and Lisbon for family reasons.

[Edited at 2012-06-25 09:04 GMT]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Source for now. Jun 25, 2012

For now, I prefer and find it an advantage to live in my source language(s) country.

I can read, speak, listen and write in both Spanish and Catalan all day long thereby keeping up to date and gaining ever more vocabulary in a natural setting.

It’s also quite easy these days to keep up with my target language by listening to English on digital TV with its option of original language version.

In regard to cultural issues, after 20+ years here, like neilmac, I find myself a bit of a duck out of water when I go back to the States. In my case, it’s a question of total immersion and adaptation.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Source for professional reasons Jun 25, 2012

Working with a language that is barely spoken elsewhere, keeping up with it is far easier in my source language country. With an ubiquitous target language and electronic communications and air travel, I can and do visit the UK several times a year and keep up 'virtually' all the time. It is simply a matter of selecting the material in the target language - professional websites, blogs, movies, news channels on TV or literature and drama...

As I only see the UK as a visitor, and am not enamoured of the present Danish government, my preference is the UK right now. I'm visiting, and the strawbwerries are super, and it's home! But in other years, when we are still in my other home at this time of year, I can barely tear myself away from the Nordic summer nights, and the strawberries are just as good! Northumberland, where I grew up, has it all... but my British family has moved back south.

So I prefer Denmark in the summer, and England wins hands down at Christmas. As long as there is no real snow. Scandinavians deal with snow, while Brits, at least south of the Wash, seem to go completely weak at the knees. I hate snow too, but at least I have learnt to keep indoors or manage it!


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
In order to have the best of both worlds Jun 25, 2012

I am plotting a scheme of house swaps between translators. I think it could be a great way of spending time working away, and regularly swapping target and source language countries. Ideal.

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:15
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
target - at this moment Jun 25, 2012

Having lived in one of my source language countries for some years, I am very much looking forward to moving back to what still feels like home.
No idea if and when I'd want to start moving again once I am back!
I'd love to sign up to your house swap idea Gilla!


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:15
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Nice chance... Jun 25, 2012

...for some lively discussion, for a change

Ty Kendall wrote:
I currently live in my target language country, which I do see as an advantage over many translators in my language pair. Many of whom have not lived in an English speaking country for many decades, L1 attrition/L2 interference is rife.


I'm definitely interested to hear more about the pros and cons of both, and the accompanying pitfalls and dilemmas so that we can all learn to best deal with or avoid them.

@Gilla
Nice house swap idea. Hope it works out well!

Input from old hands and newbies equally welcome!


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Target for professional reasons Jun 25, 2012

A no-brainer IMO
It's easier to maintain a passive knowledge of source from abroad than an active knowledge of target


[Edited at 2012-06-25 11:09 GMT]


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