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Poll: How much time have you spent in a country of your main source language(s)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Local time: 20:17
SITE STAFF
May 24, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How much time have you spent in a country of your main source language(s)?".

This poll was originally submitted by texjax DDS PhD. View the poll results »



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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:17
German to English
+ ...
17 years May 24, 2015

Almost as long as I lived in my native, target-language country (18 years).
In fact, I have spent much more time in a third-language country than in either of those.

I know what people say about not living in either your source or target language country, but it works fine for me.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Almost 30 years! May 24, 2015

I've been living in Belgium since October 1985 and it will be with a tear in my eyes that I'll move back to Portugal later this year (family reasons)...

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:17
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
36 years May 24, 2015

And still going strong!

Just wish the economy would get better here. Sigh

BTW, I have only one source language if you exclude Kansai-ben dialect.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:17
French to English
Time May 24, 2015

I've clocked up 24 years in France after 28-9 years in the UK

If that adds up to 53, then I've got my sums right.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The economy... May 24, 2015

Julian Holmes wrote:

And still going strong!

Just wish the economy would get better here. Sigh

BTW, I have only one source language if you exclude Kansai-ben dialect.


Me too, I wish the global economic situation would improve when this cycle runs its course, but, according to some theorists (are they far too pessimistic?), that it’s not going to happen anytime soon! They say the economic recovery will not happen as quickly as they once projected and not before… 2020! We’ll see if they are as hopeless as the UK election opinion polls!!!!


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Phoebe Indetzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:17
German to English
+ ...
Less than one month???!!! May 24, 2015

So far, 13.9% of respondents say they have spent less than one month in the country of their main source language!!

How can you gain any real insights into a culture or mentality without spending time there? I'm not saying you have to live there for years and years... but less than a month seems to me to display a total lack of interest – as if it's not even worth spending your holidays there!


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Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:17
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Great question! May 24, 2015

Wow, that is interesting.

26% currently at less than 6 months - are you sure you're ready to be a translator?!

But that's probably how the 10 years + people feel about my 4 years.....


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Add lifestyle to that May 24, 2015

Phoebe Ruth wrote:

So far, 13.9% of respondents say they have spent less than one month in the country of their main source language!!

How can you gain any real insights into a culture or mentality without spending time there? I'm not saying you have to live there for years and years... but less than a month seems to me to display a total lack of interest – as if it's not even worth spending your holidays there!


There are several other factors that may mitigate the learning effect, in spite of the length of stay, for instance:
  • Staying at hotels where bilingual staff is available
  • Being driven around by a bilingual chauffeur or cab driver, or on a tour bus
  • Having meals previously ordered/chosen as part of the travel package
  • Going there with travel companions from home
  • Staying at expat country fellows' there
  • Having all personal needs (e.g. laundry, food shopping, accommodation) taken care of
  • Having a detailed plan of where to go, what to do


Any useful cultural learning will occur upon interacting with locals, mingling and possibly doing business with them, getting into trouble and out of it, making decisions and living with them.

Modern technology plays against it. I used to buy maps, drive everywhere myself. Got lost, discovered new places, found my way back again, countless times. Last time I went to the US, the GPS did it all.

In the map days, I'd become familiar with any place in a couple of days. With the GPS, after a week I had been staying in the same place, I didn't know whether I should turn right or left upon exiting the parking lot to go anywhere. While the GPS is very useful and practical, I think it is idiotizing.

The same applies to smartphones fitted with automatic interpreters, dictionaries, conversation guides. They replace learning and thinking.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Donkeys'... May 24, 2015

A quarter of a century, no less.

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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:17
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
About to move there... May 24, 2015

I am about to move to the country of my main source language. It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, but until now the opportunity has never arisen. I am looking forward to the massive learning curve that it will entail.

Teresa Borges wrote:

Julian Holmes wrote:

And still going strong!

Just wish the economy would get better here. Sigh

BTW, I have only one source language if you exclude Kansai-ben dialect.


Me too, I wish the global economic situation would improve when this cycle runs its course, but, according to some theorists (are they far too pessimistic?), that it’s not going to happen anytime soon! They say the economic recovery will not happen as quickly as they once projected and not before… 2020! We’ll see if they are as hopeless as the UK election opinion polls!!!!


Same experience here. I haven't noticed anything vaguely resembling an economic recovery. There isn't much optimism among the people I speak to.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:Any useful cultural learning will occur upon interacting with locals, mingling and possibly doing business with them, getting into trouble and out of it, making decisions and living with them.

Modern technology plays against it. I used to buy maps, drive everywhere myself. Got lost, discovered new places, found my way back again, countless times. Last time I went to the US, the GPS did it all.


I agree with that sentiment. The best experiences I have had have been through discovering places for myself haphazardly and I would find travelling a dull experience without interacting with the locals.

[Edited at 2015-05-24 14:14 GMT]


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:17
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Good luck! May 24, 2015

@Angus

Glad to see you're going to take the plunge.

You can comfort yourself in the thought that, assuming that there will be little in the way of an economic recovery wherever you are based, you may as well live and work outside your home country and enjoy the benefits (as well as the trials and tribulations) of total immersion in the country of your primary source language as part of your CPD, which I know you like.

When I first came here - ahem, all those years ago - every day was an adventure. There aren't so many surprises and eye-openers these days. But then the unexpected does happen that stops you in your tracks and makes you wonder all over again.

Life's an adventure. Good luck to you, Angus.

Small edit

[Edited at 2015-05-24 22:29 GMT]


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:17
Danish to English
+ ...
All of my life, except for 8 years... May 24, 2015

... where I lived and worked in the UK... and the five months I spent in Mexico as an exchange student, studying my second foreign language.

As my native language, Danish, is my main SOURCE language, I have plenty of hands-on experience that enables me to translate OUT of this language.

Now it's about time I move back to the UK to become an expert in my main TARGET language. Am really looking forward to that.


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R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:17
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
13, unlucky for some May 24, 2015

I've been living in Brazil since 2002, so that's 13 years for me.

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Billh
Local time: 04:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
I lived with a Spanish girl May 24, 2015

for 5 years in Madrid and became quite expert on the "language of the bedroom".

Total waste of time, never been asked to do a "bedroom" translation---------


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